Archive for: ‘September 2017’

What Debt Collectors Can and Cannot Do

September 7, 2017 Posted by kingcade

The Fair Debt Collections Practices Act (FDCPA) limits the tactics that debt collectors can take to collect on a debt.  Here are 10 things debt collectors can and cannot do.

5 Things Debt Collectors Cannot Do:

  1. Come to your place of work. It is illegal for a debt collector to come to your workplace to collect on a debt. The FDCPA prohibits a debt collector publicizing your debts and showing up at your place of work to collect on a debt.
  2. Harass you. Harassment can come in a variety of forms and include: repeated phone calls, threats of violence, publishing information about you, abusive or obscene language.
  3. Arrest you for debt. You cannot be arrested for a debt you owe.
  4. Purse you for a debt you do not owe. Incomplete or inaccurate documentation can lead to a debt collector pursuing the wrong person for payment.  The issue is not uncommon, but it is illegal.
  5. Call you at any time. It is illegal for debt collectors to call you before 8 a.m. and after 9 p.m. You can request that a debt collector stop calling you, but your obligation to pay still remains.

 

5 Things Debt Collectors Can Do:

  1. Seek payment on an expired debt. Even debts that expired according to the statute of limitations can still be requested from debt collectors.  These unsecured debts can include credit cards and medical bills.  Remember: You cannot be sued for payment on these expired debts.
  2. Pressure you. While debt collectors cannot threaten you, they can apply pressure to collect payment.  Pressure can include daily calls, frequent letters or talk about pursuing a lawsuit for payment.
  3. Sue you for payment on a debt. A debt collector can sue you for non-payment. These type lawsuits can result in wage garnishment, bank levies or both.  It is best to consult with an experienced bankruptcy attorney before you are sued or there is a judgment entered against you in regard to an outstanding debt.
  4. Sell your debt. A collector can resell debt it has not been able to collect on. So if one debt collector stops contacting you about a debt, do not be surprised if another starts.
  5. Negotiate what you owe. Because debt collectors buy debts for sometimes pennies on the dollar, they have fairly large profit margins if they collect the original amount owed. This gives them more flexibility in negotiating payment. You may be able to negotiate a settlement for 25% or 30% of what you originally owed.  Remember, to get the agreement in writing so you have proof that the amount paid was all that was required in the settlement.

If you have any questions on this topic or are in financial crisis and considering filing for bankruptcy, contact an experienced Miami bankruptcy attorney who can advise you of all of your options. As an experienced CPA as well as a proven bankruptcy lawyer, Timothy Kingcade knows how to help clients take full advantage of the bankruptcy laws to protect their assets and get successful results. Since 1996 Kingcade & Garcia, P.A. has been helping people from all walks of life build a better tomorrow. Our attorneys’ help thousands of people every year take advantage of their rights under bankruptcy protection to restart, rebuild and recover. The day you hire our firm, we will contact your creditors to stop the harassment. You can also find useful consumer information on the Kingcade & Garcia website at www.miamibankruptcy.com.

Related Resources:

https://www.nerdwallet.com/blog/finance/things-debt-collectors-cannot-do/

 

Tips to Reduce Your Medical Debt

September 6, 2017 Posted by kingcade

When dealing with an unexpected medical bill, such as a trip to the emergency room or overnight hospital stay, one approach many consumers are taking is to negotiate the debt.  This trend is likely to continue.  According to a recent study, 20 percent of those 65 and older struggle to pay medical bills, and 30 percent of working adults with health insurance struggle with the same.  Almost half of Americans surveyed said they had trouble paying an unexpected medical bill of more than $500.

Whether your medical debt is the result of a high-deductible, out-of-network charge or procedure not covered by insurance, these tips will help reduce your medical debt.

