Phoenix Bankruptcy Attorney Helps End Creditor Harassment
Decisive steps taken to end abusive attempts at collection
Consumers who’ve experienced financial reversals can find themselves on the receiving end of abuse from creditors seeking to collect. Often, the collector’s tactics are legal, but the relentless nature of the contact can still leave you feeling harassed and helpless. In other situations, creditors and collection agencies actually violate the law. But because many consumers are not aware of their rights, they suffer the abuse. Fortunately, Bankruptcy & Estate Planning Pros of Bankruptcy Pros is available to help end creditor harassment and, when appropriate, help you file a claim against unlawfully abusive collectors. If you are ready to end constant collection actions, let our reputable attorney help you take the decisive steps that lead to peace of mind.
Arizona bankruptcy and the “automatic stay”
For many debtors, bankruptcy may be the best option to resolving their debt. Chapter 7 bankruptcy requires debtors to liquidate certain assets to partially repay creditors, in exchange for a quick discharge of remaining eligible debt. Chapter 13 bankruptcy allows debtors to restructure their debt into lower monthly payments which they make for a period of three to five years, after which the bankruptcy court discharges their remaining eligible debt. Which bankruptcy chapter is best depends on the debtor’s circumstances, but both deliver one powerful, immediate benefit: the automatic stay.
When you file for bankruptcy in Arizona, the court issues an automatic stay, a legal injunction that prohibits your creditors from contacting you in an effort to collect what you owe. That means no more creditor calls, no more postcards or letters, no more attempts to repossess property, and if your home is in foreclosure, that process must stop.
Other debt resolution strategies, such as loan workouts, offer hope for some debtors. But they require piecemeal negotiations with each of your creditors separately. An automatic stay through bankruptcy is one sweeping remedy that applies to all your eligible debt.
Your rights under the federal Fair Debt Collection Practices Act
Passed in 1977, the Fair Debt Collection Practices Act (FDCPA) provides many protections for consumers who are unable to pay their bills. The law targets third-party debt collectors and prohibits them from:
- Contacting consumers by phone outside the hours of 8 a.m. and 9 p.m.
- Failing to cease communication upon the debtor’s request
- Causing the phone to ring continuously
- Contacting debtors at their place of employment
- Directly contacting a debtor whom they know is represented by an attorney
- Misrepresentation or deceit
- Publishing the consumer’s name on a bad-debt list
- Threatening arrest
- Threatening legal action when none is contemplated
- Using abusive or profane language
- Communicating with third parties about the debtor
- Reporting false information on the debtor’s credit report
The Consumer Financial Protection Bureau is the primary enforcement agency for the FDCPA. But consumers whose rights have been violated can also file a lawsuit for actual damages or statutory damages. Actual damages are losses you can prove that resulted from the harassing conduct. Statutory damages are amounts the law says you are entitled to claim from the offending collector for the abuse. Note that calls from collectors, particularly to your cell phone, might well be in violation of the Telephone Consumer Protection Act (TCPA).
To end creditor harassment, contact our Phoenix office today
Working with a reputable attorney is the best way to deal with creditor harassment. If bankruptcy is the best option for you, the automatic stay offers immediate protection. To learn how Bankruptcy & Estate Planning Pros of Bankruptcy Pros can help you obtain peace of mind, call 602-529-6881 or contact our office online to schedule a free consultation. From Phoenix, we serve clients in Maricopa County and throughout Arizona.