Cuomo announces new protections for those in debt

 

ALBANY, N.Y. (WIVB) — The season of giving is frequently accompanied by those who only want to take. Governor Andrew Cuomo Wednesday announced he’s working towards protection against those who want to take in a deceptive manner of debt collection.

New and finalized regulations by the Department of Financial Services will help consumers combat aggressive and deceptive practices by debt collectors. This, Cuomo said, will help consumers avoid paying what they don’t owe and address other abuses in debt collection practices.

“The debt collection industry is filled with far too many unscrupulous actors willing to deceive and abuse consumers just to make a quick buck.” Benjamin Lawsky, superintendent of financial services, said.

Cuomos office said in the past year, New York residents have filed more than 20,000 complaints regarding debt collection practices due to harassing and aggressive phone calls.

Officials hope new regulations will improve that. New regulations include:

  • Improved disclosures and debt information, requiring debt collectors to provide general information on the rights of debtors and information about the debt they are attempting to collect.
  • Protections against collection of “zombie debts” which protect people from debt collectors pursuing people for debts which the statute of limitations has expired on.
  • “Substantiation” of the debt allegedly owed, which will help prove collectors are collecting from the correct consumers and those consumers are paying back legitimate debts.
  • Written confirmation of settlement agreements, which will ensure creditors honor settlements and satisfied debts will no longer be pursued.
  • Opportunity for email contact, which allows consumers to communicate with debt collectors by personal email if they choose to do so, which is aimed at reducing harassing phone calls.

Most of the new regulations take effect on March 3, 2015.

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