Since November 30, 2021, new provisions to the Fair Debt Collection Practices Act (FDCPA) have been enacted, offering more assistance to persons enduring debt collection harassment. Living with debt is stressful enough, and the reasons for it are considerably more intricate than many debt collectors would want to admit. New debt collection laws in 2021 and 2022 were put in place that attorneys and clients should be aware of before continuing to pursue debt collection.
Whether you’re experiencing financial instability due to the pandemic, unexpected medical expenditures, or being in fraudulent debt (identity theft), you should never feel harassed by debt collectors.
Here’s everything you need to consider about new consumer rights and how they can help you if debt collectors harass you.
Recent New Debt Collection Laws Coming Into 2022
A customer might ask for the suspension of a particular communication mode (e.g., phone calls). This request can be given orally and must be honoured by the collector.
Prerequisites for Collector Credit Reporting
Before reporting the account to the credit bureau, a debt collector must talk with the consumer.
The collector can do this by phone calls, electronic communications, or letters; this is vital for customers to avoid discovering debt when it is most convenient for them (i.e., buying a new home).
Collection Conversations Happen How Often?
Collectors can’t keep contacting you about the same debt. They must wait a week after speaking with you before calling you again.
Unfortunately, debt collectors may take advantage of this if they have several obligations. Remember that you have the right to tell a debt collector to leave you alone and stop calling!
Additional Information on Debt Collection Notices
When debt collectors issue a validation notice, they are obligated to offer further information upon request; this move can assist customers in identifying the alleged debt and determining if it is a scam or authentic information.
The collection law is part of the Consumer Credit Fairness Act of 2021. Governor Kathy Hochul signed the bill, which is a way to help New Yorkers’ finances.
“For far too long, debt collectors have utilized unfair and oppressive techniques to collect debts,” Attorney General Letitia James stated. “In the past, abusive collection techniques harmed low- and moderate-income New Yorkers the hardest, burying them deeper in financial difficulties.”
These new regulations will provide us with more tools to safeguard New York’s most vulnerable residents against unscrupulous collectors.”
The new state laws follow the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau’s equivalent countrywide change.
What exactly does this new debt collection law entail?
Here are the new guidelines that debt collectors in New York will have to follow going forward:
- Consumers are phoned more than seven times per day; – Debt collectors must wait a week after establishing contact with the consumer via phone before calling again;
- They cannot call between 9 p.m. and 8 a.m. local time;
- Any or all modes of communication cannot contact debtors. They cannot reach them at work, and – In general, debt collectors will not be allowed to contact customers using work email addresses, public social media posts, or third parties.
Attorney General James advised debt collectors of their legal obligations under federal and state law in a letter to the industry:
Limit your interactions with customers. Debt collectors have long been required by state and federal law to refrain from harassing contacts; the new restrictions add sharp lines to that general obligation:
- Debt collectors are not permitted to contact clients more than seven times in any seven days.
- Debt collectors must wait seven days after establishing contact with a consumer via phone before contacting them again.
- Debt collectors are not permitted to contact you between 9 p.m. and 8 a.m. local time.
- Debt collectors are not permitted to contact customers by any or all modes of communication or at a consumer’s employment if the consumer requests that they not be reached.
- Debt collectors cannot typically contact customers via work email addresses, public social media postings, or third parties (though they may contact third parties in rare cases to get information about a consumer’s whereabouts).
- Offer Clients with the Facts – Debt collectors must provide consumers with critical information about their debt within five days of their initial contact. These “validation notifications” must include the following information:
- The name of the firm or person to whom the customer initially owed the loan;
- The initial debt’s date and amount; and
- Should Take Debt Disputes Seriously— Consumers have the right to contest a debt, and debt collectors must include information on how to do so in the validation notification. When a customer disputes a debt, the collector must cease all collection efforts against that consumer until the collector delivers evidence supporting their claim to the account.
- Give consumers complete information about each debt lawsuit filed by a debt collector. Debt collector who file a lawsuit against a customer should include detailed information about the debt in the first filing made in that lawsuit. Such as the name of the authentic person or the company, the consumer owed the obligation to, last four digits of the consumer’s account number, date of the last payment, and an itemization of the amount sought. They must also provide the underlying contract that created the debt (in most cases).
The Attorney General’s Office (OAG) has pursued hundreds of enforcement cases and achieved countless settlements against debt collectors who used unlawful debt collection practices.
In 2019, Attorney General James worked with the Federal Trade Commission to secure court orders blocking a plan to distribute and collect millions of dollars in “phantom loans” – fictitious debts customers owe.
Previously, OAG secured settlements with four of the country’s largest debt purchasers, which routinely pursued untimely litigation against
New York customers, frequently secure default judgments when the consumers failed to reply to the cases. As a result of OAG’s activities, several businesses and people in New York are being permanently stopped from engaging in debt collecting.
Attorney General James urged New Yorkers to be aware of their rights and report debt collectors to her office if they violate the law or engage in misleading, harassing, or abusive behaviour.