Owning a business in New York comes with many rewards but also many challenges. One issue that can cause trouble for the owner is when people do not pay what they owe. If it is a lot of money, it may be worth going through the debt collection process to recover the money. However, there are rules and regulations that a creditor must follow.
According to New York City Consumer Affairs, the state has the strongest protection against debt collection harassment. This means that state residents have certain rights, and creditors and debt collectors must follow specific protocols when trying to collect debt.
Some business owners may choose to seek debt repayment themselves, in which case many of the laws do not apply. However, to save time and effort, many creditors will hire a company to do the work for them, and these collectors must have a Department of Consumer Affairs license. There is also a statute of limitations on legal proceedings for collection and, for most types of debt, this is six years. When initially contacting the consumer, the agency must provide specific information about the debt and a valid call-back number.
According to the Federal Trade Commission, a collector can only contact the consumer between the hours of 8 a.m. and 9 p.m., and he or she cannot contact anyone else, other than a spouse or attorney, about the debt. Federal and state laws protect the consumer, and a collector may not harass or lie to the consumer, and there cannot be any unfair practices.
In order to pay back a debt, garnishment may occur through a court order, but many federal and state benefits are exempt. If the consumer makes a payment, he or she can choose which debt it goes towards.
Consumers can take action against debt collectors if they break any laws. They may sue for damages and/or receive a monetary award and legal reimbursement. The consumer still owes the original debt, however.