Posts Tagged: ‘creditor harassment’

Legal Tips to Stop Creditor Harassment

February 19, 2018 Posted by kingcade

People accumulate debt for all kinds of reasons, whether it’s going back to school, having a baby, or one of life’s unexpected emergencies.  Regardless of your circumstances, being in debt can be stressful- it can be made even worse by creditor harassment.

The first step is to try to address the issue before it becomes a problem.  Do not ignore the debt and hope it goes away.  It will not.  Tell the creditor you are unable to pay the bill.  You can attempt to settle the debt at a reduced amount or request to be placed on an affordable monthly payment plan.  If these options do not work, you can write a letter requesting that the collector stop contacting you all together.

Another option is to sit down with an experienced bankruptcy attorney for a free consultation to discuss your financial situation in greater detail.  Bankruptcy automatically protects you from further collection activity and is an effective way to stop creditor’s from harassing you.

If you are struggling with debt, know your rights and what debt collectors can and cannot do.  The Fair Debt Collections Practices Act (FDCPA) limits the tactics that debt collectors can take to collect on a debt.

Under the Fair Debt Collections Practices Act, it is illegal for debt collectors to do the following:

  • Call you repeatedly
  • Contact your employer or neighbors about your debt (they may only contact them to locate you, but may not mention the debt)
  • Call you late at night or at unreasonable hours
  • Call you at work
  • Engage in deceptive conduct
  • Calling you without disclosing their identity
  • Use obscene, derogatory, or insulting remarks
  • Threaten arrest or loss of child custody or welfare benefits
  • Publish your name
  • Use any communication, language or symbols on envelopes or postcards that indicate that the sender is in the debt collection business
  • Threaten repossession without legal right or present intent to do so

If the collection agency has made any of these violations, you may be able to sue them for damages, your attorney fees, plus an additional $1,000.00.

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 McMaken 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 McMaken website at www.miamibankruptcy.com.

Related Resources:

https://www.legalzoom.com/articles/got-debt-stop-creditors-from-harassing-you-with-these-few-legal-tips

When Filing for Bankruptcy- Timing Matters

July 7, 2017 Posted by kingcade

Timing the filing of your bankruptcy is important to obtain the best possible outcome in your case.  For example, waiting to file after creditors have already taken action against you can result in unnecessary legal costs and potential loss of property.  Filing shortly after transferring money or property to someone else, can run you the risk of being accused of bankruptcy fraud.

Here are a few points to remember when timing the filing of your bankruptcy:

Filing for bankruptcy will stop litigation.  It is best to file before a creditor receives a judgment against you.  This will save you the cost of legal fees and giving the creditor more rights to your property.

Prevents wage garnishment.  A creditor who has obtained a judgment against you can force your employer to deduct money from your check, even require your bank to withdraw the funds directly from your account.  You can save this money by discharging the debt before such actions can be taken.

Puts an end to creditor harassment & collection calls. As soon as you file for bankruptcy, creditors must stop contacting you and deal only with your attorney.  Creditors who continue to contact you are in violation of the U.S. Bankruptcy Code’s Automatic Stay and face sanctions by the Court.

Allows you to stay in your home. Filing for bankruptcy will stop the foreclosure process and allow you additional time to stay in your home.

Divorce & Bankruptcy: If you are in the middle of a divorce, it is best to file a joint bankruptcy with your spouse to discharge all debt before the marriage ends.  However, if your income is too high to qualify as a married couple you will need to decide whether the best option is to file individually while you are still married or wait until after the divorce.  When it comes to timing your bankruptcy filing while going through a divorce, you cannot go wrong setting up an appointment with an experienced bankruptcy attorney to discuss the best path for your financial future.  Many offer free consultations and Saturday appointments.

If you 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:

http://bankruptcy.lawyers.com/bankruptcy-basics/time-matters-when-filing-chapter-7-bankruptcy.html

Medical Debt Collection Firms Ordered to Pay $577K for Threatening Consumers

January 12, 2017 Posted by kingcade

Two medical debt collection firms must refund hundreds of thousands of dollars after they were caught falsely claiming there were attorneys involved in the collection actions. Two Oklahoma-based law firms, both named Works and Lentz, misled consumers by exaggerating the extent to which actual “lawyers” were involved in the collection attempts.

