When your lingering debts go to collections, you will likely receive an onslaught of phone calls from agents seeking payment. Ignoring these calls comes with the potential of a lawsuit or other consequences, but you should be careful of missteps when you answer collectors as well.
Debt collectors employ a number of clever tactics to coerce you into extending the statute of limitations on your case beyond the three years given under New York’s Consumer Credit Fairness Act. To better protect yourself, you should know what not to do when on the phone with an aggressive collections agent.
Do not make unnecessary acknowledgment of debt
Your debt collector might steer the conversation such that you admit the validity of your debt or promise to make a payment within a certain time frame. This kind of verbal agreement can constitute a new contract that renews the existing statute of limitations.
Do not make extraneous payments
Any form of payment to the collection agency will also revive a dwindling statute of limitations. A debt collector might urge you to make a small “good faith” payment to remain on positive terms with the agency, though this is likely to do more harm than good to you.
Do not offer your financial payment information
Providing a collection agent with information such as bank account numbers or your social security number will make you vulnerable to an agency’s efforts to extract payment from you indirectly. It is best to only offer the most basic of financial information over the phone.
The best debt collection defense is one in which you know your legal rights against aggressive collectors. You do not have to feel helpless against obligations hanging over your head.