Bankruptcy law is about getting a fresh financial start. It is not about “failure” or “fault.” Bankruptcy law is a balancing of the interests of debtors and creditors, with the underlying policy of allowing for payment to creditors of what the debtor can reasonably afford to pay after necessary living expenses (Chapter 13) or of the liquidated value of assets in excess of what a debtor is allowed to keep in Chapter 7. Chapter 13 Bankruptcy cases, are commonly referred to as a wage earner plan, and is what some unscrupulous persons advertise by saying, avoid bankruptcy, file a wage earners plan or a debt consolidation, implying that it is a non bankruptcy procedure. Of course they aren’t being truthful. Our seasoned West Sacramento Chapter 13 bankruptcy attorneys at Bowman and Associates understand that serious financial difficulties can invade every area of your life, causing undue stress, depression, and feelings of desperation. However, bankruptcy allows you to take charge of your financial situation and start with a fresh financial slate, so that you may move on with life.
There are many laws in place to protect American consumers from unfair and deceptive business practices, including the Fair Debt Collection Practices Act (FDCPA), which was enacted in September 1977 and went into effect in 1978. The FDCPA was created to prevent deceptive and abusive tactics by debt collectors. Debt collector and creditor harassment are practices which no consumer should have to deal with. In fact, state and federal law exist on this specific subject which prohibit creditor abuse and harassment, offering consumers legal recourse when they suffer losses as a result of these unlawful practices. If you have recently been bombarded or harassed in any manner by a debt collection agency, then you should not wait to contact our veteran Modesto debt collection abuse attorneys at Bowman and Associates. Debt collectors generate more complaints to the FTC than any other industry group. The list of things a debt collector is prohibited from doing is exhaustive and complicated. If you believe that a debt collector is using abusive or deceptive tactics to recover a debt, we can help.
Most American consumers have experience with debt. Some may only be behind on a few months worth of credit card bills while others may have missed several mortgage payments. In either case, the consumer may be contacted by a debt collector about the money they owe. Debt collection practices are regulated by federal and state law. The Fair Debt Collection Practices Act, often referred to as the “FDCPA”, protects all of us from unfair, misleading, harassing or abusive conduct by debt collectors. California also has adopted its own FDCPA, called the Rosenthal Fair Debt Collection Practices Act.
As more Americans fall behind on bill payments, more are receiving collection calls. At the same time, more people are filing complaints against the industry and those complaints are being heard. The Federal Trade Commission received 140,036 complaints against debt collectors in 2010. That’s up 17 percent from 2009. Dick Eppstein with the Better Business Bureau says it also gets hundreds of complaints “They’ll say the guy keeps bothering them, he keeps calling them. They’ve told him ‘I don’t owe the money, and he won’t listen,’” Eppstein said. “The major criticism is they won’t reveal what the debt is, or they won’t prove that somebody owes the money.” Starting next month, a new regulator, the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau, will begin to share policing duty with the FTC.
Being contacted by someone who wants to collect a debt can be upsetting, especially if they are constantly calling. We can help you resolve your debt collection matter and stop the creditors from bothering you with annoying phone calls, letters, and demands. Our attorneys can help you through your financial hardship, and you may end up with a substantial discount from the original debt. Debt collectors who work on commission may be highly motivated to convince debtors to pay the debt, often to the point that they are threatening or abusive to debtors, or misrepresent their rights and what may happen to the debtor. The collector may not use deceptive practices (for example, threatening the debtor with arrest or impersonating law enforcement). The collector cannot use obscene language and must inform the debtor of their name and the name of the collection company when requested. The Fair Debt Collection Practices Act is the primary federal law governing debt collection practices. The FDCPA allows aggrieved consumers to file private lawsuits against a collection agency that violates the Act. Alternatively, the Federal Trade Commission or the state attorney general may take action against a noncompliant collection agency, including issuing fines, ordering damages, restricting its operations or even closing it down
A lawsuit filed in Pinelas Circuit Court claims that Jacksonville, Fla.-based MarkOne Financial representatives emailed, texted, and called the residence, cell phone and workplace of Melanie Beacham nearly 23 times a day, looking to collect a debt after the St. Petersburg woman fell behind in her car payments. Unable to contact her, the collection firm thus jumped on Facebook and messaged Beacham and everyone else on her Friends list. Although the suit is still pending in court, the judge has ruled that MarkOne is no longer allowed to contact Beacham, her family or friends on Facebook or any other social networking site. The ruling is the first of its kind, and overall addresses the rising problem of debt collectors using social media to harass/embarrass debtors into coughing up what they owe. “That is something we’ve been fighting for, and we finally got a court ruling on that,” said Beacham’s attorney Billy Howard, head of the consumer protection department at the Morgan & Morgan law firm. Howard is also representing another client who claims that MarkOne continuously sent messages through Facebook even though the collection firm already contacted his client several times by phone. He also has ten additional cases involving debt collectors using social media to extract a payment.
