ClickCease
Follow the latest on how New York State is tackling COVID-19 in nursing homes >> Learn more
Available 24 hours a day, 7 days a week    |   Hablamos Espanol

Beware of Unlawful Nursing Home Debt Collection

Nursing homes should be a haven for the elderly, but all too often, they are places of exploitation. One common form of exploitation is unlawful debt collection practices by nursing homes and their agents. Recently, The Consumer Financial Protection Bureau has been particularly outspoken on the matter. After investigating consumer claims, it was established that nursing homes and their agents carry out unlawful debt collection practices frequently.

Unfortunately, unsuspecting family and friends of residents are bearing the brunt of the illegal actions. Some have even lost their homes or declared bankruptcy as a result. If you have a loved one in a nursing home, you need to be aware of these practices and take steps to protect your loved one and yourself from becoming a victim. If you think you may be the victim of unlawful nursing home debt collection, contact Dalli & Marino, LLP today. We can help you navigate what this may mean for you and your family. 

What Is Unlawful Debt Collection?

Unlawful debt collection is the process of collecting debts in a manner that violates state or federal law. It can involve anything from harassing phone calls to wage garnishment. Some common examples of illegal debt collection practices include:

  • Making false or misleading statements
  • Using intimidation or threats
  • Making repeated phone calls
  • Calling early in the morning or late at night
  • Contacting family or friends
  • Failing to provide information about the debt

Nursing homes use these same tricks to bully friends and family members into paying residents’ debt. And if you become a victim of these ploys, the experience can be devastatingly stressful. 

How Does Unlawful Debt Collection Work in Nursing Homes?

The ordeal starts with illegal contracts. For example, a nursing home might require a resident to sign a pre-dispute arbitration clause as a condition of admission. This clause will state that any disputes between the nursing home and the resident must be resolved through arbitration and not in court. Although this might not seem like a big deal initially, it can have serious consequences. Arbitration is usually conducted by a third party that is not impartial. Hence, the nursing home will likely have an unfair advantage. 

The other typical contract that nursing homes use is a lien. It is a legal claim on the property of a resident. In most cases, the lien will be placed on the resident’s home. If the resident dies or moves out of the nursing home, the nursing home can take possession of the property to repay the debt. The problem is that the nursing home can foreclose on the property if the debt is not fully paid. In case there are other creditors, they will not be able to get their share of the assets because the nursing home will have the first claim on them. As a result, family and friends might lose their inheritance or be left with nothing.

What Can You Do to Stop Unlawful Debt Collection Practices?

Here are the best practices you can adopt to protect your loved ones from unlawful nursing home debt collection:

  • Review the facility’s reputation: Conduct research on your select nursing home and read reviews on the facility. You can also call someone who had their family in the nursing home before. 
  • Check if the facility has any lawsuits: Search for the nursing home on the state attorney general’s website. If there are any complaints or lawsuits, you will be able to find them here.
  • Review the admission agreement: Thoroughly review the admission agreement before signing it, and pay close attention to the arbitration clause and the lien. If either of these is present, it is best to look for another facility.
  • Get everything in writing: When you are making payments, make sure you get a receipt. This will serve as proof that you have paid the debt. 
  • Keep track of all communications: Keep track of all the phone calls, letters, and emails you receive from the nursing home. If you notice anything suspicious, seek a lawyer’s intervention.

When you implement these tips, you will be in a much better position to protect yourself and your loved ones from unlawful nursing home debt collection. And if you have any further questions regarding these tips, Dalli & Marino, LLP can help you navigate what you may need to do to get compensation. 

Protect Yourself Against Nursing Home Illegal Debt Collections

We understand how it feels to lose your property or life savings to an unlawful nursing home debt collection. But you are not defenseless, as the Nursing Home Reform Act and the federal Fair Debt Collection Practices Act offer some protection against these illegal practices.

For example, the Fair Debt Collection Practices Act forbids debt collectors from using disrespectful, discriminatory, or misleading practices when recovering a debt. The problem is that you might not know how to identify potential illegal practices, which is why hiring a lawyer like those of Dalli & Marino, LLP can be a prudent decision. With our help, you can stop unlawful debt collection practices and get your life back on track. 

Get the Best Legal Representation from Dalli & Marino, LLP in New York

Owing money to a nursing home can be stressful, especially if the debt collectors start calling. It’s essential to know your rights and seek legal counsel before taking action. We also realize that self-representation may not get you the outcomes you desire. As a well-established law firm, our Spanish-speaking and skilled attorneys have years of experience dealing with nursing home abuse, debt collection, and appeals. 

In addition, we have the resources to investigate your claim and defend you. At Dalli & Marino LLP, we can assign our best attorney to work on your case and possibly help you obtain a favorable outcome. Reach out to us today for a free consultation at (888) 465-8790 or complete our online contact form.


3010 Eastchester Rd, Bronx, NY 10469
516-407-8243

66-50 Myrtle Ave, Queens, NY 11385
718-568-5467