Stein and Stein LLP is a premier New York collection law firm focusing on numerous aspects surrounding collection law. Established in 1981, Stein and Stein is family-owned and operated, focusing on several issues including: debt collection; litigation; judgment enforcement; actions for the collection of fees owed to various types of professionals; domestication of foreign states’ judgments; and trials and appeals.
The firm serves New York’s five boroughs, the Lower Hudson Valley and Long Island; and its clients include an impressive roster of Fortune 500 companies, national banks, state universities, utility companies, doctors and lawyers, landlords and professionals.
Teaneck resident Ari Stein joined the firm 17 years ago and regularly handles cases including enforcing creditors’ rights, obtaining judgments and settling and negotiating claims from start to finish.
Stein explained that creditors may be unaware of the many federal, state and local laws and regulations governing the collection process. That’s where he and his firm come in. Oftentimes professionals may obtain judgments but are unaware of how to enforce them. Those primary means of judgment enforcement are usually income executions, business executions (sheriff’s sale of assets) and bank executions.
Those attempting to collect debt must be thoroughly well-versed in the Fair Debt Collections Practices Act. Otherwise known as the FDCPA, it is a federal law that protects consumers from aggressive debt collectors.
Stein cautioned that some debtors have actually become predatory against law firms that make mistakes in this area. “There are law firms out there these days that just do these types of claims—hunting for attorneys who make mistakes,” he said. “So you really have to be up on the law and careful with your practice when you handle consumer claims. That’s really what we do best.”
These types of claims can be very complicated and do not necessarily favor the creditor. “When it comes to suing or making claims against consumers, based upon a consumer contract, there are a lot of pitfalls if someone doesn’t know all of the different federal and local state rules regarding collection of debts against consumers.”
Legislators don’t have the same concern for businesses that they do for consumers. Because the laws and regulations are all very detailed and nuanced, a retail collection practice has to know how to go about handling claims when all the different issues that can arise do come up.
Stein explained that because of the pandemic and subsequent shutdown, creditors had to develop a new perspective regarding when they could expect to get their money back. It is important to also consider that there may be a statute of limitations, so it’s best to get ahead of the claim by getting the process started, he said, as it could take a long time to see results. And having the right law firm will eventually “pay off.”
By Ronit Mershon