The companies involved in the case attempt to make collections on 700,000 accounts annually, collecting medical debt on behalf of hospitals, doctors, and other healthcare providers.  From January 2012 to August 2016, every letter sent to the alleged debtors was printed on the firm’s letterhead, giving the impression that a legal action was pending.

Approximately one month after the letter was sent out; Works and Lentz assigned the account to a manager who contacted the debtor, representing themselves as a law firm.

In addition, when consumers called the firm back, they were greeted with a message stating, “You have reached Works & Lentz, Attorneys at Law.”  The letters sent out to consumers ended with a computerized signature of an individual attorney with the title, “Attorney at Law.”   The Consumer Financial Protection Bureau alleges that in most cases there was never an attorney who reviewed the collection accounts.

As specified in The Fair Debt Collection Practices Act, it is illegal for firms to use false, deceptive or misleading representations or means to collect a debt, including using false implication that any individual is an attorney or that communications are from an attorney when they are not. This law was designed to protect consumers and help prevent creditor abuse and harassment.

In addition to misrepresenting that they are attorneys, the CFPB alleges that employees of Works and Lentz provided information to credit reporting agencies related to consumers’ debts without verifying the information was correct.

Click here to read more on this story.

If you are in financial crisis and considering filing for bankruptcy, 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.

Wells Fargo, Ocwen and other Creditors Sued for Violating Chapter 7 Discharge

December 12, 2016 Posted by kingcade

Secured creditors Wells Fargo, Ocwen, RAS Boriskin and Duane Morris must pay a debtor who filed Chapter 7 bankruptcy $7,000 in emotional distress damages and $39,142 in punitive damages for willfully violating the discharge order.

Judge Cecelia G. Morris of the U.S. Bankruptcy Court for the Southern District of New York concluded that the creditors harassed the debtors for years by filing an illegal foreclosure action against the debtors’ property and sending numerous collection letters after their debt had been discharged in bankruptcy.

The debtors received more than 100 calls and notices for collection of the discharged debt in the past five years. This case is particularly noteworthy for the large amount of punitive damages and the emotional distress damages the debtors received, who represented themselves pro se.

The debtors in the case filed for Chapter 7 bankruptcy and their nonexempt assets were liquidated by a trustee and the proceeds were distributed to their creditors. They received a discharge of all of their debts in 2009.

The debtors alerted the secured creditors to their violations by contacting them after the discharge, but the creditors insisted they were doing nothing wrong. Instead of taking steps to correct the problems, the creditors and their attorneys wrote threatening letters to the debtors. The court found evidence that the creditors and their attorneys received notice of the debtors’ bankruptcy and discharge on at least 15 different occasions, but failed to stop contacting them.

Click here to read more on this story.

If you 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.

 

Military members have twice the amount of debt collector complaints

April 7, 2016 Posted by kingcade

According to a recent study by the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau (CFPB), members of the military submit debt collector complaints at twice the rate of civilians.  Debt collection, mortgages and credit reporting were the subject of most of the complaints, according to the CFPB’s report.

While the higher rate of complaints could be due to a variety of factors, including time away for deployments and frequent moves from base to base, it is concerning because unpaid debts can threaten a military career.

The complaints concern disputes over money owed, debt collector calls to commanding officers and threats against security clearances held by service members. Veterans also complained of bill collectors trying to collect on medical bills that should have been paid for by the Department of Veterans Affairs.

It is unfortunate that the brave men and women who serve our country are being targeting by these unfair, deceptive and abusive debt collection practices.  But it also comes as a warning to members of the military to diligently check their credit reports and proactively protect their credit files while away from home.

If you are in financial crisis and considering filing for bankruptcy, 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.

Related Resources:

http://www.insidearm.com/daily/debt-collection-news/cfpb-report-highlights-high-rate-of-collection-complaints-from-servicemembers/

https://www.washingtonpost.com/news/powerpost/wp/2016/03/23/military-members-have-twice-the-bill-collector-complaints/