  1. Be proactive. For a planned operation, make sure your insurance company covers the cost and the doctors and medical professionals working on you are ALL in-network.  Get a confirmation from your doctor  in writing or through email correspondence.  This will help you later if you learn an out-of-network provider was used.
  2. Research. Whether you are negotiating in advance or after you receive a bill, websites such as Fair Health and Healthcare Bluebook can help you determine what insurers pay in your area.
  3. Confirm the bill is correct. Ask your insurer if a portion of the bill will be covered or all of it.  Then call the provider that sent you the bill.  There may be some back and forth with this, so it is important to be patient- and persistent.
  4. Offer to pay cash. If you are able to pay most of the bill, offer to do so.  Medical advocates say they can often get a 15 to 20 percent “prompt pay” discount this way.
  5. Let them know if you cannot pay. If you are on a fixed income or struggling financially, letting the provider know you are not able to pay will give them a reason to offer you a discount or be placed on a reasonable payment plan.   If you cannot pay, tell them why you cannot pay.  Some states require hospitals provide free or reduced care to consumers within certain income limits.  Florida is one of these states.

Those who have experienced illness or injury and found themselves overwhelmed with medical debt should contact an experienced Miami bankruptcy attorney. In bankruptcy, medical bills are considered general unsecured debts just like credit cards. This means that medical bills do not receive priority treatment and can easily be discharged in bankruptcy. Bankruptcy laws were created to help people resolve overwhelming debt and gain a fresh financial start. Bankruptcy attorney Timothy Kingcade knows how to help clients take full advantage of the bankruptcy laws to protect their assets and get successful results. Since 1996 Kingcade & Garcia, P.A. has been helping people from all walks of life build a better tomorrow. Our attorneys’ help thousands of people every year take advantage of their rights under bankruptcy protection to restart, rebuild and recover. The day you hire our firm, we will contact your creditors to stop the harassment. You can also find useful consumer information on the Kingcade & Garcia website at www.miamibankruptcy.com.

Related Resources:

https://www.consumerreports.org/medical-billing/six-smart-steps-for-lowering-medical-bills/

Regulators able to get $192 million in Student Loan Debt Settlement from Aequitas

September 5, 2017 Posted by kingcade

Aequitas Capital executives believed they had purchased a gold mine when they began buying student loans from Corinthian Colleges- instead, the debt proved to be the company’s downfall.  Following the for-profit college’s decent into bankruptcy and liquidation; Aequitas also collapsed amid accusations the company’s top execs were running a Ponzi scheme.

However, Aequitas continued to collect payments on the debt- until now. The U.S. Consumer Financial Protection Bureau and several state attorneys general and the Aequitas receiver reached a deal in which about 41,000 former Corinthian students whose debt is held by Aequitas could get more than half- possibly all, of their debt eliminated.

In July 2015, Aequitas became a key ally and vital source of liquidity for Corinthian by buying massive amounts of student debt. By helping finance Corinthian’s in-house private loans, Aequitas enabled Corinthian to access billions in student loan money from the U.S. government.

The bureau recently filed a lawsuit against Aequitas as part of the settlement. It claims Aequitas employees privately expressed anxiety about the huge percentage of Corinthian students who were failing to make their loan payments. “With defaults this high, how can we defend our practices,” the unidentified employee wrote in a 2011 note.

Click here to read more on this story.

For borrowers who are struggling with student loan debt, relief options are available. Many student loan borrowers are unaware that they have rights and repayment options available to them, such as postponement of loan payments, reduction of payments or even a complete discharge of the debt. It is important you contact an experienced Miami bankruptcy attorney who can advise you of all your options. As an experienced CPA as well as a proven bankruptcy lawyer, Timothy Kingcade knows how to help clients take full advantage of the bankruptcy laws to protect their assets and get successful results. Since 1996 Kingcade & Garcia, P.A. has been helping people from all walks of life build a better tomorrow. Our attorneys help thousands of people every year take advantage of their rights under bankruptcy protection to restart, rebuild and recover. The day you hire our firm, we will contact your creditors to stop the harassment. You can also find useful consumer information on the Kingcade & Garcia website at www.miamibankruptcy.com.

Foreclosures Drop to Lowest Level in More than 10 Years

September 4, 2017 Posted by kingcade

There were fewer loans in the month of July than any month in more than 10 years, according to a new report from Black Knight Financial Services.  There were 398,000 properties in foreclosure pre-sale in July, which is down 12,000 from June and down more than 150,000 from the same time period last year, a decline of 28%.

