An attorney’s two cents on New York City Debt Settlement

By: Daniel Gershburg

My oh my how far these collection agencies have gone. I am now hearing stories about collection agencies threatening to put liens on homes and put them up for Foreclosure if credit cards debts aren’t paid back. A little tip. When you hear that, or any threat for that matter, make sure you get that persons name and extension. Why you ask? Because it violates the FDCPA, a federal law promulgated specifically to help cut down on some of the massive abuse many people face from credit collectors. You can actually sue these credit collectors if they have violated the FDCPA…they just think you wont.

Now the question for this New York City Debt Settlement Attorney is, “Can a credit collector put a lien on my house in Brooklyn and put it into foreclosure?” The answer is an emphatic NOOOOOO. Credit Cards are unsecured debt. Meaning if you don’t pay them, there isnt much recourse for the credit collection agencies to take. One of the more popular forms of collection these companies now use is to bring suit against you and garnish part of your wages. They can do that. In fact they have been doing that much more frequently these days. But they cannot go after your home, your car, your livelihood, your children, your clothes, or put you in jail. They’ll tell you they can. This area is so ripe with complaints that the government can’t even keep up with them.

The lesson is this: No collection agency can take your home if you owe credit card debt. I dont care how much you owe. If you have a mortgage and you pay it, end of story. What a credit collection agency can do is harrass you and make you want to rip your hair out. There is a solution for that too. Under federal law, it is your right that you demand the collection agencies stop calling you. The best way to go about it is to send them a letter informing them that you no longer wished to be contacted by phone. Guess what, they have to stop. I have included a link to a sample letter on the bottom of this blog.

Like many of my past blogs I’m sure I’ll get some angry responses from people insisting that these debts are owed and should be paid for. And I get it. I do. But for the people that are trying to make ends meet in this day in age, especially in New York, feeding the kids takes precedence over American Express. And furthermore, owing an (unsecured) debt should never give someone a license to threaten to take away a home, or to threaten jail time.



Daniel Gershburg Esq., is a Bankruptcy & Real Estate attorney serving  clients in Brooklyn, Queens, Manhattan, Staten Island, Long Island and Westchester.  Mr. Gershburg has given lectures and presentations to both attorneys and the community at large surrounding Bankruptcy and financial advocacy in the New York City area. He is a proud member of the National Association of Consumer Advocates.   Currently he is working on his first book giving practical advice about repairing troubled credit and how to improve credit post Bankruptcy