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New Bill Would Let Consumers Sue Their Banks for Post-Bankruptcy Mistakes

Zombie debt

Zombie debt legislation proposed in the Senate

Image Source: Flickr User Gianluca Ramalho Misiti

We wrote recently about how many creditors allow (or actively encourage) zombie debt to languish on consumer credit reports. "Zombie debt" is old debt discharged as part of a Chapter 7 or Chapter 13 bankruptcy that continues to be reported as past due and owing on credit reports and causes consumer credit scores to be lower than they should. Lower FICO scores can result in being declined for credit, offered costlier credit arrangements or being turned down for a job or housing. A new law would allow consumers to strike back at these often untouchable creditors for damage caused by misreporting.

Can't Afford Your Chapter 13 Plan Repayments? You May Qualify for a Hardship Discharge

Walk away

Don't walk away from a Chapter 13 without exploring the options

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There's no getting around it – a Chapter 13 repayment plan is usually tough to stick to – it's no picnic. The Trustee assigned to your case will typically only accept a plan that eats up all of your disposable income. In fact, that's what bankruptcy laws require. This means that you will not have much spare cash on hand for the three to five years (usually five) that your Chapter 13 plan takes to complete. For many people, finishing a Chapter 13 plan is unmanageable and many plans fail. But if you are struggling to make your Chapter 13 plan payments, you may qualify for a hardship discharge to help you out.

Behind on North Carolina Property Taxes? How Bankruptcy Helps Fix The Mess

Home foreclosure

Are you being threatened with foreclosure?

Image Source: Flickr User Taylor S

When you struggle with your finances, many bad things can happen. And when it comes to your mortgage and all of the other issues attached, it can mean the loss of your home. Not only does your mortgage contract require you to make timely payments on your mortgage itself, but also to keep up with property taxes and homeowner's insurance. Even if you're current on your mortgage, if you lapse on the other responsibilities, you can find yourself in trouble and facing foreclosure.

7 Steps to Tackle a Tough Debt Situation – And What to Do If You're in Too Deep

Tackle your debts

You need a strategy to tackle your debt

Image Source: Flickr User John McStravick

In many situations, even the largest pile of debts can be handled if you truly dedicate yourself to conquering it. So long as you're not retired and on a fixed income, or dealing with an illness, injury or disability that keeps you from working at full capacity, you should be able to solve your average debt dilemma. First we'll look at a seven step plan to deal with serious debt and then one solution if you are in just way too deep.

Another Ruling Against Chase Bank and Shady Debt Collection Tactics

Chase Bank

Chase Bank hit hard with new debt collection settlement

Image Source: Flickr User Insider Monkey

We wrote recently about how JPMorgan Chase was hit with a $50 million penalty for illegal activities against consumers in bankruptcy. We also covered another recent Chase scandal showing how the corporation intentionally left zombie debts on consumer credit reports. And now Chase is making headlines again, this time for unlawful debt collection in the state of North Carolina and all across the country. Here's what you should know.

CFPB Takes on Debt Collection Law Firms - How This Can Help You


CFPB taking on debt collection law firms

Image Source: Flickr User Ted Eytan

The Consumer Financial Protect Bureau (CFPB) has been hard at work on its core mission of “making rules more effective, by consistently and fairly enforcing those rules, and by empowering consumers to take more control over their economic lives.” The CFPB's three tenets are to educate, enforce and study finance and debt in America to help consumers. To support that goal, CFPB has been aggressively chasing down those that try and cheat American consumers and their latest effort involves taking on a large law firm involved in debt collection.

Were You Misclassified as a 1099 Contractor by Your Employer? Fight Back Now

Independent contractor

Are you an employee or a contractor?

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The North Carolina House Judiciary Committee is taking on employers who try to shirk paying taxes for employees by misclassifying them as 1099 contractors. The News & Observer conducted an investigation last year and found rampant evidence of employers cheating the state out of unemployment taxes and cheating workers by forcing them to pay employment taxes that they would not otherwise have to pay. If you've been misclassified, you could find yourself in financial hot water. Here's what you need to know.

5 Ways to Get Your Chapter 13 Plan Repayments Lowered

Bankruptcy payments

You may be able to get your Chapter 13 payments lowered

Image Source: Flickr User 401(k) 2012

Many people who enter Chapter 13 bankruptcy do so to stop the foreclosure of their home or repossession of their auto. But it's important to understand that Chapter 13 plan repayments are usually tough to stick to throughout the repayment period – typically three to five years – and will not leave you much wiggle room in your budget. For many consumers, it may be advantageous to file a Chapter 13 to stop a foreclosure and buy some time to figure things out, then convert to a Chapter 7 for faster and more complete debt relief. But for those in Chapter 13 who may be struggling to make payments, there are some way to get your plan payments lowered.

What Happens if You Get a Raise During Your Chapter 13 Repayment Plan? Will Payments Increase?

Chapter 13

Chapter 13 repayment plans can change during your bankruptcy

Image Source: Flickr User Uli Matheus

Chapter 13 lasts much longer than a Chapter 7 which is usually filed, processed and discharged within just a few months. A repayment plan will last, at a minimum, three years, and five years at a maximum. Most repayment plans will run the full five years to make plan payments the most affordable and to allow you to get caught up on past due balances on your secured debt and service a portion of your unsecured debt as well. But you should know that the repayment plan approved won't necessarily stay the same through those three to five years – particularly if your salary changes.

