I currently live in New York state. When I lived in CA in 2014, I had financial troubles that ended up in a judgment against me. At the time, a deal was worked out for them to debit my credit card for "x" amount per month. For four years, this had been done, no problem and the judgment never appeared on my credit report. The other day I went to see if the account was debited by the original debt collector and it was not, so I went to the court website and noticed that there was a notice filed of a change of attorney. The notice was sent to an old address in CA, though the old debt collector has my current NY address (& this new one is from the old firm). It was only by accident that I discovered this. What do I do now? Do I try to get the same agreement with the new attorney? Because of the deal that we worked out, no judgment was ever placed on my credit report & I'm worried now that with the new person it will be or they'll want something that I can't afford to pay. Is there anything I can do? My gross monthly income in NY is a little over $3200, which I think falls under the NY State Exempt Income Protection Act, or would California law still apply? Thank you.
Yes, you should be able to get the new attorney to honor the agreement. You might want to employ a consumer attorney near you to help, as he or she may have a working relationship with the other attorney that can facilitate the transition.
You raise some complicated issues of law. The choice of law might depend on the underlying agreement with the creditor. But if a debt collector is enforcing a judgment in NY by garnishment/execution, I would think that a court would apply NY law for the consumer's protection. Usually judgments get reported as a matter of public record, regardless of the debt collector or creditor collecting on the account. Typically, if a consumer has a written payment agreement, the new debt collector should not be able to change that. But it's hard to say because it depends on the type of "deal" made with the collector.
I'd recommend that you discuss these issues in more detail with an attorney who is familiar with Fair Debt Collection Practices Act (FDCPA) matters. Good luck.
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