Articles Posted in Credit Cards

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Bankruptcy, Honesty, Oath, PerjuryWhen filing for bankruptcy, it is very important to be very honest and disclose everything. If you do not, you risk having your bankruptcy denied, discharge revoked or even prison time in the worst case scenario. When you sign your bankruptcy documents, you are doing so swearing that they are true under penalty of perjury. If the trustee finds out that something you have in your schedules is incomplete or untrue, this will raise a red flag and the trustee will scrutinize your bankruptcy schedules even more.

A common way that people fail to disclose everything in bankruptcy is trying to hide assets. Debtors might leave off a gold watch or a private bank account. This is a big mistake. When filing for bankruptcy, you must list all of your assets. Even if you think an asset is inconsequential or minute, you should list it. It is better to have overkill than to raise a red flag.

Another thing debtors sometimes fail to list is creditors that happen to be friends or relatives. Or maybe the debtor does not want a specific creditor to know that they have filed for bankruptcy, so they do not want to list that creditor. You should not do this. You need to list all creditors to whom you currently owe any kind of debt on your bankruptcy papers. The trustee wants to make sure that all of your creditors get their fair share of your estate. No matter your intentions, make sure to list every creditor. If you do not and the trustee finds out, this will raise a red flag.

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Jeffrey Summers, of Taft, California, and Stafan Miller, of Santa Clara, California, perpetrated a scam upon multiple creditors. They formed Maxwell, Turner & Associates, a collection services company who employed around 20 people. From February 2009 until May 2010, their company did not deliver on their promises to clients. Summer and Miller would provide false information about legal proceedings and tell their creditor clients wrong contact information for debtors. Also, if the company did collect any money from debtors, it would not pass this money along to the appropriate creditor. Instead, the two would pocket the money. The scheme took in more than $2.7 million.

Summers was convicted for conspiracy to commit mail fraud and sentenced to 8 years in federal prison. Miller was ordered to serve 6 years and 9 months for conspiracy to commit mail fraud and money laundering. The two have also been ordered to repay $1,311,700 in restitution to the victims of their fraudulent scheme.

If you feel that you have been defrauded in any financial situation, you should speak with a Jacksonville Consumer Law Attorney to see if a remedy this available for you.

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Filing for bankruptcy can be very confusing for those trying to go it alone. As an in-depth legal process, it is greatly beneficial to have a Jacksonville Bankruptcy Attorney to help you navigate your way through a successful bankruptcy. Here are some reasons why:

1. There are many calculations that must be done correctly. To file for bankruptcy, you must first know which Chapter you qualify for, a Chapter 7, 13, 11 or 12. One step to figuring it out is by completing a Means Test. This is complex thing to do. You must know things which deductions you can use for food, clothing, personal care, health care, housing, and many more. You’ll need to how the allowances for vehicles work and what involuntary deductions you can take. You must know how to list future debt payments correctly. And the list goes on and on. Without the proper knowledge and skill, this can be very difficult to do right the first time. If you do not do this correctly, the court could dismiss your case without a discharge, penalize you with fines or in rare cases, even send you to jail. Hiring a Jacksonville Bankruptcy Attorney would be beneficial because someone with knowledge and experience would be handling these issues, taking the stress off of you.

2. Another daunting task is drafting a Chapter 13 Plan. This Plan is very important, as it outlines your responsibilities over a three to five year period. You must know which creditors get paid, how much is required to go to unsecured creditors, and how to allocate the Trustee’s portion. You want to make sure that you get all the benefits you can through your Plan. It is not the job of the Court or Trustee to watch out for your interest, it is there job to be sure that the code is being applied properly.

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Is your credit card company driving you crazy? Think they are trying to rip you off or aren’t taking your complaints seriously? The Dodd-Frank Act created the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau (CFPB), an agency to whom you can voice concerns regarding your credit card companies. Since their opening in July 2011, the office has fielded more than 5,000 consumer complaints. Some of the most common complaints dealt with collection practices, debt protection services, account closures, identification theft, fraud, and fees.

After a complaint is filed, the CFPB acts as a go-between in order to resolve the issue between you and your credit card company. So far, approximately three quarters of the complaints have been either partially or fully resolved by the credit card company. The rest are either still under review or there was no relief found.

Consumers can submit their complaints either online with Consumer Finance’s Government Site or by calling 855-411-CFPB (855-411-2372). In the near future, CFPB will be fielding complaints for all kinds of consumer financial products, including mortgages and other loans.

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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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