Rapper 50 Cent Files Second Bankruptcy Within Two Months

Rapper 50 Cent headphones

These headphones are part of 50 Cent's money problems

Image Source: Flickr User

In a recent celebrity bankruptcy alert, we covered the Chapter 11 business bankruptcy filing of hip hop musician and businessman Curtis Jackson, better known as 50 Cent. The business Chapter 11 bankruptcy filed in late May was mostly due to the struggles of Jackson's boxing business SMS Promotions. You can click here to read the details of the singer's business bankruptcy. The second bankruptcy filing was also a Chapter 11, but this time related to Jackson's personal debts and liabilities.

Consumer Alert: 5 Tips to Stop a Vacation Rental Scam from Ruining Your Summer Getaway

Summer vacation

Don't let a vacation rental scam ruin your summer

Image Source: Flickr User The European

Fake vacation rental scams are reaching a peak now that everyone is planning their summer getaways. Getting ripped off by renter fraud while booking your trip could wreck your finances so badly that you can't afford to take a vacation this year. That can leave you and your kids disappointed that your summer plans have been ruined thanks to a no-good thief. Don't let your good times fall prey to fraud – here are the top five tips to protect your money and ensure you get the vacation you want (and need).

Bankruptcy Isn't Giving Up, It's Giving Yourself a Chance at a Better Future

Better life

Bankruptcy can give you a better life

Image Source: Flickr User _dChris

Suppose you're out in the middle of the ocean, no land in sight, and you've been treading water for hours. You're getting tired, and you know you won't be able to keep your head above water for much longer. If a boat pulled up and tossed you a life preserver, you'd take it, right? You wouldn't insist that you're better off fighting the ocean without help. Many people allow themselves to drown in debt when there is a lifeline available – personal bankruptcy.

5 Money Mistakes That Can Wreck Your Finances (And How to Fix Them)

Money management

Do your bad money habits register?

Image Source: Pixabay

Some people seem to be born with an innate sense of money management. These were the kids who saved up most of their allowance, mowed lawns or babysat, and socked away all the money so they could buy their own car at 16. These are the same people who, as adults, have never paid a bill late, have immaculate credit and a robust retirement account. And then there's most everyone else. Unfortunately, for far too many consumers, financial common sense is not second nature, and it's not something that's taught well in schools.

Drowning in Student Loans? New Plan Offers Hope for Struggling Borrowers

Student loans

Student loan stress may soon be solved for many borrowers

Image Source: Pixabay

Starting this Fall, millions more consumers with student loans will qualify for Pay As You Earn (PAYE), the most advantageous repayment plan for those with federal school debt. If you're struggling with student loans or are in default, this could be your chance to get current with an affordable payment plan. Getting into good standing with your student debt can boost your credit score, put an end to payroll or tax refund garnishment, and take a lot of stress out of your life. Here's what you need to know about the revised PAYE, called REPAYE, coming soon.

Are You a Compulsive Spender? Warning Signs and How to Get Out of Trouble

Shopping too much

Are you shopping too much?

Image Source: Flickr User Giacomo Carena

Roughly 20 million Americans are compulsive shoppers – and that's not just people who love a good bargain – but people who have an actual psychological issue that causes them to spend compulsively. It's a real addiction that often results in real debt just as other addictions like alcohol and drug abuse ruin finances. If you have an addition to over-shopping, you may have maxed out your credit cards and drained your savings, and this is not a good situation to find yourself in, but there's hope. Today we look at some of the symptoms and solutions.

4 Reasons You May Not Want To Negotiate A Settlement on an Old Debt

Time flies

Time may be on your side with debt

Image Source: Flickr User Hartwig HKD

If you're being hounded by a debt collector on an older debt, it may be tempting to take whatever deal they offer just to get them to stop calling. The saying that “the squeaky wheel gets the grease” has persisted for a reason – it's true. The loudest baby bird will get the most worms. And the debt collector who makes your life the most miserable is most likely to get your attention and your money, but that's likely not the wisest route to go. Here are some reasons to slow down before you pay up.

Should You Try and File Bankruptcy Without a Lawyer? 5 Points to Consider

DIY lawyer

Trying to be your own lawyer is difficult

Image Source: Flickr User umjanedoan

Are you living paycheck to paycheck? Are your debts so great that you are just scraping by each month and are so deep in unmanageable debt that you can't figure out what to do next? Has your life become solely about finances to the extent you're arguing with your spouse, grouchy with your children and distracted at work? Filing bankruptcy can help eradicate debt and turn your life around. But before you decide to try and DIY your bankruptcy thinking it's something you can handle yourself, here are five things to consider.

Scam Alert: Watch Out for Calls Claiming to Be Your Credit Card Fraud Department

Credit and debit card fraud

Fake fraud calls are themselves a source of fraud

Image Source: Flickr User frankieleon

There's a new credit card fraud that's once again spreading its ugly head again in North Carolina and across the country. This fraud can rob you of your credit card or debit card information which is then used to drain your account or max out your card. In today's scam alert, we tell NC consumers how this fraud operates and how to be on your toes, so you don't fall prey to it.

Wells Fargo Chastised in Court for Poor Treatment of Bankruptcy Filers

Wells Fargo

Wells Fargo treated bankruptcy filer poorly according to NY judge

Image Source: Flickr User Mike Mozart

If you bank with Wells Fargo and are considering filing bankruptcy, there's something you should know. The bank makes it a policy of freezing funds of bankruptcy filers as a policy. Stripping access to funds is not required under bankruptcy law and can push already cash-strapped consumers into financial ruin. But a recent court case in New York sided with the bankruptcy filer and chastised the mega bank for its poor treatment of the debtor.


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