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Archive for the ‘Debt Collection’ Category

Settling Debt with Your Creditors After a Hardship

November 30th, 2020 at 12:01 pm

bankruptcyLife can be unpredictable. Life can be messy and complicated. And, sometimes, the worst things that can happen to us are completely out of our control. But what do you do when the messy, unpredictable, and complicated lead to financial problems? How do you turn things around and regain control of your financial future? The answer really depends on where you are in the debt collection process. While some may be able to find a viable bankruptcy alternative, others may need more aggressive action. The following information may be able to help you in determining your best course of action for settling debt with creditors.

Creditor Harassment with No Negative Actions

If you have only just started being hounded by your creditors and have not yet received any notice of wage garnishment, tax or property liens, bank seizures, home foreclosure, or any other negative actions against you, you may be able to negotiate a repayment plan with your creditors. But, because not all creditors are willing to work with consumers, and because they have no incentive to actually help you, it may take the assistance of a skilled attorney to resolve the matter before things escalate.

Liens, Levies, Wage Garnishment, Foreclosure, and Other Negative Actions

If matters have already started to spiral out of control and you are facing negative actions, such as a tax lien or levy, wage garnishment, home foreclosure, vehicle repossession, or bank account seizure, resolving the issue can be a little more complicated. In some situations, a lawyer may be able to assist you with a negotiation that can keep you from further actions. If, however, the process has already begun, your only option may be to file bankruptcy.

Stopping Negative Actions and Creditor Harassment Through Bankruptcy

Deciding to file for bankruptcy is not an easy decision. Moreover, it is not an option that works for everyone. However, if you have recently faced a hardship and are experiencing excessive stress and anxiety over the constant harassment from creditors or are about to lose your home, vehicle, or wages, it may be the solution that can help you turn things around. There are several types of bankruptcy, and your attorney can help you determine which one is the best fit for your unique circumstances.

Contact a Texas Bankruptcy Lawyer

At the Law Offices of Chance M. McGhee, we have been helping clients resolve their debt problems for over 20 years. A skilled and experienced San Antonio bankruptcy law firm, we can examine your current financial situation to help you determine the debt solution that may be most appropriate for you. If bankruptcy is the appropriate step, we can represent you in your case and take immediate action to stop creditor harassment and other negative actions against you. Take control of your financial future today. Call us at 210-342-3400 to schedule your free initial consultation.

 

Sources:

https://www.thebalance.com/six-ways-to-avoid-bankruptcy-960626

http://www.uscourts.gov/services-forms/bankruptcy/bankruptcy-basics/discharge-bankruptcy-bankruptcy-basics

Bankruptcy and Debt Solutions: How Can I Find a Reputable Credit Counselor?

October 28th, 2020 at 9:03 pm

TX bankrupcy attorney, Texas debt lawyer, Whether you are planning on filing for bankruptcy or simply need assistance in developing a budget, credit counselors can provide you with the tools and resources you need. Unfortunately, not all credit counselors are created equal. In fact, some can leave you worse off than when you started, which makes finding an experienced, reputable credit counselor absolutely essential for your financial future. The following tips can help you find the one most suited for your needs and preferences and improve your chances of finding the financial empowerment you are looking for.

Know Why You Need a Credit Counselor

Each credit counseling agency and provider has an area in which they are best equipped to help their clients. With this in mind, it is critical that you first know why you need credit counseling. To find the answer, consider your goals and examine your current financial situation. If you are filing for bankruptcy, then you will also want to ensure you find a credit counselor that is approved by the United States Department of Justice since those who are not accredited will not be accepted by the courts.

Check and Verify Credentials and Qualifications

While credit counselors that are listed on the Department of Justice’s website most likely carry some of the highest levels of certification and meet some of the most stringent government standards, it is necessary that you check and verify the credentials and qualifications of all other credit counselors. The National Foundation for Credit Counseling and the Financial Counseling Association of America are both renowned agencies that ensure the quality of certified professionals, but the Council of Accreditation is also a reliable accreditation held by qualified credit counselors. You may also wish to check the agency’s rating with the Better Business Bureau to determine if they have any major complaints from other consumers.

Exercise Patience and Due Diligence

When you are dealing with debt issues, it can be easy to get in a rush. You want to finally be free, to feel like you are making some sort of progress, but this is not the time for impatience or hurried decisions. Many consumers spend weeks, months, or even years working with a credit counselor to fully resolve their debt. If you are not working with someone who has your best interests in mind, that can mean a significant amount of wasted time and money, and it could even hurt you in the long run. Take your time, be patient, and practice due diligence so that you can find a credit counselor that best suits your needs.

