As we all feel, some more than others, the economic recession has resulted in hundreds of thousands of suits filed by bill collectors in the New York courts. We always learned that a plaintiff (the collector) must prove the debt. Well, New York judges are here to tell these collectors that they better have a real and viable debt, which they can prove.
As recently reported by the NYTimes, a number of New York judges are speaking out against the increasingly sloppy litigation and collection practices of credit card debt collectors, who simply fail to investigate the claims, don’t have documentary proof of the debt, fail to properly serve the debtor, and make all sorts of errors when trying to collect often stale debt.
For example, one Manhattan appeals court recently threw out a credit card case because the debt collection company had apparently sued the wrong person; while a Nassau County District Court ordered a law firm to pay $14,800 in sanctions for ethical violations stemming from their improper debt collection efforts, which included ignoring court orders, making false statements, and harassing an alleged debtor even after the debt and case was dismissed. “Debt collectors seemed to think their lawsuits were taking place in a legal Land of Oz, where everyone was supposed to follow anti-consumer rules invented by some unseen debt-collection wizard.”
The bottom line– debtors have the right to verification of debt, and the Fair Debt Collection Practices Act has teeth– use it.