New York recently enacted the Consumer Credit Fairness Act (or “CCFA”) which significantly impacts the policies and procedures (previously in place for decades in New York) relating to consumer debt collection attempts, including lawsuits filed by alleged creditors or debt-buying companies.
These changes are directed only at consumer credit transactions and at present will not apply to commercial credit transactions.
On April 7, 2022, the following changes took effect:
- The Statute of Limitations for debt collection actions arising out of consumer credit transactions was reduced from 6 years to 3 years. This change applies retroactively to all consumer credit transactions, not just new transactions completed after that date, which means that a creditor doesn’t get the advantage of the 6-year Statute of Limitations just because their debt was incurred before the law went into effect.
- Additionally, a creditor cannot argue that a voluntary payment made after April 7, 2022 toward a debt or a “written or oral affirmation” of ownership of the debt by a consumer served to renew the Statute of Limitations period.
- On May 7, 2022, additional filing and notice requirements will also go into effect. These include the following:
A copy of the contract or credit agreement for revolving credit accounts as well as a copy of the charge-off statement must be attached to the plaintiff’s Complaint at the time of the lawsuit filing.
- The Complaint that is filed must provide the name of the original creditor (if different from the current creditor), the last four digits of the underlying account number, and the date/amount of last payment made on the account.
- The plaintiff must also give the court clerk an “Additional Notice of Lawsuit” notice in a postage-paid unsealed envelope addressed to the defendant, which the Court will mail to the defendant. If that notice is not provided, or is otherwise returned as “undeliverable,” the court will not allow the plaintiff to obtain a default judgment if an Answer is not timely filed.
- If a plaintiff does make an application for entry of a default judgment against a consumer that does not answer the lawsuit, a debt-buyer must submit affidavits from the original creditor, any prior holders of the debt, and a witness who can verify the chain of title for the debt.
- Where a plaintiff seeks a default judgment, they must also include an Affidavit stating that the Statute of Limitations to enforce the debt has not expired.
The attorneys at Graham & Borgese have defended thousands of debt lawsuits over the years and continue to stay abreast of changes in laws affecting consumers of New York State. If you are being pursued by a creditor, debt collector, or debt-buyer, don’t take any action before you call our experienced and knowledgeable attorneys. We can provide you with a greater understanding of your rights and options so you can make the very best decision for your future.
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