Mel S. Harris served the wrong address in New York and a bank account was frozen

A client came to us last week with a story that is all too familiar in New York. She was being sued by Mel S. Harris & Associates, a collection law firm in New York. Her bank account ( actually her husbands bank account) was frozen. She never received any summons and complaint. Never received any Notice of Motion for Default Judgment (which is an action a creditor takes in Court when you don’t respond to a summons and complaint in New York). She wasn’t even aware that any debt existed under her name. All she knew was that thousands of dollars were now frozen. We were able to unfreeze the account and have the case dismissed in less than 48 hours. That doesn’t guarantee that the same result will happen in each and every case. The lawyers there, after we showed them proof that our client did not live at the address where she was allegedly served, were quite courteous and did the right thing. However, I need to stress that if your account is frozen in New York by a credit collector, the last thing you should do is call them immediately and try and settle the debt. Literally, in my opinion, the worst thing you can do. There are just so many defenses available to you in these types of cases. Many times you’re not served properly. Many times the credit collection law firms like Pressler & Pressler, or Foster & Garbus or Cohen & Slamowitz may not have the necessary proof to collect on these debts. There are FAR too many cases that I see, where, if someone saw a lawyer beforehand, they could actually save thousands of dollars. This isn’t one of those “Oh come in and well aggressively fight for your rights” sales speeches. This is real. I see this everyday. People are paying extraordinary sums to companies that may not even own the debt. They’re paying money to people who didn’t do what is required by law. The least you can do is investigate whether or not you legitimately owe this money.