The month of July also marked the first time that the number of loans in foreclosure was below 400,000 since February 2007.  While foreclosures are down, loans in delinquency increased slightly month-over-month in July, but 2017’s total is still below last year’s numbers.

The number of properties that are 90 or more days past due, but not in foreclosure was 555,000 in July, which is still 140,000 lower than last year.

Black Knight’s report shows that there were 2.38 million properties that are 30 or more days past due or in foreclosure in July, which is up 42,000 from June, but down 452,000 from the previous year.

Click here to read more on this story.

Choosing the right attorney can make the difference between whether or not you can keep your home. A well-qualified Miami foreclosure defense attorney will not only help you keep your home, but they will be able to negotiate a loan that has payments you can afford. Miami foreclosure defense attorney Timothy Kingcade has helped many facing foreclosure alleviate their stress by letting them stay in their homes for at least another year, allowing them to re-organize their lives. If you have any questions on the topic of foreclosure please feel free to contact me at (305) 285-9100. You can also find useful consumer information on the Kingcade & Garcia website at www.miamibankruptcy.com.

Student Loans Vs. Other Debt: Find your Most Powerful Debt Payoff Strategy

September 1, 2017 Posted by kingcade

Many Americans struggle when trying to prioritize which debts to pay off first. Here is a helpful guide for deciding when to prioritize paying off student loans before other debts.

4 Reasons You Should Pay Down Your Student Loan Debt First

  1. You have high student loan rates. If your student loans have the highest interest rate of all your debt, that is where you should begin. You may also want to explore refinancing your student loans if you qualify for a lower rate.
  2. Your student loans have a small balance. Paying off your student loan with a small balance first is called the debt snowball method. This method allows you to see results and to stay motivated to keep up with your payoff plan.
  3. You have private student loans. Private student loans are considered “riskier” forms of debt than federal loans, which is why you should pay them off sooner rather than later. The reason they are riskier is because they do not offer the same repayment protections and options as federal loans, such as income-based repayment plans.
  4. You are close to defaulting on your student loans or declaring bankruptcy. Defaulting on a federal loan can lead to wage garnishment much more quickly than if you are not making credit card payments. Therefore, if you are struggling with student loan debt, make it a priority to make those payments first.

 

5 Reasons You Should Pay Down Other Debts First

  1. You are following the debt snowball method. The debt snowball method may lead to you paying off student loans first, however; it may also lead you to target other debts with higher interest rates or lower balances first.
  2. You value federal loan protections. Federal student loans offer repayment options and other protections that other types of debts do not offer.
  3. You hope to qualify for the Public Service Loan Forgiveness program (PSLF). The PSLF is slated to forgive federal student debt for more than 550,000 Americans, according to the Washington Post. Any balance remaining after 10 years will be forgiven to eligible borrowers. The more you pay on this debt, the less you will be left for the government to forgive.
  4. You want to improve your credit. Decreasing your debt is a good way to improve your credit score. However, certain types of debt will increase your score faster than others. Higher balances on revolving debt will give you a higher utilization ratio – which can damage your credit. If you have your credit cards maxed out, you should target this debt first.
  5. You want to claim interest tax deductions. When considering which debt to prioritize, it can help to consider the potential tax benefits you can claim. Most consumer debt cannot be claimed as a tax write-off, but student loan debt and home mortgages are exceptions.

Click here to see more on this story.

For borrowers who are struggling with student loan debt, relief options are available. Many student loan borrowers are unaware that they have rights and repayment options available to them, such as postponement of loan payments, reduction of payments or even a complete discharge of the debt. It is important you contact an experienced Miami bankruptcy attorney who can advise you of all your options. As an experienced CPA as well as a proven bankruptcy lawyer, Timothy Kingcade knows how to help clients take full advantage of the bankruptcy laws to protect their assets and get successful results. Since 1996 Kingcade & Garcia, P.A. has been helping people from all walks of life build a better tomorrow. Our attorneys help thousands of people every year take advantage of their rights under bankruptcy protection to restart, rebuild and recover. The day you hire our firm, we will contact your creditors to stop the harassment. You can also find useful consumer information on the Kingcade & Garcia website at www.miamibankruptcy.com.