Tuesday, December 15, 2009

Do Bill Collectors Have Any Rules to Follow?


Harassing creditor calls is one of the most common problems people have when they come into my office to file bankruptcy. They are bothering folks—calling them during the day, at night, before work, and even after work. This year, I even read that the stress of creditor calls caused a man to have a heart attack, which he died from.

There is actually a set of rules that bill collectors are supposed to follow that is found in the Fair Debt Collection Practices Act. According to those rules, they shouldn't be harassing you, using abusive language, lying to you, or adding charges to your account without authorization.

They also shouldn't be calling you at work or bothering your relatives. Unfortunately, bill collectors don't always follow the rules and creditors from your lender may not be subject to the same rules as a collection agency. They sometimes even escalate the situation further. I've heard of cases where collectors are screaming at people, demanding their money, and even physically threatening them.

It is important to keep in mind that collectors have a legitimate claim and they can follow through on some of their threats—like getting a judgment against you and garnishing your wages. You cannot just disconnect your phone or ignore the calls and then assume you don't have to pay the debt. A creditor will not be deterred from taking action against you just because they don't talk to you on the phone.

At my office, you can stop harassing creditor calls as soon as you retain me. Filing bankruptcy stop collectors from calling you, garnishing your wages, levying your bank accounts, or taking any further action. We have a special "creditor line" that all bill collectors can be referred to. Our office can even continue to take action if your creditors persist by issuing a "hot call" where we call your creditors for you.

Before you hire a bankruptcy attorney, you want to make sure that they are willing to go above and beyond to stop your creditors from harassing you. How can you find out? It is often free to talk to a bankruptcy attorney the first time. Don't forget to ask any attorney what their plan is to help you if your creditors continue to harass you after you've filed for bankruptcy. If they aren't willing to help you, it may be a sign that they won't be willing to help you with other problems that come up during your case.

Sources: I. Videos Gone Viral, II. The Car Junky, III. The Tech Fanatic

1 Comentário:

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