What to do when your New York Bank Account is Frozen

So you go to the bank and try and withdraw some money and come to find out your bank has been frozen.  You go inside and ask the teller what happened and see that the account was frozen by either Mel. S. Harris & Associates, Rubin & Rothman, Pressler & Pressler, or some other collection firm.  You have no idea why it was frozen.  What do you do now?

1. DO NOT simply contact the debt collection firm to find out exactly why the account was frozen.  Doing this causes unneccesary delay as many of these firms will not go into details with you as to why your account was frozen.  Instead they will simply try and strong arm you into making payments.

2. DO go straight to civil court.  You can let the clerk at the civil court know what happened and they will be able to access the corresponding court case behind the “freeze.”

3. DO speak to an attorney about the freeze.

There are many things an attorney can do to unfreeze your account almost immediately.  The jist is that your account was likely frozen because you didnt “show up” to a court date when a lawsuit was filed against you, and therefore a default judgment was entered against you.  Now many of you will say “But I wasn’t ever served!”  You’re not alone.  Many of the clients that come into my office have the same issue.  Some of these firms use “sewer service” whereby they simply serve any address they can find that corresponds with your name on a credit report.  They then go forward with the court proceeding even though you werent properly served.   Under New York Law, they cant do that.  The problem is the first time you found out about this was when you suddenly realized your bank account was frozen.

Also, about 80-90% of the time my clients have absolutely no idea that they owed any debt, much less the debt the lawsuit claims is owed.  This usually centers around the fact that if/when the client defaulted on the payment, that debt racked up a ton of interest and was sold between several collection agencies and companies.  An attorney will be able to minimize or even eliminate most of the interest, and many times a large amount of the principal (remember that past performance is no indication or guarantee of future results).

At the end of the day the most important piece of advice I would tell you is to immediately take steps to unfreeze this account, even if you are going to try and go at this alone.  There is no reason to simply pay what the collection law firm tells you to pay.  There is always room to negotiate or even try and dismiss the entire claim.

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