It can feel like a helpless situation. You're struggling with debt, which is hard enough as it is, trying to make payments while providing for yourself and your family. But then you get constant phone calls at all hours, official-looking letters in the mail, maybe even your friends and family in Wayne County have been contacted by your creditors looking to collect. Some of these communications may have left you feeling threatened in some way.
In any case, you are sick of it and you need it to stop. What can you do? Fortunately, there are a number of important legal protections of which you need to be aware. One is the Fair Debt Collection Practices Act, which limits what kinds of tactics your creditors can use in communicating with you. Another is the automatic stay provided under Chapter 7 bankruptcy.
Let's first look at what the law has to say about debt collection practices. The FDCPA is quite detailed in spelling out what your creditors cannot do to you, but a few major points include:
- They cannot threaten you. That includes your physical safety, your property or your reputation.
- They cannot swear at you or verbally abuse you.
- They cannot tell other people that you owe debt.
- They cannot pretend to represent a state or federal agency.
Another important point is that, if your creditors know that a legal professional represents you regarding your debt issues, they must deal with your attorney. They cannot try to get around your attorney to get to you.
Even with those protections, Wayne County residents may find that they need to take significant steps to eliminate debt and start fresh financially. When filing for Chapter 7 bankruptcy, an automatic stay will go into effect. What this means, is that your creditors cannot try to collect on your debts at all while the legal process is in motion.
Not only can a legal professional help with a potential bankruptcy filing, but by virtue of hiring legal representation, the FDCPA directs your creditors to work with that attorney instead of harassing you. Dealing with financial challenges is never easy, but it's important to understand and take advantage of the rights and options you do have under the law.