Debt Harassment

If you ever had difficulty paying your bills, then it is likely that you have received a harassing phone call or threatening letter from a debt collector.  Often, the collection call or letter is received by mistake.  Other times, the collection call or letter is justified because you could not afford to pay the bill.  It is the content of the letter or phone call which is disturbing.  Creditor harassment can add tremendous stress to a person’s already difficult financial situation.  If the harassing phone calls and collection letters are becoming more frequent, and the bills continue to add up, Chapter 7 or Chapter 13 bankruptcy may be the solution.  The attorneys at Bergman & Yiangou are here to help you put an end to the harassment from debt collectors.

Can creditors harass me because I owe them money?

columbus_bankruptcy_debt_harassment_familyNo.  The Fair Debt Collection Practices Act (FDCPA) prevents creditors from attempting debt collection in a harassing manner.  The FDCPA binds creditors to certain rules and regulations in their debt collection attempts.  For example, creditors are not allowed to threaten violence, use vulgarities, or ask you to pay more than what you actually owe.  They are also prevented from calling repetitively or during certain hours of the day.  Creditors who attempt to collect using these tactics are in violation of the FDCPA.

Can I go to jail because I owe someone money?

Typically, the answer to this question is no.  Owing a debt to another person or company is a civil matter.  You do run the risk of garnishment or having a lien placed on your real estate.  A person cannot, however, be arrested and thrown in jail because they are indebted to another.  Creditors often threaten such actions as a scare tactic to get a debtor to pay the money owed.  The use of these tactics is against the law and prevented by the FDCPA.

Must creditors inform me what debt they are attempting to collect upon?

Yes, creditors must provide you with accurate information regarding your debt.  In addition, under the FDCPA, they are required to send you a debt validation notice within five days of their initial communication with you.

How can bankruptcy stop the debt collection harassment?

Often, the only way to stop creditor harassment is to file bankruptcy.  Every debtor who files Chapter 7 or Chapter 13 bankruptcy is afforded protection from creditor harassment by what is called the “automatic stay.”  The automatic stay provides that creditors must cease any debt collection effort so long as the bankruptcy is in effect.  Once your bankruptcy case is filed, the continued attempts to collect a debt can be punishable by fines and other sanctions.  If creditors continue to harass you after your bankruptcy is filed, be sure to document the names, dates, and times the harassment occurred and contact the legal office of Bergman & Yiangou.  We will ensure the debt harassment stops.

Are there any exceptions to the automatic stay?

Yes, one should note that while the automatic stay prevents creditors from attempting to collect during the longevity of the bankruptcy case, there are certain exceptions where the stay can be lifted and collection calls can resume.  These exceptions occur for numerous reasons.  For example, the collection of debts incurred after a bankruptcy case is filed is allowed and not in violation of the automatic stay.  Additionally, creditors may be granted permission to collect from the bankruptcy court in certain circumstances.

Before you make any decisions regarding your financial future, it is important you discuss your situation with an experienced bankruptcy attorney.  The lawyers at the Law Offices of Bergman & Yiangou have the experience to guide you through your tough financial times.  We will ensure your bankruptcy case is filed as soon as possible so that the creditor harassment stops.

Contact our office today to schedule a free consultation and find out if bankruptcy is the solution for you.