Question: what is the top category of consumer complaints in New York? the answer: debt collectors.
Arnold Diaz has a Shame investigation that proves why.
If you've been contacted by a debt collector, you should be aware of the following tips from the New York State Attorney General's Office:
Don't simply ignore calls from debt collectors hoping they simply will go away. Even if a call is made to you by mistake, call the collector and demand that your name and telephone number be removed from their files
Never ignore court papers, like a summons and complaint, that seek to collect on a debt. If a default judgment is taken against you, the collector can then take steps to enforce the judgment
Remember, however, a debt collector may not garnish your wages or seize your property unless they have first gone to court and obtained a money judgment against you. Collectors may make these threats even though they do not have a judgment. Nor may a collector cause you to be arrested.
When you are called about a debt, request a letter validating that you owe the debt. This letter will inform you of the amount of the debt, and your rights to dispute it. Debt collectors are required to send this letter out 5 days after they first contact a consumer, but may fail to do so.
Dispute the debt immediately if you are unsure if you owe it by sending a letter to the collector asking for verification of the debt including who was the original creditor.
If you settle a debt with a collector, demand a letter outlining the terms of the settlement before making any payments. Once the settlement is paid, demand a letter confirming the same.
If you do not want to be contacted at work, tell the debt collector that they may not do so. Follow this up with a letter.
If you don't want to be contacted again by the collector, send them a letter demanding that they stop. Remember, however, that the collector can still take other actions to collect on the debt.
Send all letters by certified mail return receipt requested and keep a copy of all letters. You will then have proof that letters were sent and received.
Keep track of your conversations with collectors. Collectors are not permitted to mislead, harass or abuse consumers or talk with others about a consumer's debt. If you think this is happening, keep a record.
Consumer Helpline: 800-771-7755
To find out more information regarding the FTC's fair debt collection practices act click on the link below:
If you live in Connecticut and have been contacted by a debt collector you can find information on your rights and if a debt collector is licensed by clicking on the link provided:
If you live in New York City, the Department of Consumer Affairs has information and advice for consumers.