I’ve Received a Debt Collection Notice – Now What?
First and foremost – don’t panic! There may be a chance that the financial institution actually owes you money. However, every situation is unique. Google and internet forums may offer insight and temporarily put your mind at ease, but it is in your best interest to contact a trained professional to avoid lawsuits and even time in prison.
You Need a Lawyer
After the initial wave of panic has settled, it’s time to lawyer up. Not only could the financial institution owe you hundreds – if not thousands – of dollars, you may not owe them anything at all. There is also a good chance you could sue them for harassing you.
While laws vary from one state to another, it is a federal offense for an agency to repeatedly harass you for debt. The following are considered harassment by courts throughout the United States:
- Repeatedly calling your home telephone or cell phone
- Repeatedly calling your home telephone or cell phone at inappropriate times (i.e., very early in the morning or very late at night)
- Refusing to stop calling you
- Sending automated calls or messages to your home telephone or cell phone in regards to your debt
- Sending debt collection letters or notices that are confusing
- Sending debt collection letters that contain misstatements, misprints, or inaccurate information in general
- Attempting to collect debt you have already paid
- Attempting to collect debt that is outside of the statue of limitations
- Attempting to collect additional fees
- Speaking to your family, friends, coworkers, or employer about your debt
- Threatening you
Filing for Bankruptcy
Everyone is entitled to file for bankruptcy, regardless if they have previously filed or not. Bankruptcy allows you to discard debt or get on a payment plan, so long as you are able to prove your income and assets are not enough to cover what you owe.
As the United States Courts outline on their website, there are multiple forms of bankruptcy:
- Chapter 7 is a form of bankruptcy that does not require you to get on a payment plan. Rather, individuals liquidate their assets and use the proceeds to pay off their debt.
- Chapter 9 is a form of bankruptcy specifically designated for municipalities, cities, townships, villages, school districts as well as tax districts that allows them to reorganize their debt.
- Chapter 11 is a form of bankruptcy that allows businesses to liquidate their assets and reorganize their debt in order to keep operations running.
- Chapter 12 is a form of bankruptcy specifically designated for “family farmers” and “family fisherman” that allows them to adjust and reorganize their debt.
- Chapter 13 is a form of bankruptcy that allows individuals to form a practical plan to pay off their debt, generally within a three to five year period without sacrificing their property.
- Chapter 15 is a newer form of bankruptcy filed when more than one country is involved in the debt.
In some cases, you may also be eligible to default on your debt. Again, this is a delicate process that could have severe consequences without the help of a professional.
Contact Walker & Walker Law Offices, PLLC
At Walker & Walker Law Offices, we know life is better without debt. We are a Minnesota based law firm with offices in Minneapolis, Brooklyn Park, St. Paul, and Blaine. We specialize in eliminating debt, saving your assets, and getting pesky creditors off your back. Don’t just take our word for it though, take a moment to read over some of our testimonials.
Contact us today to book your free case evaluation!