Category Archives: Debt

Do you have too much debt? Chapter 7 might be an option.

Many Americans simply have more debt than they can afford to repay.

Despite what you hear, it is rarely due to irresponsibility.  No one sets out to accumulate $7,000 in credit card debt, but a temporary job loss, sudden illness or other financial emergency can quickly drain savings and force people to charge normal living expenses.

When coupled with student loans, signature loans, payday loans and other unsecured loans, consumer debt in America tops $3 trillion. Since most people can expect negligible wage growth and have little savings, credit card debt can easily push a family over its own fiscal cliff.

Even if the debt was not your fault, the bills are still due and something must be done. If paying the bills is not an option, Chapter 7 Bankruptcy may be the answer.

Chapter 7 Bankruptcy

debt collectors pic

In just a few short months, Chapter 7 Bankruptcy can wipe out most unsecured debts including credit cards and medical bills. All that time, your creditors may not take any action against you unless they get special permission from the Bankruptcy Court. After the bankruptcy is over, you still get to keep your house, retirement account, and other valuable exempt assets.

Contact us to learn more about  debt-elimination programs.

Student Loan Borrowers – Watch Out for Harassing Debt Collectors!

student loan pic

We have all heard that student loan debt is a huge problem facing our nation. Students are graduating from college with thousands of dollars in student loan debt and then they struggle to find a decent paying job in their chosen field. To add salt in this wound, the graduates are also being harassed by debt collectors.

The debt collection industry is increasingly focusing on student loan debt. Not only is the mortgage crisis coming to an end which is slowing down the collection efforts on those types of loans, but student loans are difficult to discharge in a personal bankruptcy filing. In order to eliminate your student loan debt in a Chapter 7 or Chapter 13 case, you must prove an “undue hardship,” which is a tough standard to meet. As a result, the debt collection agents understand that there is no real option for a student loan borrower to obtain relief from their harassing and abusive tactics.

The government has made some small strides in deterring abusive conduct by student loan debt collectors, but it is obvious that more extensive efforts are necessary. For instance, it is time for the burden placed on students attempting to discharge their student loan debt in a bankruptcy filing to be lowered.

While there is not a simple answer for graduates who are facing an overwhelming amount of student loans, if you are being harassed by debt collectors, let us help. We can look to see if a debt collector is violating your rights under the law in its collection efforts. If so, we may be able to file a lawsuit against the collector seeking a monetary judgment. Additionally, while you may not qualify to discharge your student loans in bankruptcy, filing a case can still provide you relief. Not only will the automatic stay prevent further collection efforts against you, but you may also be able to create a more manageable repayment plan under Chapter 13.

If you have questions about filing for bankruptcy protection or how to handle aggressive debt collectors, we have the answers. Call us today to schedule your initial consultation. Our office is located in Melbourne, but we proudly serve individuals and businesses across the State of Florida.

 

Defenses to Collection Lawsuits

defenses pic

If you are one of the thousands of consumers that is facing overwhelming credit card debt, it may be time to consider filing a personal bankruptcy case. Filing a Chapter 7 or Chapter 13 can allow you to eliminate or discharge your credit card debt and obtain a fresh financial start. However, if filing for bankruptcy protection is not an option for you and collection lawsuits are being filed against you, it is important to confer with an experienced attorney regarding the defenses that may be available to you. Below are a few defenses to a collection lawsuit that might be available to you:

  • Improper service. If you are not validly served with the summons and complaint, you have an effective defense (if timely alleged).
  • Statute of Limitations. The plaintiff seeking a monetary judgment against you must file the lawsuit by a certain deadline or it is time barred. You have a defense if the debt has gone “stale” and the creditor has lost its right to sue you to collect it.
  • Improper plaintiff. The party suing you must have the right to sue you. In other words, the plaintiff must be owner of your debt. This means that if your account was sold to a collection agent and the original creditor failed to properly transfer the documentation evidencing your debt, it may be possible to get the suit against you dismissed.
  • Wrong defendant. If you can prove that you did not incur the debt and that it does not belong to you, the court may dismiss the lawsuit.
  • Debt discharged. If you filed a prior personal Chapter 7 or Chapter 13 case and included the debt in your filing, proving the debt was discharged will prevent the creditor from proceeding with the lawsuit against you to collect it.
  • Identity theft. If the debt was incurred as a result of you being the victim of identity fraud, it is a valid defense to the lawsuit.
  • Accounting errors. You may have a partial or full defense if the plaintiff failed to correctly credit your account with payments or made some other accounting errors.
  • Unlawful debt collection. If the plaintiff used illegal debt collection practices against you, we can help you allege a counterclaim in the lawsuit. This means that you file a claim against the plaintiff seeking money damages which can be used to offset the amount you owe the plaintiff.

If you are interested in learning whether one or more of the above defenses are available to you, please contact us to schedule an appointment. Our office is located in Melbourne, but we proudly serve individuals and businesses across the State of Florida.

