Posts Tagged: ‘debt collectors’

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/

 

Bankruptcy & Divorce: Which comes first?

July 14, 2017 Posted by kingcade

Going through a divorce can be stressful enough, but when you pile on financial issues the effects can be overwhelming.  Your financial situation can be greatly affected by a divorce, as divorce is commonly cited as the leading cause of bankruptcy.  Here are some important facts you should know when it comes to bankruptcy and divorce.

  1. Do not file for divorce and bankruptcy at the same time.  This is for the sake of simplicity.  People typically file bankruptcy before divorce for several reasons.  Once you file for bankruptcy an “automatic stay” is put in place.  This is a court order that prohibits creditors from contacting you and protects your property and assets.  This hold is in effect throughout the bankruptcy process.
  2. Chapter 7 bankruptcy is ideal for a quick divorce.  One of the benefits of filing for Chapter 7 is the timeline.  A Chapter 7 bankruptcy typically eliminates all dischargeable debts within three to six months, allowing you to file for divorce relatively soon after.  In comparison, a Chapter 13 bankruptcy establishes a three- to five-year payment plan for you to pay off your debt, which can drag your divorce out longer.
  3. Conditions of Bankruptcy. Abiding by the rules listed in the Bankruptcy Code is critical for having your debts discharged.  A Chapter 7 discharge may be denied if the debtor:
  • Fails to provide requested tax documents;
  • Hides property for the purpose of defrauding creditors;
  • Destroys financial books or records;
  • Commits perjury in connection to the bankruptcy case;
  • Violates a court order;
  • Fails to complete the mandatory credit counseling course.

Bankruptcy and divorce are chances for you to make a fresh start for you and your family. However, both of these processes can be extremely complex and detailed in nature.  You should consult with an experienced bankruptcy attorney and have a strong divorce attorney on your side who can guide you through the process and obtain the most successful outcome for you.

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: http://www.divorcemag.com/monthly-newsletter/5-things-to-know-about-bankruptcy-and-divorce

The IRS is Using Private Debt Collectors- Here’s what Consumers Need to Know

April 21, 2017 Posted by kingcade

The IRS has entered into contracts with four private debt collection agencies- Conserve, Pioneer, Performant and CBE Group.  These agencies will only take over accounts if several criteria are met:

  1. The tax debt has been removed from the IRS’s active inventory due to a lack of resources or an inability to find the taxpayer;
  2. More than one-third of the applicable limitation period has passed and no IRS employee has been assigned to collect the debt;
  3. The debt has been assigned for collection, but more than 365 days have passed without interaction with the taxpayer for purposes of furthering collection of the debt.

These collection agencies are required to abide by the consumer protection provisions of the Fair Debt Collection Practices Act.  This means they cannot call you before 8 a.m. or after 9 p.m.; they cannot contact you at work if you have told them not to; they cannot falsely claim you have committed a crime; they cannot misrepresent the amount you owe or threaten you with harm or arrest for lack of payment.

Consumers need to be aware of tax scammers looking to capitalize on this new IRS protocol.  Tax scammers oftentimes ask their victims pay their alleged debts by purchasing prepaid cards and then call back with the cards’ codes. Another common scam involves having large amounts of money sent via wire transfer.

This will never be the case with the listed contracted debt collectors, according to the IRS.  In fact, taxpayers will not be asked to pay the private debt collectors anything. Instead, these collectors will provide information about electronic payment options for taxpayers on IRS.gov/Pay.  Even written checks will need to be made payable to the U.S. Treasury and sent directly to the IRS, not the private collection companies.

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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 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.

What to do When Debt Collectors Call

August 12, 2016 Posted by kingcade

According to the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau (CFPB), collectors have reached out to one-third of all consumers over the past year in an attempt to recover a debt. Although there are many laws in place to protect consumers, the CFPB reported that approximately 25 percent of all grievances the agency has received are complaints about debt collection practices. The CFPB recently proposed new rules to better protect consumers against illegal or unethical debt collection practices.

The CFPB recommends these four measures you need to take when debt collectors call:

  1. Know your rights. Familiarize yourself with the Fair Debt Collection Practices Act (FDCPA), this will help you better understand your rights as a consumers and how you are protected by the CFPB. When a debt collector contacts you, make sure you tell them you are aware of your rights under the FDCPA.
  2. Verify everything. Under the FDCPA, debt collectors are legally require to follow up their call with a written notice detailing your debt. Make sure you ask for that information while you have them on the phone. You also need to verify the debt and the collector. Sometimes debt collectors try to collect “zombie debt” that is past the statute of limitations in your state.
  3. Take detailed notes. Write down every time the collector makes contact with you. In your notes include: the agency’s name, the number they called from or the email address used, the time of the call and the name of the representative you spoke with. Also write down any threats that are made or unethical tactics the collector used to get you to pay the debt.
  4. Complain to the CFPB. If you know your rights and you are aware that a debt collector has violated the FDCPA to try to collect debts, report the encounters to the CFPB.

 

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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.

8 Things Debt Collectors Won’t Tell You

August 8, 2016 Posted by kingcade

Debt collectors often use extreme and dishonest measures to try to collect on debts. However, there are a number of things that they are not likely to tell you, and knowing these things can make all the difference in resolving your debts.

Below are eight things debt collectors are not telling you:

  1. Some of their threats carry no weight. Oftentimes, debt collectors use empty threats such as, “We are going to inform your creditor that you are refusing to pay this bill.” However, your creditor already knows you are not paying the bill, which is why the bill was sent to a collection agency.
  2. If you tell them not to call during work hours, they must comply. According to the Fair Debt Collection Practices Act, debt collectors cannot continue to call you while you are at work, if you tell them not to. However, the 2011 Annual Report to Congress about the Fair Debt Collection Practices Act complaints proved that 17,008 complaints were filed in 2010 related to debt collection calls to consumers at work. This number is up from 11,991 complaints the previous year.
  3. They cannot talk about your debts to others. Debt collectors are only allowed to discuss your debt with you, a co-signer, your spouse or your attorney. According to the Fair Debt Collection Practices Act, debt collectors can only contact “third parties” to locate you.
  4. Your debt may be stale. Each state has its own statute of limitations that makes debt of certain ages not collectible. However, some debt collectors continue to target borrowers to collect on old debts.
  5. Debt collectors are under pressure to collect, just like you are to pay. Most collectors work on sliding scale commissions. This means that the quicker they collect money from debtors, the higher their commission.
  6. They cannot go after your possessions unless they sue you. Debt collectors must sue you before they can go after your property, including money in your bank account. Even threatening to sue you to collect a debt may be illegal if the collector has no intention of doing so.
  7. Paying off this debt will not boost your credit ratings. When a debt is sent to collections, it will remain on your credit report for seven and a half years from the date you fell behind with the original creditor. Collectors will often tell you they will “update your credit report to paid in full status.” However, the change will not likely affect your credit report.
  8. You probably do not have to pay your deceased relative’s debt. You are generally not responsible for the debts of relatives who have died unless you were a co-signer of the debt or the debt belonged to your spouse who died.

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.