Seniors Beware – Debt Collectors can be Ruthless
Florida Seniors, please beware of unscrupulous debt collectors; they can be ruthless. Debt collectors routinely call home and on your cell. Many times, they try to embarrass you with letters in red envelopes. Some routinely make calls to friends, children and other family members, neighbors, and even friends on Facebook. All these tricks and dirty antics are to embarrass you into contacting them and agreeing to make a payment or better yet for them allow them to have access to your checking account and automatically debiting the payments from your account. Luckily for seniors and all consumers there are laws to protect from creditor harassment and foul play.
The Fair Debt Collection Practices Act, or FDCPA, is a federal law protecting consumers from abusive collection practices by a third-party collector. Third party collector is not the original creditor, meaning the original company the consumer owes, but a third party collecting on behalf of another. This third party might be a collection agency or attorney who regularly collects debts for clients. Unfortunately, the FDCPA does not apply to the original creditor collecting on their own debt or to business debts. There are certain acts the FDCPA considers abusive and prohibits:
* Calling before 8 a.m. or after 9 p.m. (your time);
* Requesting payment for more than is owed;
* Using obscene, abusive, profane language;
* Threatening legal action which is not permitted by law (e.g. criminal action);
* Calling you at work after being instructed that your employer prohibits personal phone calls;
* Directly contacting you after being informed you are represented by counsel.
The Fair Credit Reporting Act (FCRA) is another federal protection afforded consumers. The FCRA promotes accuracy and ensures privacy of consumer’s information in consumer credit reports. The FCRA outlines a process for a consumer to dispute inaccurate information on your credit report. The FTC is charged with enforcement of both the FDCPA and FCRA.
If you want immediate relief from creditor harassment hire an elder needs bankruptcy attorney. After you hire a bankruptcy attorney that focuses on senior citizens, the next time a creditor or collection agency calls you inform them you have hired counsel and they are to speak to your attorney. While collection efforts can continue such as lawsuits, until a bankruptcy is actually filed with the bankruptcy courts. Once a creditor knows you have retained counsel, they should stop contacting you directly. When the bankruptcy is actually filed, an “automatic stay” goes into effect and all collection efforts are stopped in their tracks, including pending lawsuits, this bankruptcy protection remains in effect during your entire bankruptcy unless the creditor seeks and receives special permission from the bankruptcy court to continue with the collection efforts.
At the conclusion of the bankruptcy the automatic stay is replaced with the discharge in bankruptcy which forever ends your obligation to repay the debt. A creditor that violates the automatic stay of discharge of debts order can face serious contempt of court charges from the bankruptcy court.
For many Seniors, creditor harassment can overwhelm your life, don’t let it. Take charge of your financial future by discussing your situation with an experienced senior citizen bankruptcy attorney. By discussing your situation, you can learn how state and federal law can protect you and your family and bring you all peace of mind.
If you are a senior in need of financial relief from your debts, bankruptcy may be your solution. If you are over age 65, you want a lawyer that focuses on elder needs bankruptcy.
At Elder Needs Law, PLLC, all we do is consumer asset protection. We protect assets from the government, nursing homes, spouses, family members, and creditors. Please consult with a bankruptcy professional that focuses their practice on the senior population. You have more options than you might think, and some options have hidden costs and fees you want to avoid.
You owe it to your family to weigh all your options and to be fully informed with a plan of action in place. Please contact Elder Needs Law, PLLC at 305-614-7379 or look us up on the web at www.ElderNeedsLaw.com for more information on how the asset protection attorneys at Elder Needs Law, PLLC can help you and your family.