As used in this article, unless the context or subject matter otherwise requires:
1. “Consumer claim” means any obligation of a natural person for the payment of money or its equivalent which is or is alleged to be in default and which arises out of a transaction wherein credit has been offered or extended to a natural person, and the money, property or service which was the subject of the transaction was primarily for personal, family or household purposes. The term includes an obligation of a natural person who is a
co-maker, endorser, guarantor or surety as well as the natural person to whom such credit was originally extended.
2. “Debtor” means any natural person who owes or who is asserted to owe a consumer claim.
3. “Principal creditor” means any person, firm, corporation or organization to whom a consumer claim is owed, due or asserted to be due or owed, or any assignee for value of said person, firm, corporation or organization.
§ 601. Prohibited practices
1. No principal creditor, as defined by this article or his agent shall:
2. Simulate in any manner a law enforcement officer, or a representative of any governmental agency of the state of New York or any of its political subdivisions; or
3. Knowingly collect, attempt to collect, or assert a right to any collection fee, attorney’s fee, court cost or expense unless such changes are justly due and legally chargeable against the debtor; or
4. Disclose or threaten to disclose information affecting the debtor’s reputation for credit worthiness with knowledge or reason to know that the information is false; or
5. Communicate or threaten to communicate the nature of a consumer claim to the debtor’s employer prior to obtaining final judgment against the debtor. The provisions of this subdivision shall not prohibit a principal creditor from communicating with the debtor’s employer to execute a wage assignment agreement if the debtor has consented to such an agreement; or
6. Disclose or threaten to disclose information concerning the existence of a debt known to be disputed by the debtor without disclosing that fact; or
7. Communicate with the debtor or any member of his family or household with such frequency or at such unusual hours or in such a manner as can reasonably be expected to abuse or harass the debtor; or
8. Threaten any action which the principal creditor in the usual course of his business does not in fact take; or
9. Claim, or attempt or threaten to enforce a right with knowledge or reason to know that the right does not exist; or
10. Use a communication which simulates in any manner legal or judicial process or which gives the appearance of being authorized, issued or approved by a government, governmental agency, or attorney at law when it is not.
§ 602. Violations and penalties
1. Except as otherwise provided by law, any person who shall violate the terms of this article shall be guilty of a misdemeanor, and each such violation shall be deemed a separate offense.
2. The attorney general or the district attorney of any county may bring an action in the name of the people of the state to restrain or prevent any violation of this article or any continuance of any such violation.
§ 603. Severability
If any provision of this article or the application thereof to any person or
circumstances is held invalid the invalidity thereof shall not affect other provisions
or applications of the article which can be given effect without the invalid provision
or application, and to this and the provisions of this article are severable.