Posts Tagged: ‘Florida’

How Debt Collectors Trick Consumers into Reviving Old Debts

August 8, 2019 Posted by kingcade

Creditors can be extremely creative when attempting to collect on a debt. Many of them rely on the fact that most consumers do not truly understand the laws surrounding debt collection. The average consumer may not know creditors only have so long to collect on a debt under the state’s statute of limitations. After that time has passed, the creditor or debt collector is barred from taking legal action to collect on the debt.  But that does not mean they can’t stop trying to collect on it.

The problem is many debt collectors will still attempt to get payment on the debt, even after it is past the legal statute of limitations. This practice is often referred to as “zombie debt collection.” Their hope is that the consumer will pay on the bill, even just a partial amount, reviving the debt, and then giving the debt collector the legal right to sue to collect on the remaining debt.

It is important that consumers be aware of what the statute of limitations is for their given state. In Florida, debt collectors may not collect on a debt that is more than five years past due for written contracts, such as personal loans. For other debts, including those with revolving accounts, such as credit cards, the statute of limitations is four years.

It is estimated that consumer debt has reached a record level of more than $4 trillion owed. As a result, the debt collection industry is upping their efforts to make profits from debts that were once considered written off and essentially not collectible, including debts that are past the statute of limitations.

Debt collectors are using different tactics to get consumers to reset the statute of limitations. Some have sent credit cards to the account holders that let them pay off the old debts by using the card, or they allow the consumer to make a smaller payment to stop the collection calls. If the consumer is not otherwise aware of the fact that he or she has rights under the Fair Debt Collection Practices Act (FDCPA) to demand that the calls stop, he or she may believe payment is the only option to end the harassment, which is not the case.

This new push to try to collect on old debts is having an adverse effect on the court system with an increase in the number of debt collection lawsuits being filed. In New York City, it was reported that the number of debt collection lawsuits has drastically increased to more than 100,000, as compared to the 47,000 filed in 2016.

If you have 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.

Source: https://www.washingtonpost.com/business/2019/08/07/zombie-debt-how-collectors-trick-consumers-into-reviving-dead-debts/?noredirect=on

 

 

Tips for Buying a Home Post Bankruptcy

May 6, 2019 Posted by kingcade

Many people assume that filing for bankruptcy means that they will never be able to qualify for a home loan or take out credit again.  This is one of the many bankruptcy myths out there. The following steps can help you achieve the goal of purchasing a home post-bankruptcy.

  1. Review Your Financial Situation

After receiving your fresh start from bankruptcy, you should review your financial situation. Ensure that all of the debts that would have qualified for discharge in a bankruptcy case have, in fact, been discharged. It also helps to get a clear picture of where you are financially by reviewing your credit report.  Most financial experts recommend you review your credit report every year to ensure that no mistakes exist on the report and to ensure that progress is being made in rebuilding your credit.

  1. Establish a Budget

Not only is it helpful to get a good idea of your financial situation by reviewing your credit report and keeping tabs on your progress in rebuilding your credit, it is also important to establish and stick to a budget. Review your monthly household expenses, as well as your monthly income. Lay out any upcoming annual expenses, including taxes or vehicle registration, and make sure enough money is available to pay for all of these necessary expenses. If any additional funds are available after all needed expenses are met, use this money to help build up a savings for a down payment, as well as unexpected emergency expenses. Stick to this budget throughout the year, as much as possible to help build up savings for a down payment on a home.

One practical way to grow your savings is to follow the adage of paying yourself first. When creating a budget, make sure that putting money into savings is a priority by doing it before you use any extra money on unnecessary expenses. While the more you are able to put away into savings is better, also be realistic in how much you set aside for savings. Do not stretch yourself too thin to the point where you have nothing left for any other costs and expenditures.

