experience & dedication...

Alkalay & Smillie, PLLC

in Mt. Washington Valley, New Hampshire

Office: (603) 447-8994
Fax: (603) 297-2866

Articles of Interest

Attorney Edward Alkalay writes a regular column for the Conway Daily Sun newspaper entitled "The Legal Corner." His articles address a wide variety of timely legal issues. Click on the titles below to review his past articles.

Back to Articles of Interest

The Legal Corner: Debt Collection

February 20, 2008

In these difficult economic times, debt and debt collection have unfortunately become much more frequent than in years past. When businesses, landlords, or individuals seek to collect past money owed, the process is often emotionally charged on both sides. In this article, I will list some important issues to be aware of whether you are a collector or a debtor.

With few exceptions, debtors are bound to honor their obligations. Those owed money should not hesitate to pursue that debt individually or with the help of an attorney. Debt collection is necessary to recoup the expenses of running a business. However, a debt collector should be aware that there is a proper and effective way to pursue debt collection and that debtors should not be subjected to harassment or deceptive collection practices.

New Hampshire\'s Unfair, Deceptive or Unreasonable Collection Practices and the federal Fair Debt Collection Practices Act are the two main statutes which govern debt collection. They both list the process by which debtors must proceed and the protection granted to debtors. Some typical requirements include that the debt collector must clearly identify himself or herself and the specific debt that they are contacting the debtor about. The acts prohibit certain conduct such as: (1) verbal or physical intimidation or abuse; (2) harassment such as late-night phone calls; (3) contacting an employer or neighbor about an individual’s debt; and (4) deception such as claiming to have filed a law suit when you have not or pretending to be someone whom you are not. Moreover, the acts permit a debtor limit the frequency and the manner of the contact with a debt collector.

The New Hampshire Attorney General’s website contains much information about debt collection practices, including the above information and such as requiring the debt collector to put the following in writing to the debtor:

* The amount of the debt
* The identity of the person who is attempting to collect the claimed debt
* A statement that the alleged debtor may notify the debt collector in writing within 30 days of a dispute regarding the debt, and that the debt collector must provide the debtor with documents verifying the disputed debt or a copy of any judgment against the consumer
* A statement that if the consumer does not notify the debt collector within 30 days that she or he disputes any or all the claimed debt, the debt collector will assume that the debt is valid.

While debt collection is never pleasant for either side, there are ways to get through the process reasonably quickly and with little stress. The most important things to remember in a debt collection proceeding are to follow the specific rules of the debt collection statutes and to avoid animosity or any other personal during the process.

Edward D. Alkalay is a partner at Alkalay & Smillie PLLC and can be reached at (603)447-8994 or ed@northconwaylawyers.com. (This article conveys general information and should not be relied on for legal advice without further research and/or consultation with an attorney.)

Back to Articles of Interest

By: Edward D. Alkalay