Articles Posted in Creditor Harassment

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Blocked Calls, Creditors, Bankruptcy, DebtThis attorney is getting a lesson on just how annoying having creditors call you can be -and they aren’t even my creditors.

Although I’ve had the same telephone number for over two years, creditors have started to call me looking for a person who I’ll refer to as, “Tony Doe”. Tony apparently gave his telephone number to multiple creditors long ago and has only recently fallen on hard times. Now I am receiving phone messages from a blocked number asking me to call a collection company with my reference number. They were sure to remind me in the message that, “You are now on notice.” Even if I were Tony, I don’t think being “on notice” has any legal relevance, though it was declared in a threatening tone. They left me this message despite the fact that my voice mail states that I am Attorney and who I am.

I quickly dialed the number back and was put on hold, when they finally got back to me I gave them the reference number and explained that I was not Tony Doe but could they please give him my phone number when they get a hold of him so that I could help him defend this debt. The creditor then promised that she removed me from their call list, though only time will tell.

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If you want to reaffirm a debt after filing for bankruptcy, your must executed a new agreement with your creditor. This reaffirmation agreement must be written and must be signed by both you and the creditor. Should you sign this reaffirmation agreement? Here are some pros and cons.

Pros

First, if you want to keep the property, you must sign the reaffirmation agreement. Also, if you do sign, you will be certain what your payments will be, what your interest rate is, etc. Signing a reaffirmation agreement may also help rebuild your credit, since you are taking responsibility for a pre-filing debt and are making regular payments on a debt.

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Capital One Bogus Claims Bankruptcy DebtsWhen someone files for bankruptcy protection they don’t expect to have their discharged bills come back to haunt them. Zombie debts are not unheard of, but are rarely seen in the multitude that has been alleged against Capital One by a court-appointed monitor. Some of these debts, including one sought fourteen years after it was discharged, are for thousands of dollars.

Unlike most lenders, Capital One handles most of it’s debt collection internally, rather than outsourcing to collection firms. This may be part of their problem as collection firms are usually well versed in the Fair Debt Collection Practices Act.

Out of the 15,500 bogus claims made by Capital One only about 800 of those borrowers filed lawsuits against the creditor. 130 of these cases were settled without Capital One admitting fault. Not all attorneys will file suit against a creditor for attempting to collect a discharged debt, but it’s important that debtors know that they can. Without the remedy of suing the creditor, there would be little to no use of the bankruptcy court at all.

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As is most legal processes, bankruptcy can be a difficult thing to maneuver. There is a lot of misinformation out there, you need to be careful to get your information from a trusted source. Here are some myths regarding bankruptcy:

Myth 1: If I file for bankruptcy, everyone will know.

Like most legal proceedings, most bankruptcy documents are public record. Since I work at a law firm in the bankruptcy department, I search these records all the time. I even have a special username and password that allows me access online. However, how many times do you think your friends, family, or co-workers search through federal court records? The truth is that while your bankruptcy documents will be public information, it is unlikely that those you know would search to find them.

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Automatic Stay, BankruptcyUpon filing for bankruptcy protection, an automatic stay is put in place. This means that creditors can not try and collect from you. So a creditor cannot call you to request payment, send bills to you, garnish your wages anymore, or repossess your car without court permission. If there is a foreclosure suit against you, that suit must also stop immediately. If your home is sold and you filed prior to the sale, that sale can be vacated. Obviously, this is a powerful tool bankruptcy. Many people file to stop creditors from taking actions against them or their property.

The automatic stay will remain in effect until one of the following things occurs:

1. A creditor petitions the court for relief from automatic stay and the court enters an order granting it;

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Two bankruptcy petition preparers in Wisconsin are in big trouble with the Court, facing possible criminal charges. Jennifer Abbott, who is a disbarred attorney, was cited with contempt by a bankruptcy judge. The Court said that she has violated bankruptcy Court Orders repeatedly and she refused to obey a subpoena issued by the U.S. Trustee’s office. Abbot has also been convicted of felony theft for stealing from a client.

The second bankruptcy petition preparer, Gaynor Morrison, is in trouble for failing to appear in bankruptcy Court when ordered to do so. Also, he was alleged to have been overcharging clients and failed to return fees to clients after being ordered to by the Court.

Bankruptcy petition preparers are non-attorneys who help people file for bankruptcy. Courts and trustees often comment that the petitions or other required documents are flawed when drafted by a bankruptcy petition preparer. If this happens and the case gets dismissed without discharge, people could lose valuable assets or have to pay additional filing fees. Not all bankruptcy petition preparers are unprofessional, but it is best to have a licensed attorney with knowledge of the complexities of the Bankruptcy Code prepare your bankruptcy documents. To contact a Jacksonville Bankruptcy Attorney today, call 904-685-1200.

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The U.S. House of Representatives introduced a new bill, the Mobile Informational Call Act of 2011, that would allow businesses to dial consumers’ cell phones using an automatic dialing system. This practice is oftentimes called “robo-calling”. This means that the operator does not have to manually dial each number. Rather, the computer system can dial the numbers and play a prerecorded message on many phones at once. The current law is that operators have to manually dial the numbers (unless the customer consents to robo-calling), which is not very profitable for many collection agencies.

The down side to this bill would obviously be that creditors would be able to start robo-calling your cellphone. This does not sit well with many consumers. But some creditors say that the current regulations have not kept up with the technology of today, and that a lot of people do not have home phone lines anymore. Creditors are wanting robo-calling access to cell phones.

The upside to the bill, however, is that an airline company could robo-call passengers if a flight was cancelled or is running late. Or your credit card company could set up a system to automatically call you if they think someone is fraudulently using your card. Or your bank could robo-call with a message that someone changed the address or PIN number on your account.

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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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