Bankruptcy Law Articles

Bankruptcy Frequently Asked Questions

Find some basic answers to the most common questions ask about bankruptcy and debt management, such as: Are there ways to manage my debts without filing for bankruptcy? How do I get started managing my debts? Will I ever be able to borrow again if I file for bankruptcy? Does filing bankruptcy help if my house is in foreclosure? Will I lose my car if I file for bankruptcy? How will bankruptcy affect my employment? Is the initial debt management and bankruptcy conference free?

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Debt Is A Serious Issue For Many Older Adults

Many older adults live at or below the federal poverty line. Even those above are at risk for serious financial problems if they suffer even one major adverse life event such as a serious medical issue, job loss or fraud. Others are pulled under water by reaching out to help a family member who is at risk of drowning in debt. There is help. It comes in many different forms because people are different and so are their debt issues. But in every case there are several key steps to take: honestly look at the situation, get professional advice and take action. One avenue for advice is an attorney knowledgeable in debt management. Another avenue is a qualified consumer credit counselor. Like so many challenges, taking the first step is often the hardest part.

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Experian Helps Creditors Collect from Debtors

Experian, the credit reporting agency, offers a service to creditors to help them collect their debts? It offers four tools to help creditors. First, it provides a tool to help creditors "locate hard-to-find debtors." Second, it offers a tool called "Collection Prioritization and Strategy" which is touts as a way to develop a more focused collection strategy by determining which accounts have the highest payment potential.Third it offers "Monitor Unpaid Debt." Fourth, Experian has created a Collections Management System which it says "has a proven track record of improving debt receivables."

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The Trials of Older Consumers with Debt Collectors

The Consumer Financial Protection Bureau has reported that since 2013, consumers have submitted more complaints about debt collection with the agency than about any other product or service. This was also true for older consumers, aged 62 and older. Older consumers also report that debt collectors use abusive communication tactics to intimidate, aggravate and coerce them. The CFPB report reveals that "older consumers complain that some debt collectors make repeated calls using profanity, condescension, indignation or rage, including use of derogatory names such as ‘deadbeat,’ ‘liar’ or ‘fraud.’" Consumers in Pennsylvania are protected by both the federal Fair Debt Collection Practices Act and the Pennsylvania Fair Credit Extension Uniformity Act.

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Summary of the Fair Debt Collection Practices Act

The federal Fair Debt Collection Practices Act (Act) is the main federal law that governs debt collection practices. The Act prohibits debt collection companies from harassing you by using abusive, unfair or deceptive practices to collect past due debts from you. Some examples of prohibited acts are: repetitious phone calls that are intended to annoy, abuse, or harass you or any person answering the phone; obscene or profane language; threats of violence or harm; not identifying themselves. Debt collectors may not contact you before 8 a.m. or after 9 p.m. unless you specifically agree to that. If a debt collector knows that you are not allowed to receive the debt collector’s calls at work then the debt collector is not allowed to call you there.

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