You have a right to be free of debt collector abuse

A federal judge, in response to a case filed by the New York State Attorney General and the Federal Trade Commission has ordered a debt collector in Buffalo going under the names, eCapital Services or the National Check Registry to stop lying to borrowers by telling them that they face prison or job loss for unpaid debts.  The Owners were charged with deceiving consumers, making false accusations of check fraud and threatening consumers if the debt was not paid immediately.  The Attorney General and the Federal Trade Commission have filed a lawsuit against them.  Click here for further information.

What can a creditor do if you owe money?

There are laws in New York that protect you from being harassed by a creditor or bill collector.  

You cannot be thrown in jail because you owe money to a credit card company,  clothing store or hospital/doctor.  If the debt is for property like a home or car, that property can be taken to pay the debt.

Click here to learn about what bill collectors can and cannot do if you owe money.

If your creditor threatens to freeze your bank account or take your income, there are certain forms of income that cannot be taken to pay your debts including:

  • Public assistance (ADC, Home Relief or Temporary Assistance)
  • Your Social Security check or Pension
  • Your SSI check
  • Your unemployment check
  • Your veteran’s check
  • Court ordered child support or spousal maintenance(you must have a court order).

Here are 16 rules to help you decide which debt you should pay first.  

In difficult, stressful financial times, it can be hard to balance your debts, expenses and other necessities but even in those situations you have a right to not be harassed or lied to by debt collectors.  If you have experienced practices like the ones discussed here you can find further information about your rights and legal services projects that can assist you, by clicking on this link.

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