  1. Rebuild Your Credit

Building up savings is important, but it is equally important to rebuild your credit after bankruptcy. One important tool used by bankruptcy filers to rebuild credit is a secured credit card. These types of cards carry lower spending limits and higher interest rates but using a secured credit card for a short period of time can help rebuild credit. After a set period of time, you can begin using a conventional credit card, so long as the balance is kept low and paid in full every month. It also helps to continue paying all bills on time and not missing payments, which will improve your credit score over time.

  1. Formulate a Plan

You should go into the home purchasing process with a plan in mind. Calculate what type of down payment you can afford, but also keep in mind what type of monthly mortgage payment your budget can handle. Financial experts recommend that you not spend more than 28 percent of your income on housing costs.  Also ensure that your budget allows for additional expenses, such as regular maintenance and costs that come along with home ownership. If you have a house you are interested in, make sure you schedule a thorough inspection to ensure that no additional, unidentified problems come along with the purchase.

  1. Get Organized

Before applying for a mortgage, it is recommended that you get yourself organized and prepared with all of the financial information that will be required for a mortgage application. If you have just completed a bankruptcy case, odds are you are familiar with compiling important financial documentation, including paystubs, tax returns, list of assets and other financial documentation.  Common documentation that is required includes bank, credit card and other loan statements, tax records, insurance documents, employment records, paystubs, and investment records. If you have recently gone through a bankruptcy, you may also need to provide legal documentation, such as your bankruptcy petition.

  1. Research Your Mortgage Options

It pays to do the research to determine the best available lending options. Conventional mortgages are available through private lenders, mortgage companies, commercial banks and credit unions. These types of mortgages tend to be more rigid in their criteria. The Federal Housing Administration (FHA) also offers loans that are backed by the government. These loans are a little more flexible in their criteria but come with other restrictions on the person’s ability to flip the property or rent it out later. FHA loans, however, are beneficial for first-time or lower-income homeowners.  Be sure to research the different interest rate options available before signing on the dotted line. Financing can be done through a fixed-rate mortgage, which locks the purchaser into an interest rate at the time he or she signs loan documents, or an adjustable rate mortgage, which can mean rates can fluctuate with the market.

How smoothly purchasing a home after bankruptcy goes can depend heavily on the type of consumer bankruptcy that was filed, whether it be Chapter 7 or Chapter 13 bankruptcy, and the type of loan being sought. Mortgage lenders have different “seasoning periods” that determine when someone is ready to receive a mortgage following a bankruptcy or foreclosure. For a Chapter 7 bankruptcy, the period usually is four-years after discharge for a conventional mortgage or two years for a VA or FHA loan. However, for a Chapter 13 bankruptcy, a borrower may be able to get a conventional mortgage just two years after receiving a discharge or even less than two years if the borrower is seeking a VA or FHA mortgage.

If you have 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://blog.credit.com/2017/11/5-steps-to-buying-a-home-after-bankruptcy-115998/

https://blog.credit.com/2014/10/how-soon-can-i-buy-a-house-after-bankruptcy-or-foreclosure-98939/

 

 

Floridians Hold Some of the Highest Amounts of Credit Card Debt in the Nation

June 8, 2018 Posted by kingcade

Credit card debt is a problem for many Americans, but according to a recent study, it seems to be a more significant problem in Florida.  In fact, the Sunshine State has been ranked among the top three states where residents hold the highest amount of credit card debt.

Florida residents carry a total balance of $59.2 billion in credit card debt, as of the end of 2017. The State of California tops the list with its residents holding $106.8 billion in credit card debt, followed by Texas at $67.3 billion.

Interestingly enough, California has traditionally been known to be a state where individuals need to earn the most income to be considered “wealthy” by most standards. Considering the high level of credit card debt residents in California carry, this leads one to conclude that this “income” involves resorting to the use of credit cards, instead of solely relying on earnings.