Your Credit Rating after a Negative Event

Credit Report written in search bar on virtual screen

One of the main concerns people have when they are facing bankruptcy or another negative financial event is whether or not they will ever be able to own a home again. You may have heard that it is not possible to buy a home after you have experienced an adverse financial event, such as a foreclosure or bankruptcy, but this typically is not true. Before you give up hope consider the following:

  • It takes time. You may not be eligible to qualify for a mortgage immediately, but give it time. For example, if you completed a Chapter 13 bankruptcy and you have good credit afterward, you may be able to get a home loan after one year. However, after a foreclosure, you will need to wait seven years before you qualify for a conventional loan that can be sold to Fannie Mae or Freddie Mac. There are also several time frames between these two. The point is, don’t assume that filing for bankruptcy will prevent you from every owning a home again. It will take time and hard work, but you might be surprised at how quickly you can qualify for a mortgage again.
  • Work on your credit score. After a bankruptcy, foreclosure or short sale, it is important that you work on improving your credit score. This means making payments on time and showing financial responsibility. Additionally, you should review your credit report on a regular basis to ensure it is correct. If you discover any errors, you should immediately have them corrected.
  • Plan ahead. It is essential to understand what the consequences are of filing for bankruptcy protection or foreclosure or short sale of your home. A seasoned attorney can help you understand what to expect and to assist you in obtaining the necessary financing when you are ready to buy a new home.

If you have questions regarding how a foreclosure, bankruptcy or short sale will impact your ability to buy a new home in the future, contact Faro & Crowder today.

Don’t delay any longer. Call us today to schedule your initial consultation. Our office is located in Melbourne, but we proudly serve individuals and businesses across the State of Florida.

 

How to know if Debt Collectors are Violating the Law

debt coll violate law pic

The debt collection industry is well-known for its harassing tactics used to persuade consumers to pay their debts. As a result, an important set of laws called the Fair Debt Collection Practices Act (FDCPA) was passed to provide consumers with a variety of protections from creditors using deceptive or abusive practices in their collection efforts.

Under the FDCPA, a debt collector is defined as an individual or entity that regularly collects debts owed to others. Collection agencies, lawyers who routinely collect debts and debt-purchasers may all be included in this definition.

According to the FTC website there are a wide variety of actions that are prohibited, including the following:

  • Unfair practices. A debt collector must act fairly and legally when attempting to collect a debt from you. Examples of prohibited unfair practices include attempts to collect additional amounts that are not permitted by law or contract, depositing post-dated checks early, threatening to seize your property when it cannot be done legally, or contacting the consumer regarding the debt by postcard or other public means.
  • Harassment. A debt collector is prohibited from threatening violence, using profane language or repeatedly calling you in an effort to annoy you into making a payment. Also, a collector cannot threaten to add you to a published list of people who have refused to pay their debts.
  • False statements. A debt collector is prohibited from lying about who they are or who they work for. They must tell you the truth regarding the amount that you owe and actions they will take against you. It is unlawful for the collector to claim that you have committed a crime by not paying your debt. The documents that a debt collector sends to you must also be true and correct. Any information provided by the collector to a third-party, such as a credit reporting bureau, must be true.

Dealing with debt collectors can be stressful. If you believe you are being illegally harassed or you are ready to take action to handle your debt, let us help. We can review your individual financial situation and help you understand all of the debt relief options available to you.

If you have questions about filing for bankruptcy protection, we have the answers. Call us today to schedule your initial consultation. Our office is located in Melbourne, but we proudly serve individuals and businesses across the State of Florida.

What you need to know about Auto Loan Deficiency Balances

auto loan pic

If you are delinquent on your vehicle loan or your case has been seized and auctioned off, it is time to seek legal help. We can review your individual circumstances and help you understand all of the debt relief options available to you. The quicker you contact us, the sooner we can provide you with the help you need.

What is a deficiency balance?

You are probably aware that your vehicle starts to lose its value as soon as you drive it off of the dealer’s lot. Thus, when your auto lender repossesses your care and sells it, the proceeds from the sale are rarely enough to pay the full amount of what you owe on the loan. This means that there is a deficiency balance left due and you are usually still obligated to pay it.

How does the auto auction work?

Each state has its own laws governing how secured lenders can sell repossessed collateral. Generally speaking, the lender is typically required to provide you with a written notification that your car will be sold. The notice will list the date, time and location of the auction or other type of sale. The borrower should also be informed of whether he or she will remain liable for any remaining deficiency balance, as well as how the borrower can find out how much is still owed on the loan.

Asset sales can be private or open to the public. A private sale is conducted for certain parties who the lender believes will be interested in buying the collateral being sold, while a public sale is open to anyone. Private sales are only allowed in certain circumstances, but many cars are routinely sold at private sales to auto dealers. If the sale notification fails to inform you of the date or location of the sale, you should contact the lender and request that the information be given to you. A borrower has the right to attend either type of sale of his or her own vehicle.

What does “commercially reasonable” mean?

The lender must sell a repossessed vehicle in a ‘commercially reasonable’ manner. There are numerous interpretations of this standard, but because most car sales are primarily attended by used car dealers, the bids are low and the sales are still considered to be commercially reasonable. This means that most borrowers are left owing a pretty substantial deficiency balance.

How is the deficiency balance calculated?

When the sale has ended and your case has been sold, the sale price is subtracted from the total amount you owe on your vehicle loan. The remaining amount plus the expenses incurred by the lender in seizing, storing and selling the vehicle are added together for the total deficiency balance.

If you have questions about your auto loan or a deficiency balance, we have the answers. Call us today to schedule your initial consultation. Our office is located in Melbourne, but we proudly serve individuals and businesses across the State of Florida.

Contact Us For A Free Consultation





captcha


css.php