Debt Collection, Debt Relief

CFPB Announces Two Final Debt Collection Rules to Go into Effect November 30

The Consumer Financial Protection Bureau (CFPB) announced two final debt collection rules which are scheduled to take effect on November 30, 2021. These two rules clarify and add further detail to provisions of the Fair Debt Collection Practices Act (FDCPA), the law that offers protections to consumers from abusive or unfair collection practices from third-party debt collectors.

These rules were originally going to be made effective in the spring, but the CFPB delayed the effective date by 60 days to allow all affected parties time to comply due to the COVID-19 pandemic. However, after making the announcement regarding a 60-day delay, the CFPB determined that the extension was not needed and published the official notice in the Federal Register officially withdrawing the extension.

Debt in Divorce, Debt Relief

How Debt is Handled in Divorce

In a divorce, the married parties end up dividing assets accumulated during their marriage. Most people going through a divorce worry about dividing up their property and other assets. However, dividing up debt is just as important- if not more. This is of particular importance if the spouses do not have many assets.

A divorce judgment is where the court divides up the couple’s assets, as well as their debts. Part of this order involves determining which spouse is responsible for which debts. Normally, debts are divided equally between the parties, but that is not always the case when one spouse earns significantly more than the other or where one spouse is receiving more property that has debt connected to it than the other spouse.

Credit Card Debt, Debt Relief

How Much of Your Monthly Income Should go Towards Paying Down Debt?

Consumer debt. It seems to be an inevitable part of life for many Americans. In fact, most American consumers carry some level of debt. Getting out of it, however, is not so easy, which is why so many Americans use at least some portion of their income to pay towards their debt. Determining how much is appropriate can be complicated, depending on the consumer’s individual circumstances.

Generally speaking, it is important to pay more than the monthly minimum payment. A good rule of thumb is to follow the 50/30/20 rule. What this budgeting rule entails is the consumer spends 50 percent of monthly after-tax income or net income towards essential living expenses, such as mortgage payments, utility bills, food, and transportation costs. After that 50 percent is paid, the consumer allots the next 30 percent to his or her “wants,” meaning eating out, going on vacation, and other non-essential expenses. The remaining 20 percent is left for paying off debt or saving for the future.

Credit Card Debt, Debt Collection, Debt Relief

How Much Debt is Too Much? Here are the Warning Signs.

For many people the word ‘debt’ is a four letter word. A word that resonates a certain fear and anxiety, oftentimes associated with credit card bills and collection calls. However, taking on certain kinds of debt can serve as a means to an end. For example, borrowing money to go to college and earn a degree, starting a business, or purchasing a home or car.

Determining how much debt is too much debt can be tricky. If you have a good job, are in good health, and keep track of your finances, and interest rates, debt can be managed effectively. If used wisely, and for things that grow in value, like a home or education, it can be useful.

Debt Relief

What is Debt Relief and When Should I Seek It?

Debt can seem like an insurmountable burden, impossible to escape once a consumer has gotten too far in. Different options are available for dealing with credit card debt, student loan debt, and other consumer debts.  

Many times, consumers find themselves overwhelmed with several different types of debt in differing amounts.

Debt Collection, Debt Relief

Understanding Zombie Debt and the Statute of Limitations

Consumer debts have what is called a statute of limitations. This is the amount of time the creditor can use the court to force a consumer to pay a debt. After the statute of limitations has expired on a debt, it is no longer legally enforceable. Occasionally, however, a consumer may be contacted regarding an old debt by a collector who hopes the consumer will ‘restart the statute of limitations.’

Zombie debt is debt that the consumer thinks is “dead,” meaning it is past the statute of limitations that the debt collector is now trying to bring back to life. While the debt collector cannot take the consumer to court to collect on the debt, there are no laws saying they cannot continue to contact the consumer to collect what is owed. Many times, debt collection agencies will purchase expired debt to turn a profit. Since the cost to buy expired debt is exceptionally low, even if they collect on a handful of accounts, they are still earning a profit.

Consumer Bankruptcy, Debt Relief

Defaulting on Debt v. Filing Bankruptcy

It can be tempting to want to walk away from debt in lieu of filing for bankruptcy. But doing so will not provide the consumer with the clean slate that a bankruptcy discharge offers. It is often better to face these debts in a Chapter 7 or Chapter 13 bankruptcy case instead of choosing to default on them.

Whenever a consumer fails to make payments on a loan or financial obligation, this failure to pay is otherwise known as a default. Lenders all have their own requirements on what exactly qualifies as a “default,” including how many payments have been missed before the account is officially considered in default.

Debt Relief, Tax Debt

Three Cost-Effective Ways to Pay Off Tax Debt

With tax season coming to an end, many consumers are wondering how they are going to pay their outstanding tax bill. When it comes to tax debt, it is best to pay it off as quickly as possible and in one lump sum payment. However, payment in full is not always possible. Fortunately, there are options available for those struggling with tax debt. 

The official tax filing deadline was May 17, and all outstanding 2020 tax bills were technically due at that time. If a taxpayer was not able to pay the bill by this date, interest and penalties will begin accruing on the outstanding amount owed.   The penalty for not paying tax bills in full is 0.5 percent of the unpaid amount monthly until the full amount is paid. On top of interest, penalties will add up to 25 percent of the total amount owed. Because of these penalties, the quicker the tax bill can be paid, the better.  

Debt Collection, Debt Relief

Predatory Debt Collectors Barred from PPP Loans Under New Bill

New legislation introduced this week will effectively bar all predatory debt collectors from receiving money from funds received under the federal government’s Paycheck Protection Program (PPP).  

The measure has been introduced by Representatives Suzanne Bonamici (D-Ore.) and Marie Newman (D-Ill.). In announcing the proposed legislation, the lawmakers pointed to an analysis conducted by the Washington Post in January 2021. The Post reported several incidents where debt collection companies had harassed consumers for payment on debts after they had received their own financial assistance from federal PPP loans. It was their hope that this legislation will curb these practices and will effectively block predatory debt collection firms from receiving PPP money themselves.  

Debt Relief

Credit Counseling vs. Bankruptcy- Which one is right for you?

When it comes to dealing with debt, you have options.  Debt relief can ease the burden of overwhelming debt, but it’s not right for everyone. Given a person’s financial and personal circumstances, certain considerations should be kept in mind when making the determination between credit counseling and bankruptcy.

If the consumer has a steady income and can pay back his or her debt within a few months to a year, credit counseling may be the wise choice for him or her. However, if the person has an overwhelming amount of debt in comparison to his or her income, filing for Chapter 7 or Chapter 13 bankruptcy may be the better option.