With many people suffering financial hardship caused by the COVID-19 pandemic, the last thing anybody needs is the added stress of being hounded by debt collectors. Fortunately, there’s a way to get them off your back for the time being, and it’s actually pretty easy.
All you need to do is print out this handy form letter courtesy of the New York City Department of Consumer Affairs (DCA), fill it out and mail it to the collection agency. (You should be able to find the mailing address on the debt-collection agency’s statements or via the company’s website.) Make sure to keep a copy for yourself, too. The letter states that the agency must stop contacting the debtor until the state of emergency in New York is lifted. Any further attempts to collect the debt during the state of emergency are illegal and the New York City Department of Consumer Affairs will respond directly to the agency. That should make them buzz off for a while.
If the debt collectors defy the order and continue seeking payments, a complaint can be filed with the DCA by either calling 311 or submitting it online.
Also, the DCA has other resources to help you manage money and debt that are worth checking out. It offers free professional and financial counseling over the phone and can assist with tasks like writing letters to creditors to have them lower monthly payments, set up a spending plan and develop strategies to reduce debt.
You can book a counseling session here.