A Bexar County, TX Debt Management and Bankruptcy Lawyer Can Help

Whether you are looking to file for bankruptcy or need help finding an alternative path, the Law Offices of Chance M. McGhee can help. As a skilled consumer bankruptcy attorney, Attorney Chance McGhee has more than 25 years of experience in assisting consumers and small businesses with their debt and bankruptcy issues. Put your debt problems behind you. Call 210-342-3400 to schedule your free initial consultation with our knowledgeable San Antonio bankruptcy attorney today.

 

Sources:

https://www.nfcc.org/what-we-offer/bankruptcy-counseling/

https://fcaa.org/bankruptcy-counseling/

https://www.justice.gov/ust/list-credit-counseling-agencies-approved-pursuant-11-usc-111

How Should I Handle Creditor Harassment After a Bankruptcy Filing?

October 15th, 2020 at 8:39 pm

TX bankrutpcy attorney, Texas bankruptcy lawyerWhen you file for bankruptcy, you are granted an automatic stay on most of your debts. Essentially, this means your creditors cannot contact you or attempt to collect the debt. What happens, though, if the creditor keeps calling and harassing you through the mail, at your work, or at your home? Rest assured: you can enforce the protections that bankruptcy offers.

When Contact Is a Genuine Oversight

All creditors know (or should know) that a bankruptcy filing means they must cease all contact with you, as the debtor. As such, most who violate this rule have simply done so due to an oversight. Perhaps they did not remove your name from the system properly, or they have not received the paperwork yet that notifies them of your filing. In any case, it is important that you not overreact or panic during the initial contact from a creditor. Instead, simply inform them that you have filed for bankruptcy and politely refer them to your attorney.

If the contact was made by phone, document the date and time of the call, the agent’s name and extension number (if applicable), and the creditor’s name and phone number. If the contact was by mail, copy or scan the mailing (after you have written a response that indicates your bankruptcy filing and your attorney’s number). This information gives you proof of contact and ensures you can take action if the contact continues or escalates.

When Your Notice Is Ignored

If you have already notified a creditor of your bankruptcy filing and have referred them to your attorney, and they still call or otherwise attempt to contact you, it is time to take the next step. Again, you should document the contact, but this time, forward the information to your attorney. Let your lawyer know that you have already notified the creditor of your filing and that you have provided them with the attorney’s number. From there, your attorney will likely contact the creditor and let them know they are in violation of the stay order.

If the creditor continues to contact you, even after you have spoken with your attorney, do not lose your temper. Instead, let your lawyer know the dates and times of the phone calls or letters. If necessary, he or she can summon the creditor to court. At the very least, the creditor may be reprimanded and instructed by the judge not to contact you. Some may also be subject to fines and/or punitive damages. Your attorney can walk you through the process and your options.

Contact a Texas Bankruptcy Lawyer

Filing for bankruptcy is not an easy decision. Creditor harassment after you file does not make it any easier. Thankfully, you can have the Law Offices of Chance M. McGhee on your side. Dedicated to protecting your best interest, our experienced San Antonio bankruptcy attorney can take quick and effective action to stop creditor harassment. Because we care about your future, we even provide guidance on how to make the most of your new start. Get the quality representation you deserve. Call 210-342-3400 and schedule your free consultation with us today.

 

Sources:

https://www.forbes.com/sites/christopherelliott/2018/07/18/how-to-protect-yourself-from-debt-collectors-and-debt-collection-scams/

https://www.thebalance.com/when-creditors-do-not-stop-calling-after-bankruptcy-4156787

Creditor Harassment after Bankruptcy

May 31st, 2019 at 6:26 pm

TX bankruptcy attorneyMaking the decision to file for bankruptcy is not an easy one. For the most part, bankruptcy is entered as a last resort when no other options have worked to help you get out of debt. Once you enter into the bankruptcy process, your creditors — or the people you owe money to — are no longer permitted by law to continue to try to collect on your debt. This does not stop some creditors — some continue to try to collect on debts. More often than not, when a creditor contacts you after you have filed for bankruptcy, it is a simple mistake. In some situations, creditors may continue a second or third time to collect on your debt — this is when you may be able to take legal action against your creditor for illegal harassment.

