Debt Collection, Debt Relief, Medical Debt

How Long Does Medical Debt Remain on a Person’s Credit Report?

After suffering a serious injury or illness, it can be hard to pay the bills that inevitably follow. Considering how many Americans are now facing medical debt in light of the coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic, many wonder the effects this will have on their credit score and how long the debt will remain on their credit report.

After medical debt has been reported to the credit bureaus, it can remain on a consumer’s credit report for up to seven years. However, a person’s medical debt is not immediately reported to that individual’s credit as soon as it is incurred. It will not be reported to a person’s credit so long as that debt remains with the original service provider. Once a person defaults on the debt and it goes to collection, only then will the medical debt begin to show up on a person’s credit report.

Debt Collection

Consumer Groups Dispute Proposed Debt Collection Rule

A new rule is being proposed by the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau (CFPB) that would require debt collectors to notify consumers as to whether they can be legally sued for a debt they are attempting to collect. This rule follows complaints made by consumers regarding debt collectors threatening to collect on debts that they otherwise would not be able to pursue legally.

Every state has statutes of limitation which control how long an individual or entity can bring a legal action. For collection of debt, this timeline in Florida is five years for debts resulting from written contracts, such as personal loans, and four years for oral contracts or revolving accounts, including credit cards. If a creditor contacts a consumer regarding a debt past that deadline, the consumer is not under any legal obligation to pay.

Coronavirus, COVID-19, Debt Relief

5 Ways to Protect Your Stimulus Check from Creditors

As Americans begin receiving their stimulus checks from the $2.2 trillion CARES Act, many who are struggling with debt, worry this money will be intercepted by creditors seeking payment. More than 80 million stimulus checks have been processed thus far, which is a huge source of relief for the 20 million Americans out of work.

Many creditors view these stimulus payments as a chance to receive payment on outstanding debt, especially those that have already been reduced to court judgments. If a financial institution is given a garnishment order, it is possible they will immediately freeze that amount of money deposited into the account, only providing the consumer a limited amount of time before the funds are taken by the creditor.  However, certain measures can be taken to protect this stimulus money from creditors.

Coronavirus, COVID-19, student loan debt, Student Loans

How Student Loan Borrowers Will Benefit from the Stimulus Bill

The recently passed $2.2 trillion stimulus bill provides several different forms of financial assistance for American consumers during the current coronavirus (COVID-19) crisis. The new bill also provides options for student loan borrowers who are struggling to keep up on their loan payments, which comes as good news for the over 44 million borrowers holding more than $1.5 trillion in outstanding student loan debt.

Borrowers who have federally owned student loans will not have to pay on their loans through at least September 30, including Parent PLUS Loans. This payment suspension will occur automatically and does not need to be requested by the borrower.

Bankruptcy Law, Credit Card Debt, Debt Collection, Debt Relief

Tips for Gen. X’ers Battling Credit Card Debt

Credit card debt is a problem that countless consumers struggle with. But according to recent data provided by Experian, Gen X consumers carry more credit card debt than any other generation.

Experian’s data showed that Gen X holds the highest average credit card balances at $8,658. As members of Gen X approach middle age, many of them raising families, they are also struggling to pay down credit card debt they have been holding since their 20s.

Coronavirus, COVID-19, Debt Collection, Debt Relief

Debt Collectors Argue They are ‘Essential’ to Consumer Financial Health During COVID-19 Shutdown

The coronavirus (COVID-19) has hit American consumers hard, putting many of them temporarily out of work. Relief efforts have been made on a state-by-state basis to assist consumers.

New York residents have been given a 30-day freeze period from state-owned medical debt and student loan debt collections. Another similar announcement came from the mayor of Chicago with respect to city debt through April 30, 2020.  The Department of Education has suspended collections on federal student loans, and they are encouraging private student lenders to do the same.

Debt Collection, Debt Relief

Tips for Getting Your Debt Out of Collections

Getting out of debt can seem like a never-ending battle. Once someone falls behind on one or more bill payments, the debt collector calls can be relentless. The late fees and penalties that are often assessed on past-due accounts, not to mention the interest rate spikes that come along with missing a payment, can make getting back on one’s feet nearly impossible. There are certain steps that can help consumers who are facing these types of situations get out of debt and stay out.

Remain Calm.

It can be easy to react out of stress or panic and make decisions that someone would not normally have made, especially when dealing with debt collectors. It is important that whatever decisions are made by the consumer are ones that are carefully considered and logical. Many consumers may react out of fear and enter into payment agreements that they would not normally agree with and cannot realistically afford just to get the debt collector to back down. The aggressive techniques used by many debt collectors have this motive in mind. Make sure you understand and get the terms in writing, first. Never agree immediately to a payment arrangement over the phone with a debt collector.

Bankruptcy Law

How Long Does the Bankruptcy Automatic Stay Remain in Effect?

One of the benefits of filing for bankruptcy is the automatic stay and the protections it offers filers who are facing a multitude of collection calls from their creditors. It can also protect a person from lawsuits, wage garnishment, repossession, and losing valuable property.  As soon as the bankruptcy petition is filed, the automatic stay goes into effect. After this point, creditors and debt collectors are legally barred from attempting to collect on any debt owed by the filer.

The automatic stay will remain in effect throughout the duration of the bankruptcy case from filing to discharge. However, certain factors can affect the automatic stay and how long it remains in effect.

Bankruptcy Law, Credit Card Debt, Debt Relief

How to Stop Harassment for Debts You Do Not Owe

Fair Debt Collection Practices Act (FDCPA)

Debt collectors will do just about anything to get a consumer to pay on a debt, their job depends on it.  This can even include the collection of old debts that are past the statute of limitations. According to recent figures from the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau (CFPB), in conjunction with a complaint database through consumer advocacy group, U.S. PIRG Education Fund, 44 percent of all complaints against debt collectors have to do with attempts to collect on a debt that is not even owed by the person receiving the call.

The problem is many consumers are not aware that they do not owe on the debt, and they are not fully aware of their legal rights when it comes to debt collections. Under the Fair Debt Collection Practices Act (FDCPA), third-party debt collectors are limited in how many times a day they can call consumers, as well as the type of communication and language they may use while collecting on the debt. If the communication constitutes harassment, the consumer has the right to ask the debt collector to stop contacting him or her, and file a lawsuit against the collection agency.