In this tough economy, it may seem like your creditors are an ever-present part of your life…showing up where and when you least expect, or need, them. But creditors with real teeth (i.e., car lenders, mortgage holders, and landlords) don’t need to make harassing calls or threaten you in order to get what they want. They can just take your stuff: cars in default, homes in foreclosure, rentals in eviction. While bankruptcy can stop secured creditors cold, in the alternative, unsecured creditors, the ones at the bottom of the proverbial food chain, are more likely to be the ones contacting you via phone, sending you letters, and generally harassing you for cash, any cash, where and when they can.
So what are you to do when these sneaky solicitors become too much?
In this four-part series, “Creating a Barrier to Bill Collectors,” we’ll debunk unsecured debt collecting strategies, explain how to use Federal law to stop the harassment, explore the limits of when creditors can contact you, and finally, show you how bankruptcy can solve everything.
We’ll start with a basic understanding of how much (or little) creditors can actually hurt you.
Unlike home, car and other secured lenders, unsecured creditors and their hired goons, the collection services, only have vague threats “to take further action” if you do not pay your bills. These actions could include, canceling your account, reporting you to credit unions, or threatening to get a judgment against you.
In actuality, (and the more likely scenario in this tough economy where defaults are the norm, not the exception), your creditor may already have canceled your account, already reported you to a credit bureau and is likely telling you they’re considering legal action. None of this is necessarily bad news or should cause you to worry. There are worse things than having an unsecured account, like a credit card, canceled—especially one that you couldn’t afford to pay in the first place. Once your account is canceled, your interest rates don’t rise and you can begin the work of paying down your bill or getting the debt expunged with bankruptcy. Assuming they’ve already reported you to the credit agencies, that removes one more piece of leverage for getting you to pay. And, finally, keep in mind that debt collectors may threaten lawsuits, but are always looking for the cheapest way out…and that’s to harass you for your money, not hiring a lawyer. So, don’t give in, or give up.
What debt collectors can’t do is report your delinquency to your employer or otherwise publish your debt to the public; nor can they take your property prior to suing and obtaining a judgment against you. Regardless, the process of gaining a judgment is complex, time-consuming and costly, leaving many lenders using traditional, aggressive tactics to try and get back at you and your money.
In short, it’s better to give bill collectors nothing than even a small amount that will keep them coming back for more. You can always square your debts directly with your creditor or consider your other options; coming up in this series we’ll discuss how to use federal law to keep bill collectors at bay, the ways to call collectors on their intrusive practices, and using bankruptcy to not only erase unsecured debts, but also the hassles of debt collection.
If you too have been effected by the economy and are wondering how to reduce debt and get back on track, knowing a qualified bankruptcy attorney can also help you to conquer your creditors and face your financial fears, yielding the right kinds of support, information and insights—at a low cost— for a viable and secure future beyond our own “Great Recession.” The bankruptcy experts at the Law Offices of John T. Orcutt offer a totally FREE debt consultation and now, more than ever, it’s time to take them up on their offer. Just call toll free to 1-888-234-4181, or during the off hours, you can make your own appointment right online at www.billsbills.com. Simply click on the yellow “FREE Consultation Now” button.