The Automatic Stay

The moment you file your bankruptcy case, something called the automatic stay goes into effect. The automatic stay is a federal injunction that prohibits creditors, collection agencies and government entities from attempting to collect on most debts. The automatic stay prevents creditors from:

  • Calling you;
  • Sending you letters, texts or emails;
  • Seeking a judgment against you;
  • Foreclosing on your home;
  • Garnishing your wages; or
  • Repossessing your property.

When you file for bankruptcy, you are required to list all entities that you are indebted to. When you file for bankruptcy, the court clerk will send a notice of bankruptcy to all of your listed creditors within 24 to 48 hours. Once your creditors receive that notice, they are officially required to suspend collection activities.

What You Can Do

If you are still being harassed about your debts after you have filed for bankruptcy or your debts have been discharged, there are things you can and should do.

 

  • Inform your debt collector of the bankruptcy. In most cases, collection attempts are made before the creditor is aware that you filed for bankruptcy. Though the court clerk is required to send the notice of bankruptcy 24 to 48 hours after you file, the notice is typically sent through the mail, which can take up to 10 days in some cases. Before you take more drastic measures, inform the debt collector that you have filed for bankruptcy and ask them not to call you anymore.
  • Keep notes about collection attempts. If your creditor attempts to contact you in any way, try to keep notes about their collection efforts. If they call you, write down the time and date of the call, the representative’s name and contact information and what they say to you. If you receive letters in the mail, keep the letters. These records may be used as evidence in a lawsuit against your creditor if necessary.
  • Hire a bankruptcy attorney. In most cases, after you inform your creditor that you have filed for bankruptcy, they will not contact you again. If you have a creditor who will not stop harassing you about your debt, you may need to hire a bankruptcy lawyer. A lawyer who is experienced in bankruptcy law will be able to help you file a lawsuit against a creditor who will not stop collection activities.

Contact a New Braunfels, TX Bankruptcy Lawyer for Help With

According to the United States Bankruptcy Code, you have the right to take legal action against creditors who repeatedly attempt to collect on debts during the automatic stay or after your debts are discharged. If you are being harassed by creditors, the Law Offices of Chance M. McGhee are ready to help. Our knowledgeable Kerrville bankruptcy attorneys will make sure your rights are protected and will take legal action against your creditors, if necessary. To schedule a free consultation, call our office today at 210-342-3400.

 

Sources:

https://wallethub.com/edu/d/automatic-stay/25548/

https://www.thebalance.com/when-creditors-do-not-stop-calling-after-bankruptcy-4156787

https://www.consumerfinance.gov/ask-cfpb/can-a-debt-collector-try-to-collect-on-a-debt-that-was-discharged-in-bankruptcy-en-1425/

Strategies to Avoid Credit Card Debt

July 17th, 2015 at 10:13 am

Texas bankruptcy attorney, Texas chapter 7 lawyer, Texas chapter 13 attorney,Credit can be a helpful tool when a person faces unexpected financial hardship, but it is also a major contributor to many Americans’ debts. The convenience of credit and bonus offers from credit card companies motivate many consumers to spend out of their budget.

By understanding how to manage credit cards responsibly, it is possible to avoid the stress and uncertainty that come with insurmountable debt. Read on to learn three strategies to avoid credit card debt.

Keep Diligent Records of What You Spend

Online shopping has made it particularly easy to overindulge with credit cards. People can spend thousands with the click of a few buttons.

According to the Federal Trade Commission, one of the best ways to avoid serious debt from online spending with credit is to keep a record of purchases. This will help you understand how much credit spending is affecting your finances.

Do Not Spend More than Half of Your Credit Card Limit

As a general rule, you should never spend more than half of your credit limit. This will ensure that you have credit available in a financial emergency. It can also prevent compulsive spending.

When Dealing with Debt Collection Efforts, Always Keep a Record

Collection agencies love to harass debtors who have outstanding balances. They often call debtors several times each day to request payments.

Even if you are in collections, it is important to understand that you still have rights. There are laws that limit the strategies collection agencies can use to recover payments. Be sure to keeping a record of your communications with debt collectors to protect your rights.

If outstanding credit card debt has become too much for you to handle, call an experienced San Antonio bankruptcy attorney. At the Law Offices of Chance M. McGhee, we can evaluate your situation and create a debt-relief plan. This may involve chapter 7 or 13 bankruptcy, or a bankruptcy alternative. To get started, call our office today at 210-342-3400 for a free initial consultation.

Tips for Dealing with Debt Collectors

April 24th, 2015 at 9:53 am

Texas bankruptcy attorney, overdue bills, Texas chapter 7 lawyer, As anyone with experience can relate, debt collectors can make life stressful. The sound of a ringing phone is enough to cause anxiety, and although some collectors may be easier to work with, their persistent efforts can feel overwhelming.

