New York City Debt Collection Defense Attorney

Tips to Help Defend a Debt Collection Lawsuit in New York

The Langel Firm is dedicated to representing consumers facing wage garnishments, bank restraints, and debt collection lawsuits in New York. Judgment enforcement activity often pops up years after a lawsuit has ended. It is easier to defend yourself against a lawsuit when it starts versus challenging a judgment years after your default.

Broad Strategies to defend a debt-collection Lawsuit

  1. Respond to the lawsuit ("answer" the "complaint"). Failing to answer the complaint can lead to a default judgment, bank freeze, and wage garnishment.
  2. Challenge the lawsuit (if you do not wish to settle). Fighting back will improve your bargaining position if you owe the debt.
  3. Demand all evidence of indebtedness. Oftentimes, the documentation is inadequate or inadmissible. But you must raise these arguments.
  4. Retain an attorney, if possible, experienced in debt-defense litigation and the Fair Debt Collection Practices Act. Your legal rights will be protected and your bargaining position will significantly improve. We would not get involved if we were not convinced we would save you money and solve your legal problem.
  5. Understand that It is not too late to reverse the harsh effects of a bank seizure or wage garnishment ("income execution").

Specific Defenses in Debt Collection Litigation

  1. Non-Owed Debt: Claim when the debt sought is not yours.
  2. Incorrect Debt Amount: Assert if the amount claimed is incorrect, including interest and fees.
  3. Unjust Enrichment: Argue if claimed debt significantly exceeds your expectations.
  4. Lack of Good Faith: Contend when the collector's actions are unfair or dishonest.
  5. Delayed Legal Action: Invoke when the creditor unnecessarily postpones legal action, to your detriment.
  6. Unconscionable Contract: Use when the original contract terms are extremely unfair.
  7. Statute of Limitations: Assert if the lawsuit is initiated after the legal time limit, typically 3 years in New York for consumer debts.
  8. Bankruptcy Discharge: Claim if the debt was resolved in a bankruptcy case.
  9. Undervalued Collateral Sale: Defend if collateral was sold for less than its reasonable market value.
  10. Lack of Standing: Question the plaintiff’s legal right to sue if there's no direct contractual relationship.
  11. Authorized User Defense: Assert if you were not the primary debtor but merely authorized to use credit.
  12. Identity Theft or Mistaken Identity: Use if the debt is the result of fraud or a case of mistaken identity.
  13. Full or Partial Debt Payment: Argue if you've already paid the debt, in full or partially.

Additional Defenses for New York City Residents:

  • Licensing Issues: Challenge if the plaintiff lacks a required NYC Department of Consumer Affairs debt collection license.
  • Absent License Number: Use if the plaintiff's debt collector license number is missing in the complaint.

Whether you've just been served with a summons, wage garnishment, or bank restraint, we can help! All we do is fight collection lawyers at every stage in the litigation process, including the judgment enforcement process (frozen bank account and wage garnishment). 

 Friends, you may not construe the above as legal advice. These are general tips. 

Collection Defense Intake Form: The Langel Firm