One of the important steps in filing a Chapter 7 bankruptcy is to provide your attorney with all the information you can find about the debts that you owe. Normally this is done by giving your attorney all of the bills in your mailbox. Whether an original creditor, a debt collector or a collections attorney, your attorney needs all the names, addresses, account numbers and balances that you can find.
One of the most frequent questions I have been asked in my 15 years (so far) of representing consumers as a bankruptcy attorney is some variation of the below:
• Will I never be able to get credit again?
• Will bankruptcy filing trash my credit permanently?
• Won’t I be better off signing up with a debt management service, rather than filing for bankruptcy protection?
• But my parents told me that only crooks file for bankruptcy….
Consumers who are overwhelmed with debt have two options in Bankruptcy Court. The most popular option by far is Chapter 7, where the consumer’s debts are eliminated without a repayment plan. But Chapter 13 is also a powerful tool for adjusting your debts over a three-to-five year time frame. Which one is right for you?
Chapter 7 Bankruptcy is a powerful tool which can eliminate consumer debt, stop debt collection lawsuits in their tracks and allow debt-strapped consumers to open their mail and answer their phones again.
One of the most persistent questions which arises in a Chapter 7 bankruptcy is what to with secured creditors whose debts are secured by the debtor’s property. In such cases, the secured creditor is likely to pressure the Chapter 7 debtor into signing a “reaffirmation agreement.”
The Supreme Court unanimously decided today that denial of confirmation is not a final, appealable, order. Bullard v. Blue Hills Bank, 575 U.S. ___, No. 14-116 (U.S. May 4, 2015).
When a consumer collections lawsuit is filed by a junk debt buyer, there are two proper courts where the lawsuit can be filed – either 1) a court where the consumer signed the original note which the lawsuit was based upon, or 2) a court where the consumer resides at the time lawsuit was filed. The federal Fair Debt Collection Practices Act ( or “FDCPA” for short) gives consumers powerful rights if the collections lawsuit is filed in some other court, including the right to recover up to $1,000 in statutory damages.
WE GOT THEM TO PAY OUR CLIENTS!
My clients here in Cleveland, Ohio, were sued by a Cincinnati debt collection law firm on behalf of a “Care Credit” credit card they had opened up. Due to health reasons and a loss of income, they had defaulted on their credit card payments. Care Credit then sold the debt to a collection agency called Asset Acceptance. Fortunately for them, instead of ignoring the lawsuit, they came to see me, and we started to defend the lawsuit. The law firm, Greene & Cooper, represented Asset Acceptance, which is a huge buyer of defaulted credit card debts. In summary, the Plaintiff in the lawsuit (the person bringing the lawsuit) was not Care Credit, but Asset Acceptance.