Meet Steven Raiser, ESQ
Chief Legal Officer / Legal Counsel @ Delancey Street
Steven Raiser is Chief Legal Officer, and Legal-Counsel at Delancey Street. Steven is a native of Long Island and has also resided in Manhattan and the Bronx.
Since being admitted to the New York Bar, Steven has represented the city of New York, serving as a Special Assistant Corporation Counsel. He handled all aspects of litigation in child neglect cases there, representing the interests of the children and the city. He then served as an Assistant District Attorney, where he successfully prosecuted hundreds of criminal cases, from violations of the Vehicle and Traffic Law to homicides. During his time as a prosecutor, Steven was involved in high-profile cases such as those involving Rapper DMX and NY Rangers’ Defenseman Sandis Ozolinsh.
While serving as a prosecutor, he joined the U.S. Army. As a commissioned officer in the Army National Guard Judge Advocate General’s Corps, Steven volunteered for active duty in Iraq. There he served in the office of the Staff Judge Advocate, defending soldiers from actions instituted by the federal government, making probable cause determinations for the command, and assisting in the training of Iraqi soldiers in legal proceedings. In recognition of his service in Iraq, he earned the Global War on Terrorism Expeditionary Medal for meritorious service in support of Operation Iraqi Freedom and the Army Commendation Medal for exceptional meritorious service during combat operations. He, along with his unit, received the New York State Bar Association’s Award for Excellence in Public Service and was presented with our state flag by Senate Majority Leader Joseph Bruno.
Steven M. Raiser is admitted to practice law in the state courts and federal court in the Eastern District. On November 14, 2010, he was sworn in to the United States Supreme Court by Chief Justice John Roberts in Washington, D.C. Steven has appeared as a legal analyst for FOX, CNN, and Court TV (TRU TV). His interviews on CNN and FOX have been posted to their websites and have been showcased under “must see videos.”
Merchant cash advances have become a popular way for Maine business owners to access quick financing. Unlike traditional small business loans, merchant cash advances provide funds in exchange for a percentage of future credit card sales over a set period of time. This can be an easy way for businesses to get the capital they need.However, merchant cash advances also come with risks. The terms are often less favorable than a bank loan, with high repayment rates and daily repayment requirements. If your business has a slow period, it can be difficult to keep up with the daily payments. Before long, you could end up owing much more than you originally borrowed.If you’re a Maine business owner struggling to repay a merchant cash advance, know that you have options. There are attorneys in Maine who specialize in helping business owners in these situations. They can review your agreement, negotiate with lenders, and help defend you if legal action is taken. Here’s an overview of the legal help available for Maine merchant cash advance debt.
Understanding Your Agreement
The first step is to fully understand the terms of your merchant cash advance agreement. These contracts can contain confusing language and complex terms that are easy to overlook. An experienced business attorney can help you understand:
- The repayment amount, rate, and schedule
- The total amount you’ll repay based on the repayment percentage
- What happens if you default and any penalties or fees
- What recourse and rights the lender has to collect
Knowing exactly what you agreed to is key for negotiating a settlement or asserting any legal defenses.
Negotiating a Settlement
If you’re struggling to make the daily payments, the next step is to open up negotiations with the lender. In some cases, they may be willing to work with you by:
- Lowering the daily repayment rate
- Extending the repayment term
- Agreeing to a lump sum settlement for less than you owe
Having a lawyer represent you in these discussions can really help. They understand the typical negotiation ranges better than you do as a one-time borrower. They also bring an air of authority that shows the lender you’re serious.
If negotiations fail, understanding your legal defenses is critical. There have been cases of predatory lending practices related to merchant cash advances. An attorney can review your agreement and situation to see if any of the following apply:
- Lack of Understanding – You didn’t fully understand the repayment terms or total amount owed. This could potentially make the agreement void.
- Unreasonable Terms – The repayment rates or total repayment amount are outrageous compared to other merchant cash advances. This can potentially make portions of the agreement unenforceable.
- Misrepresentation – The lender made false statements about repayment rates, total amounts, or other terms. This could make the agreement void.
- Usury – Interest rates and fees exceed Maine’s legal limits, which can void excessive interest and fees.
- Deceptive Practices – The lender used unfair and deceptive practices in making the agreement, which violates state and federal consumer protection laws. This can void the agreement and allow you to counter sue.
Legal Action Taken Against You
Worse case scenario is if the lender sues you over the unpaid debt or tries to garnish your merchant account. At this point, you absolutely need an attorney to respond and assert your defenses. Suing an individual over merchant cash advance debt has complex legal implications that lay people simply don’t grasp.An attorney can help by:
- Responding to the lawsuit and making sure your defenses are heard
- Asking the court to void all or part of the agreement
- Negotiating a settlement on your behalf
- Helping you file countersuits for deceptive practices
- Avoiding having your merchant accounts frozen or garnished
No business owner wants to end up here, but attorneys can help greatly improve your odds if a lender does take legal action over a merchant cash advance agreement gone bad.
Finding the Right Attorney
As you can see, working with an attorney can be invaluable if you’ve gotten in over your head with a merchant cash advance. But not all attorneys have experience with these complex business financing agreements. When searching for legal help, make sure to choose a lawyer who:
- Focuses specifically on business law, financing, and debt
- Has extensive experience negotiating, settling, and disputing merchant cash advance agreements
- Understands both state and federal consumer protections laws related to business financing
- Can defend you vigorously in court if sued over the debt
Good resources for finding a qualified attorney include:
- Maine State Bar Association lawyer referral service
- Avvo.com business and finance attorney listings
- LawInfo.com Maine business law attorney directory
The right lawyer can make a huge difference in getting your merchant cash advance issues resolved. So don’t wait – get experienced legal help on your side today.
Alternatives to Legal Action
Lawsuits should always be a last resort. Before heading to court, make sure to fully explore alternatives like:
- Asking friends and family for assistance in repaying the advance
- Taking out a small business loan to refinance what you owe at better terms
- Liquidating non-essential assets to put towards the balance
- Working with a credit counseling agency to negotiate repayment terms you can afford
- Claiming financial hardship to extend or adjust payment schedules
- Temporarily pausing credit card processing so no more repayments are taken until issues are resolved
Sometimes just tapping other sources of funds or pressing pause can be enough to stop mounting interest and fees. This then puts you in a stronger position to negotiate a settlement.While legal action can be effective, the time and costs involved mean it should not be your first choice. See what other options exist before escalating to hiring a lawyer or defending against a lawsuit.
Debt Settlement for Merchant Cash Advances
If legal help does not resolve your issues, debt settlement may be an option. This involves working with a debt settlement firm who will negotiate lump-sum payoffs with your lenders for less than the full amount owed.The first step is to stop making payments completely, since lenders won’t negotiate unless accounts become severely delinquent. The settlement firm then makes lowball offers over time until a deal is reached. They usually settle debts for 30 to 60% less than what’s owed.The catch is that defaulting will trash your business’ credit. The unpaid balance is also subject to mounting late fees and interest until settlement. And the IRS may count the reduced amount as taxable income.Still, if legal help fails, debt settlement could wipe out tens or hundreds of thousands in merchant cash advance balances. Just know the consequences before stopping payment.
Merchant cash advances can quickly spiral out of control if sales drop. If you face growing balances and aggressive collection efforts, don’t hesitate to get legal help. Attorneys experienced with these agreements can be invaluable advocates.Know your rights, understand your defenses against unfair terms, and don’t be afraid to push back against predatory lenders. With the law on your side, you can resolve merchant cash advance debt and move your business forward.