If you have fallen behind on an auto loan, a mortgage or a credit card bill, there is a chance that you’ll be contacted by a New York debt collection firm. Although it may be scary to think about receiving a phone call from a debt collector, it’s important to remember that you have rights. Furthermore, it’s possible that you are being contacted about a debt that doesn’t belong to you. In such a scenario, you generally aren’t obligated to make payments on that debt.
Ask for written verification of the debt
Debt collectors must provide written verification of an outstanding debt upon request. Typically, you must receive information such as the debt balance, the name of the original creditor and other pertinent data within 30 days of making such a request. It’s important to note that collection efforts must cease until this information has been sent to you.
Has the statute of limitation clock run out?
In most states, debt collectors have a limited amount of time to collect what they are owed. Once the statute of limitations clock expires, you are no longer obligated to send payments to whichever entity owns it. However, the clock typically restarts if you acknowledge the debt or make a partial payment. Therefore, it’s generally in your best interest to say as little as possible about debts that are several years old.
Be ready to negotiate
It’s unlikely that a debt collection firm will accept your initial offer regardless of how generous you think it is. Therefore, it’s in your best interest to make an initial proposal that is less than what you can afford to pay. If you don’t feel comfortable negotiating on your own, an attorney may be able to represent your interests during settlement talks.
If you are contacted by a debt collector, it may be a good idea to contact an attorney. Doing so may make it easier to preserve your rights and negotiate a favorable deal with a debt collection firm.