An FBI informant told former Philadelphia Police Inspector Daniel Castro in September that debt collectors were frustrated trying to recover a $90,000 debt Castro was owed by a businessman. The debt collectors wanted to “rough up” the man, but they needed Castro’s approval, the informant told him. “I never told my mom this before. I told them, ‘yeah, OK,’” Castro told a jury yesterday. “It was the biggest mistake of my life.” Castro said that when he returned home after picking his son up from a halfway house on Nov. 5, he pulled into the driveway of his home and found Philadelphia cops and FBI agents waiting “with guns drawn at me.” He was arrested in front of his son.
If you fall behind on your bills, or an error is made on your accounts, you may be contacted by a “debt collector.” The Fair Debt Collection Practices Act (FDCPA) requires that debt collectors treat you fairly by prohibiting certain methods of debt collection. Unfortunately, not all debt collectors believe that these laws really apply to them. Personal, family, and household debts are covered under the Act. This includes money owed for the purchase of a car, for medical care, or for credit cards. But only debt collectors—not the creditor itself—are covered. That means Citibank wouldn’t be covered, but Citibank’s outside collection agency would be. The FDCPA controls when a collector may and may not call, where you may be called, and how to stop calls. It limits when other people can be called about your past due bills, and how to make them prove you owe the money—or leave you alone. Debt collectors’ notoriously outrageous behavior led Congress to regulate their activities. The Fair Debt Collection Practices Act was passed 1977. Under this law, debt collectors are clearly prohibited from engaging in a variety of unfair practices. Here are some examples of conduct which the law prohibits: Contacting a consumer and failing to identify himself. Contacting you via post card. Contacting you after he knows that you are represented by an attorney. Contacting you at an inconvenient time, such as before 9:00 a.m. or after 8:00 p.m. local time. Contacting you at your work place if you have stated that your employer prohibits you from receiving phone calls of this nature at work. Contacting your friends, neighbors or co-workers and telling them you owe them money. Contacting you after you have notified them to [...]
Using a Home Equity Loan to “get out of debt” If you have debt that is no longer manageable, then bankruptcy could be an option. While there are bankruptcy alternatives which can be utilized to deal with debt, using a home equity loan to pay off credit cards or get out of debt as opposed to filing for bankruptcy may not be the best thing you can do. Borrowing from a secured creditor to pay an unsecured creditor is not a good idea. Borrowing your way out of debt doesn’t always work out. In fact, there are many people who get a home equity loan to pay off their credit cards but end up losing their home because they can’t afford to make the payments on the home equity loan. Home Equity Loans shouldn’t be used to pay off huge credit card balances. When you get a home equity loan to payoff credit card debt, you essentially make unsecured debt secured. When your credit cards don’t get paid, the credit card company will call and harass you to pay. Even if they sue you still have your home. If you don’t pay the payments on your home equity loan, you can lose your home. Don’t get a home equity loan to pay off debt until you get a free initial consultation from a Bankruptcy Attorney. Trying to hide your assets from the judge or trustee When you go through Chapter 7, the trustee will try to get whatever he can on behalf of the creditors. Some assets are protected by state or federal law, including your primary residence and a modest vehicle. The details vary from state to state, and some states have limits depending [...]
BAKERSFIELD, Calif. — The Better Business Bureau has received several reports of fraudulent and aggressive collection calls targeting area consumers. In some cases, consumers have been threatened with arrest if they don’t pay off alleged debts immediately. The BBB urges the public not to be intimidated by debt collectors or people claiming to be debt collectors, and to keep in mind they have rights under the Fair Debt Collection Practices Act (FDCPA). Under that Act, debt collectors may not harass, oppress, or abuse debtors or any third parties they contact, nor can they state that anyone will be arrested if they don’t pay their debt. Consumers who have reported these calls to the BBB have all either received or applied for a payday loan. However, all have stated that when they received these collection calls they were either not behind on their loans or had decided not to receive a payday loan. They also stated that when they contacted the payday loan companies they worked with, they were told these companies were not aware of or affiliated with any collection efforts. Some consumers have said the people making these collection calls had heavy foreign accents. The fraudulent debt collectors, who have claimed to be both the Law Group of California and the Cyber Crime Unit of California, seem to have sensitive personal information of the people they’re calling. In one case, they had the last four digits of the consumer’s bank account and Social Security number. It’s unclear how this information was obtained. The Law Group of California (DBA United Attorney Services) has an F rating with the BBB of Los Angeles. A company with the same name has done business in the Central Valley [...]