Many debtors are surprised to find out that there may be several options available to help them climb out of debt. Some of these can stop the actions of collections agencies almost immediately. In the meantime, here are three tips for dealing with collector calls:

Answer the Phone

According to Creditcards.com, one of the most important steps when dealing with debt collectors is to be responsible and answer the phone. It is equally important to respond to any written notices. Even if the debt seems like it is not yours, do not let it stagnate. Ignoring calls and attempts to contact you can hurt your ability to work out a payment arrangement.

Note the Details of Each Call

There are several laws governing what collection agencies can and cannot do. It is important to take notes about each call just in case the collector is breaking the law. While on the phone, you should jot down:

  • The name of the collection agency;
  • The name of the agent you spoke with;
  • What time of day he or she called you;
  • The total balance owed;
  • Payment dates;
  • Any threatening or abusive language; and
  • Contact information.

If a collection agency has knowingly violated consumer laws, it may be required to pay you money. The only way to prove inexcusable activities, however, is to keep proper records of each conversation and transaction.

Do Not Agree to Payments You Cannot Make

The offer of scheduling a payment just to stop the calls seems tempting — even if you are not sure you can afford it. However, you should not make empty promises with debt collectors. Your credit report may show missed payments. It is better to ask the collector to call you another time when you have reviewed your finances fully and can schedule a realistic payment.

If you would like to end creditor harassment or inquire about other debt relief strategies including bankruptcy, contact an experienced San Antonio bankruptcy attorney. Call the Law Offices of Chance M. McGhee at 210-342-3400 for a free initial consultation.

Should I Use Savings to Pay Off Debt?

February 24th, 2015 at 12:22 pm

savings to pay off debt, San Antonio debt relief lawyerMaking ends meet when facing steep amounts of debt can be a struggle—especially if you have a family. The truth, however, is that most Americans are in some kind of debt, which often involves expensive mortgages, high-interest credit cards, or student loans.

Many Americans want to end the burden of debt as soon as possible, which is why some of them dip into their savings accounts to pay off lenders. This article will discuss whether or not this is a smart idea.

Weighing the Options

According to U.S. News, one way to reach a decision as to whether or not to pull money out of a savings account is to analyze the long-term effects of debt interest. If the overall interest rate will end up costing you more money in the future, making payments with savings may be a smart decision.

Making minimum payments can feel like an easy way to manage large debts, but it is a healthy practice to pay as much as reasonably possible. In addition to reducing the term of your debt repayment plan, this practice may improve your credit score. In this vein, using savings to make extra payments might wise.

However, some people’s lifestyles and financial goals do not allow them to use their savings. For example, young graduates who want to own a home must save for a down payment. With the average student loan debt exceeding $29,000, some graduates may wish to purchase a home before completing payments.

In other cases, parents have children who will graduate high school soon, and they want to save money to afford college tuition. In this instance, maintaining a healthy savings account may be a smart idea.

Bankruptcy Lawyer in San Antonio, Texas

If you are facing steep amounts of debt and would like to speak with an experienced San Antonio bankruptcy attorney about your options, contact the Law Offices of Chance M. McGhee for a free consultation at 210-342-3400.

How to Deal with the Debt of a Deceased Family Member in Texas

January 9th, 2015 at 9:22 am

debt of a deceased family member, San Antonio bankruptcy lawyerA death in the family is always a difficult time for loved ones. Add to that the financial costs of a funeral, and times of mourning can become even more challenging.

If the deceased has debt, it is important to know if relatives are responsible for paying creditors. When a person leaves behind debt from credit cards and other sources, it may be wise to contact a bankruptcy attorney for guidance.

No two debt cases are alike. If the debt was from an account that a living relative owned, the debt will be theirs to pay regardless of the situation. Debt from joint accounts and co-signed loans may also transfer to living relatives.

Selling Off Assets

When a person dies, it is common to sell assets to pay for debts. In some cases, though, the value of the deceased’s assets is not enough to cover the debt. In these cases, it may be wise to consult a bankruptcy attorney to discuss the options.

Talking with Creditors

In many cases, it makes sense to have an honest and open conversation with the deceased’s creditors about the situation. Some creditors may choose to reduce the amount owed—depending on the value of the debt—in the event that the debtor passes away.

Dealing with Debt in Texas

The process of paying off a deceased relative’s debt in Texas may seem complicated—and in many cases, it is. Community property law stipulates that relatives may have to pay the debt of a deceased family member.

