Debt Collection Defense in New York State

In New York, a debt collection action is neither simple nor cut-and-dried.  If the collection action is properly contested, it is frequently possible to win the case and owe no money.  It is sometimes possible to force the collector to pay money to you.

To illustrate how difficult it can be for an debt collector or alleged creditor to collect a debt in New York, we will describe our overall approach to defending clients against debt collections.  Our strategy for defeating debt collection actions, part of our overall concept of Debt Inversion, involves a combination of:  (1) forcing the debt collector or alleged creditor to prove its entire claim against our client, (2) using specific defenses against debt collection lawsuits, and (3) bringing counterclaims (lawsuits) against the debt collector or creditor, and third-party claims (lawsuits) against companies that were not originally involved in the debt collection lawsuit. 
The following information is for illustrative purposes only and not intended to substitute for the advice of a licensed attorney. To have any chance at successfully defending against a debt collection, you generally must hire a licensed attorney.    
Forcing the debt collector or alleged creditor to prove its entire claim and defeat all defenses: 
In any debt collection action, we force the debt collector or alleged creditor to prove its entire claim against our client and defeat any defense we assert (see below).  If the debt collector or alleged creditor fails to prove its entire claim, it cannot legally obtain a monetary judgment against our client.  This means we win the case and you owe nothing.
For more information on how we force debt collectors and creditors to prove their claims against our clients, please see the Debt Inversion section of our website. 
Defenses against debt collection lawsuits: 
In this section we list some defenses that we use to defend our clients against debt collectors.  We have not attempted to translate the legal terminology into plain English or to explain the legal concepts behind each defense, because it would double or triple the length of this section.  The point we wish to make is that many excellent defenses are available, but they are complicated and should only be used by a licensed New York State attorney who understands them completely. 

  • The Court lacks personal jurisdiction over the homeowner due to improper service of the summons and complaint.  
  • The plaintiff lacks legal standing to bring the action.
  • The plaintiff does not own the alleged debt.
  • The plaintiff did not pay fair and adequate consideration for the alleged debt and plaintiff would be unjustly enriched if plaintiff were to receive the relief requested.
  • The amount plaintiff claims to be due on the alleged debt is incorrect.
  • The complaint fails to state a claim upon which relief can be granted.
  • Plaintiff’s claims are barred, in whole or in part, by the applicable statutes of limitations.
  • Plaintiff’s claims are barred, in whole or in part, by the applicable principles of waiver, ratification, latches and/or estoppel.
  • Plaintiff’s claims are barred, in whole or in part, by the doctrine of unclean hands.
  • Plaintiff lacks standing because it has no business relationship with the alleged debtor.
  • The alleged debtor’s defense is based upon documentary evidence.
  • Plaintiff is not the real party in interest. 
  • The plaintiff is not legally authorized to bring the action. 
  • The plaintiff does not own the alleged debt.
  • The alleged debt was not duly assigned, transferred or sold to plaintiff.
  • Plaintiff lacks standing to commence the action because the alleged credit agreement was not with the same entity that commenced the lawsuit.
  • Plaintiff and/or its predecessor(s) in interest failed to respond to the defendant’s request for validation of the alleged debt. 
  • Defendant never borrowed any money from plaintiff and does not owe any money to plaintiff.  
  • Defendant never entered into any contract or agreement with plaintiff to borrow or repay money. 
  • Defendant never agreed to pay attorneys’ fees to plaintiff under any circumstances, and therefore plaintiff is not entitled to attorneys’ fees in this action.  

Counterclaims (lawsuits) against the debt collector or creditor suing you, and claims against people and companies not yet involved in the lawsuit such as process servers (third-party claims): 

There are numerous counterclaims and third-party claims available to a defendant in a debt collection action.  Rather then repeat all of them here, we ask that you refer to the following sections of the Debt Inversion website for ideas on lawsuits that your attorney might bring against the party suing you (counterclaims) or another party not yet involved in the case such as a process server (third-party claims).
Lawsuits for illegal debt collection
Lawsuits for debt collection crimes 
Lawsuits for illegal credit reporting
Debt Inversion