Articles Posted in Credit Cards

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Christmas, Hanukkah, Kwanza, Holidays, BankruptcyJacksonville bankruptcy filings are always down from November through February and the reason is obvious: the holidays are upon us and no one wants to file bankruptcy during the holidays.

The problem with the delay is that despite the fact that people are in debt, they are still obliged to buy gifts. 11 U.S.C. § 523 lists various, “Exceptions to Discharge” which include under (c)(i)(I) any, “luxury goods or services incurred… …within 90 days]” of the day of filing over $500 in value and any “cash advances aggregating more than $750… ….within 70 days of filing. There is an exception for goods and services that are reasonably necessary for the support or maintenance of the debtor or debtor’s dependents. Presents, even though traditional, are likely to be considered a luxury unless especially modest. These purchases just prior to filing would be non-dischargable in the bankruptcy causing debtors to enter life after the bankruptcy already in debt again.

Purchases made without the intent to repay the debt are fraud under 11 U.S.C. § 727(a)(2) which can lead to a denial of discharge (bankruptcy case closed and debts still owed), or even jail time.

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facebook.jpgWith more than 800 million active users, it’s no surprise that creditors are using the social networking site to contact debtors in attempts to collect monies owed. One Florida woman from St. Petersburg Florida received a friend request from a creditor using a fake name. Once she accepted that request her telephone number and ‘friends’ contacts were made available to the creditor who then contacted her family regarding her debts.

Similarly, a Chicago case dealt with a man who was ‘friended’ on Facebook by a young woman in a bikini. Once he accepted her request she posted on his public wall, “Pay your debts, you deadbeat.”

Although these situations were found to be violations of the Florida Consumer Collection Protection Act (FCCPA), that hasn’t stopped creditors completely. A report out of Great Britain has shown that their Office of Fair Trading is now working to implement laws to protect debtors from creditors taking the same actions in their country. A 59% increase in new complaints about debt collecting has been reported, some of which is probably linked to Facebook activities.

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Debt can be classified as secured, unsecured, or priority. A secured debt is one that is collateralized by property. This means that if you default on the debt, the creditor can take the property that secures the loan. Your mortgage loan is probably secured by your home. Your auto loan is probably secured by your auto.

An unsecured debt is when you make a promise to repay the debt, but the debt is not secured by any collateral. If you default on the promise, the creditor cannot take your property without obtaining a judgment.

A priority debt is a debt that is entitled to repayment ahead of other debts that you owe. Taxes and some attorney fees are priority debts. A list of priority debts can be found in 11 U.S.C. §507.

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Most debts are dischargeable in bankruptcy. However, there are a few debts that are not:

1. Debts arising from fraudulent conduct 2. Government-backed student loans (unless severe hardship can be shown)

3. Debts stemming from death or personal injuries related to your operation of a motor vehicle while intoxicated 4. Certain taxes and fines 5. Some debts not listed on your bankruptcy 6. Domestic support obligations (alimony, child support, etc.)

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The Fair Credit Reporting Act (FCRA) was originally enacted in 1970, and was amended in 2003. It applied to consumer reporting agencies, which are companies that collect and distribute information about people’s credit. Under the FCRA, consumer reporting agencies must provide you, upon your request, with a free copy of your credit report once per year. This is so you can verify the information contained in your credit report and dispute anything that disagree with. You can request your free report via phone, mail, or www.annualcreditreport.com. The FCRA also dictates how long negative information can be retained on your credit report. This is usually seven years, though bankruptcies stay for ten years.

If you feel that you have an issue with your credit report, contact a Jacksonville Consumer Law Attorney today at 904-685-1200.

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The Fair Debt Collection Practices Act (FDCPA), as amended in 2006, is a federal law that outlines some practices that are illegal for debt collectors to employ. The purpose of the Act is to eliminate abusive debt collection practice by debt collectors. Here are some highlights of the Act, though this list is not exhaustive:

A debt collectors may not:

1. Use or threat to use violence to harm your physical person, reputation, or property

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No, there is not a minimum amount of debt that you must have in order to file a bankruptcy. You can file with any amount owed to any creditor. However, you will want to analyze whether a bankruptcy is in your financial best interest. Meaning that if you have a very low amount of debt with only a few creditors, it may be in your best interest to negotiate with those creditors to try to lower your amount due to them. A Jacksonville Bankruptcy Attorney can possibly negotiate a debt settlement with your creditors for you. If the creditor has already filed a lawsuit against you, the Jacksonville Bankruptcy Attorney can defend the suit on your behalf and try to reach an amicable solution between you and your creditor.

Contact a Jacksonville Bankruptcy Attorney at 904-685-1200 today for all your consumer law needs!

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After the death of a friend or loved one, it can be very confusing what to do with their finances. When an individual dies, sometimes the debt they leave behind must be paid by their estate, other times it does not. If the deceased had a co-signer on a debt, then that co-signer is still legally responsible for that debt. In some states, a spouse may also still be liable for certain debts such as health care expenses.

Oftentimes, a relative is NOT liable for the debts of the deceased. But a creditor may call you and imply that you are responsible or try and guilt you into paying. This may be illegal and our Jacksonville Consumer Law Attorney may be able to make the creditor stop their collection activities against you and sue the creditor for any damages.

Before you pay for these debts, contact a Jacksonville Consumer Law Attorney to discuss if you must pay the debt or not.

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Famous singer Toni Braxton filed for relief under Chapter 7 Bankruptcy in September of 2010, listing luxurious personal property items, such as a Porsche, lavish household contents, and expensive jewelry. She claimed around $1.6 million in assets. The judge in her case has now granted her a discharge. This means that she will no longer be liable for certain debts. This is her second bankruptcy preceding since 1998.

To see what assets of yours you would get to keep after filing for bankruptcy, contact a Jacksonville Bankruptcy Attorney today to discuss your specific situation.

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If you receive a summons from a collection agency, you have two options: respond or do not respond. If you do not respond, you will get a default judgment against you. This opens you up for garnishments or liens on your property. The better option is to respond to the complaint filed against you. This will give you the opportunity to defend yourself and/or negotiate a settlement. You only have a certain amount of time to respond to the summons, so you must do so in a timely manner. The time limit that you have should be listed on your summons, it is usually between 21 and 30 days.

If you have received a summons and would like to speak with Jacksonville Bankruptcy Attorney call 904-685-1200 today.

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