It is important to remember that every situation is unique. For this reason, the guidance of a family attorney may prove invaluable.

If you are struggling to pay debt and would like to discuss your situation with a lawyer, contact the Law Offices of Chance M. McGhee at 210-342-3400. Mr. McGhee is an experienced San Antonio bankruptcy attorney, and he may be able to help you reach financial stability and end harassment from creditors. Call us today for a free initial consultation.

Federal Rules Debt Collectors Must Follow

November 27th, 2014 at 1:00 pm

debt collectors in San Antonio, Texas bankruptcy lawyerWhen a person owes a defaulted amount on an account, such as a credit card or prior utility bill, the company who the original debt is owed to will often “charge off” that debt after a certain period of time has gone by. Someone who is struggling with overwhelming debt may have multiple accounts which have been declared charge offs by the original creditor.

There are certain guidelines a creditor must follow before they can charge off an account. If the account is an installment loan (such as an auto loan or mortgage), then the delinquency must be at least 120 days past due. If the account is a revolving credit account (such as a credit card), then the delinquency must be at least 180 days past due.

At this point, the creditor has three options for debt collection for the account. The company can continue to pursue collection themselves; they can hire a third-party collection agency to continue collection activity; or they can sell the debt to a debt buying company. Debt buying companies purchase debt portfolio from creditors and any funds then collected on the debt belong to the debt buyer.

Regardless of what option a creditor decides on, there are federal rules that have been established that a debt collector must follow. These rules were established under the Fair Debt Collection Practices Act (FDCPA) and include:

  • A debt collector must sent a written notice within five days of the first initial telephone contact which validates the amount of the debt owed;
  • Debt collection may only take place between the hours of 8:00 a.m. and 9:00 p.m.;
  • A debt collector may not contact a person at their workplace if they have been told either orally or in writing not to do so;
  • A debt collector must stop contacting a person if the person sends a certified letter to the debt collection telling them to stop all contact. The only exception to that contact would be the debt collector acknowledging the no-contact letter and/or contacting the person to let them know they will be filing a lawsuit or other activity;
  • If a person is represented by an attorney, then the debt collector must contact the attorney and not the person who owes the debt; or
  • Debt collectors may not harass, make threats, or make false statements in order to intimidate or scare a person into paying the debt.

If bankruptcy seems like a viable option for your financial situation, contact the Law Offices of Chance M. McGhee. San Antonio, Texas bankruptcy lawyer, Mr. McGhee has helped clients over the past 20 years regain control of their financial lives. Call the law firm at 210-342-3400.

Can Chapter 13 Bankruptcy Lead to a More Financially Stable Life?

October 15th, 2014 at 7:40 am

Chapter 13 bankruptcy Texas, San Antonio bankruptcy lawyerMany individuals and business owners wrongly attach a negative connotation to the word “bankruptcy.” While it is true that those who choose to file bankruptcy may be facing dire financial situations, the process should not be viewed as an inherently bad decision. Instead, debtors should view bankruptcy as an opportunity to develop a financial plan that leads to financial stability.

Though large companies are required by law to hire a bankruptcy attorney, individuals have the choice of filing alone. While there are standard laws in place for the bankruptcy process, every case is different. For this reason, it is often wise to hire an experienced bankruptcy lawyer to review the case and identify the best approach to filing.

Chapter 13 Bankruptcy Provides a Path to Financial Freedom

Chapter 13 bankruptcy differs from other chapters as it allows the debtor to restructure the debt they owe rather than liquidating assets. After submitting the initial petition to file for bankruptcy, the debtor, court, and trustee will develop a practical and comprehensive payment plan.

An important part of the bankruptcy process is what is referred to as “debtor education.” This is a special program that all applicants must attend. It not only covers some financial basics, but it also explores alternatives to bankruptcy, which may be helpful if the plan does not work out for the debtor.

While there are several reasons a person can end up with high amounts of debt, some debt is purely accidental and the result of not understanding how debt and credit work. Credit counseling and debtor education aim to remedy this issue.

The benefits of filing Chapter 13 bankruptcy extend beyond education. For example, according to the U.S. Courts website, filers may not face foreclosure of their homes.

If bankruptcy seems like a viable option for your financial situation, contact the Law Offices of Chance M. McGhee. As an experienced San Antonio, Texas bankruptcy attorney, Mr. McGhee has helped clients over the past 20 years regain control of their finances. Call our law firm today at 210-342-3400.

 

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210-342-3400

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