According to the report, the states with the highest amounts of credit card debt in 2017 were:

  1. California $106.8 billion
  2. Texas $67.3 billion
  3. Florida 59.2 billion
  4. New York $58.1 billion
  5. Pennsylvania $33.2 billion
  6. Illinois $32.2 billion
  7. New Jersey $29.6 billion
  8. Ohio $26.7 billion
  9. Virginia $26.5 billion
  10. Georgia $26.3 billion

Florida residents were also in the top ten for credit card delinquency rates, meaning balances were left unpaid for 90 or more days. Nationally, approximately 7.5 percent of credit card debt was delinquent by these standards. Florida was above this average figure and ranked third in terms of delinquency reported.

The report stated that credit card balances on a national level declined between the years 2008 and 2013 but began to rise again in 2014. As of 2017, more than 470 million credit card accounts were open, totaling $3.5 trillion. The total debt figures were compiled by the Federal Reserve Bank of New York.  The full report can be viewed here.

If you are struggling with credit card debt 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://patch.com/florida/southtampa/florida-among-states-highest-credit-card-debt

 

Florida Ranks in the Top 5 States for Invalid and Illegal Debt Collection

April 3, 2018 Posted by kingcade

Invalid and illegal debt collection practices are at an all-time high across the country, and Florida is no exception.  Data was analyzed from the Consumer Finance Protection Bureau (CFPB) to identify the states that engaged in these deceptive and illegal practices.  ‘Zombie’ debt collections are rampant in South Florida and involve attempts to collect debts not owed, those that were already paid or discharged in bankruptcy, debts owed by someone else, or are a result of identity theft. Typically, this debt collection practice is done by third-parties, who have collected these debts written off by the original creditor.

The five states in which zombie debt collection is most prevalent are:

  1. Delaware– Delaware leads the nation when it comes to the likelihood of having to deal with a collection agency trying to collect a debt you do not owe.  With a total of 422 complaints in the Consumer Complaint Database, Delaware has a per-capita rate of 44.72 complaints per 100,000 residents.
  2. Florida– Florida comes in at number two with 42.43 complaints per 100,000 residents (a total of 8,314 complaints in all).
  3. Georgia– Georgia trails Florida by two hundredths in its per capita incidence rate of reports of zombie debt collection attempts, with 4,258 complaints registered and a population of almost exactly 10 million residents.
  4. Nevada– Like Florida, Nevada has incidence rates of illegal debt collection attempts well above the national average of 25.84 per 100,000.
  5. Maryland– Maryland has 38.65 complaints per 100,000 residents. The affluent and suburban Prince George’s County has an incidence rate of 66.6 per 100,000 residents.

Knowing which debt collection agencies have a history of practicing zombie debt collection in your state can help you avoid being a victim.  The three debt collection agencies most likely to engage in invalid and illegal debt collection practices in the country are:

  1. Encore Capital Group
  2. Enhanced Recovery Company (ERC)
  3. Portfolio Recovery Associates

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 McMaken, 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 McMaken website at www.miamibankruptcy.com.

How to Pay for Bankruptcy When You’re Broke

October 28, 2016 Posted by kingcade

Filing for Chapter 7 bankruptcy costs anywhere from between $500 to $3,500. If you are already in financial distress, it may be difficult to come up with the fees you will need to file. Follow these three strategies to pay for bankruptcy.

Raise the money

First, minimize your outgoing cash. For example, if you are still making credit card payments, stop making them. Chapter 7 bankruptcy discharges unsecured debts such as credit card balances. Next, try to find some additional income. This can be done by selling old electronics or taking on part-time work. You can also use your tax refund to pay attorney and bankruptcy filing fees.

Work out a payment plan

If you find the right attorney, you may be able to make payments for the services and filing fees. Ask about setting up a payment plan in the initial meeting with any bankruptcy attorney you are considering. Your attorney can also with work the court on a payment plan for your bankruptcy filing fee.

Go pro bono

If your income is less than 150% of the official poverty line for your family size, you might qualify for free legal services or waived fees. If you are not sure how to find out if you qualify, your local bankruptcy court will have information on free legal clinics and local free legal aid resources. Also, the American Bankruptcy Institute has a bankruptcy attorney directory that can help you find pro bono attorneys in your area.

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.