By: Robert J. Nahoum
Debt collection lawsuits can be intimidating and overwhelming, especially if you’re not sure what your rights are or what steps to take. If you live in New York and are facing a debt collection lawsuit, it’s important to know that you have legal rights and options. In this blog, we’ll discuss what you need to know about debt collection lawsuits in New York and what steps you can take to protect yourself.
KNOW YOUR RIGHTS
The first thing to understand is that you have legal rights when facing a debt collection lawsuit in New York. The Fair Debt Collection Practices Act (FDCPA) and the New York State Department of Financial Services provide guidelines for debt collection practices, including what debt collectors can and cannot do. Here are some key rights to keep in mind:
You have the right to dispute the debt: If you believe that the debt is not valid or that you do not owe the amount claimed, you can dispute the debt in writing. This will trigger an investigation by the debt collector, and they must provide you with evidence to support the debt.
You have the right to be treated fairly: Debt collectors are prohibited from using abusive or harassing tactics to collect a debt. They cannot use threats of violence, use profane language, or make repeated phone calls with the intent to annoy or harass you.
You have the right to receive validation of the debt: Debt collectors must provide you with a written validation of the debt within five days of their initial contact with you. This document should include the amount of the debt, the name of the creditor, and your rights to dispute the debt.
You have the right to legal representation: If you are facing a debt collection lawsuit, you have the right to legal representation. An attorney can help you understand your rights, negotiate with the debt collector, and represent you in court.
WHAT TO DO IF YOU ARE SERVED WITH A DEBT COLLECTION LAWSUIT
If you are served with a debt collection lawsuit in New York, there are several steps you can take to protect yourself:
Respond to the lawsuit: You must respond to the lawsuit within a certain timeframe, usually within 20 or 30 days of being served. If you fail to respond, the court may enter a default judgment against you.
Consult with an attorney: A debt collection lawsuit can be complex and confusing, and it’s important to have an experienced attorney on your side. An attorney can help you understand your rights, negotiate with the debt collector, and represent you in court.
Gather evidence: If you believe that the debt is not valid or that you do not owe the amount claimed, gather any evidence that supports your case. This could include payment records, receipts, or other documentation.
Attend the court hearing: If your case goes to court, attend the hearing and be prepared to present your evidence. Your attorney can help you prepare for the hearing and represent you in court.
Facing a debt collection lawsuit can be stressful, but it’s important to remember that you have legal rights and options. If you are facing a debt collection lawsuit in New York, know your rights, consult with an attorney, and gather evidence to support your case. With the right approach and legal representation, you can protect your rights and potentially avoid a judgment against you.
If you need help settling or defending a debt collection lawsuit, stopping harassing debt collectors or suing a debt collector, contact us today to see what we can do for you.