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NYC Debt Collection laws. What are violations/damages if broken?

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Debt Collectors:

* may not call the consumer between 9 P.M. and 8 A.M.; nor may the collector call with "excessive frequency" (more than twice a week). The collector is not allowed to call a consumer at work if the collector has reason to believe the consumer's employer would disapprove.

* may not harass or abuse consumers. EXAMPLES: Threats of violence; obscene or profane language; advertisement of a debt; and anonymous calls.

* must send the consumer written notice indicating amount of debt; to whom it is owed; and when it is due. The statement must also inform the consumer of the right to dispute validity of the debt.

* must respond with an explanation if the consumer disputes the debt in writing. All collection proceedings must stop until this is done.

* may not misrepresent their credentials. They may not send documents that simulate government papers or legal forms. They may not threaten action which cannot be legally taken, i.e., "You will be arrested if you don't pay," or which they do not intend to take.

* The consumer has the right to tell a collector to stop contacting him/her and then the collector will only be able to send one further communication indicating what action will be taken, e.g. "Final notice. If you refuse to pay, we will sue."

NOTE: Any agency which attempts to collect consumer debts in NYC must be licensed by the NYC Department of Consumer Affairs.

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