New York City Debt Collection Defense Attorney

Debt-Buyer Defense #6: The Complaint Lacks a Debt-Collection License Number

The below-cited law, CPLR § 3015(e), is a potent defense that subjects a debt-buyer lawsuit to dismissal for failing to place its debt-collection-license number in its complaint. The state law requires debt collectors to register with appropriate municipalities and cite their registration numbers in their collection complaints.

Even though Santander, the recent Supreme Court case, has upended FDCPA liability (Fair Debt Collection Practices Act) as to some debt buyers, I doubt it will influence this New York law. CPLR § 3015(e) and cases interpreting it, including, Centurion v. Druce,[1] have no problem imposing this licensing requirement on debt buyers. But I must admit, Justice Kern in Centurion relies heavily on FDCPA analysis to define a debt collector.

Rule 3015. Particularity as to specific matters

(e) License to do business. Where the plaintiff's cause of action against a consumer arises from the plaintiff's conduct of a business which is required by state or local law to be licensed by the department of consumer affairs of the city of New York, the Suffolk county department of consumer affairs, the Westchester county department of consumer affairs/weight-measures, the county of Rockland, the county of Putnam or the Nassau county department of consumer affairs, the complaint shall allege, as part of the cause of action, that plaintiff was duly licensed at the time of services rendered and shall contain the name and number, if any, of such license and the governmental agency which issued such license. The failure of the plaintiff to comply with this subdivision will permit the defendant to move for dismissal pursuant to paragraph seven of subdivision (a) of rule thirty-two hundred eleven of this chapter.

Contact us if you have received any legal document seeking to collect a debt.

[1] 14 Misc. 2D 564, 2006 N.Y. Slip Op. 26521.