Bankruptcy Attorney in Michigan  

Walter A. Metzen, Michigan Bankruptcy Attorney

Board Certified Consumer Bankruptcy Specialist

American Board of Bankruptcy Certification

 


    
 

Michigan Creditor Harassment Lawyer

Whether or not you are currently in bankruptcy, the Fair Debt Collection Practices Act (FDCPA) requires that debt collectors treat you fairly by prohibiting certain methods of debt collection. Personal, family and household debts are all covered under the FDCPA. This includes auto loans, medical care bills and charge accounts. However, business loans are not covered by this law. Paying bills on time is generally the best way to avoid creditor harassment. However, sometimes people fall into financial circumstances that prevent them from being able to honor the debt and they fall behind on the payments.

Most creditors and collection agencies follow the law when attempting to collect a debt. But some don’t, and many times, an abusive creditor is the reason why debtors may feel forced to file for bankruptcy protection—to get the creditor to stop harassing them. You should never allow an abusive bill collector to force you into bankruptcy. However, if your circumstances prevent you from any other action, you still do have legal rights. Once you file for bankruptcy protection, creditors are formally notified you are in bankruptcy, and collection attempts must immediately cease until your case has been discharged or has otherwise decided upon by the courts.

If you have filed for bankruptcy and a debt collector calls, politely tell them that you are in bankruptcy and give them your case number. This usually gets them to stop calling or otherwise attempting to contact you. Some debt collectors persist by asking if you want to re-affirm the debt and they may also make a lot of promises to you if you agree to re-affirm the debt. Beware of any promises, they make. Debt collectors are paid to collect debts, and they will try any means to get you to pay, including making promises the creditor has no intentions of keeping. The best thing to do is to politely but firmly tell them you do not want to re-affirm the debt. If the creditor persists in trying to collect from you, even after you’ve told him or her that you are in bankruptcy and that you are not interested in re-affirming the debt, contact your michigan bankruptcy lawyer immediately for legal advice on your next course of action.

Creditor harassment is an excessive quantity of pressure from a creditor or debt collector to pay a debt. It may involve threats of violence, threats to embarrass the debtor, false information, excessive number of telephone calls or home visits or general nastiness.

Section 60 of the Trade Practices Act 1974 (C'th) states: "A corporation shall not use physical force or undue harassment or coercion in connection with the supply or possible supply of goods or services to a consumer or the payment for goods or services by a consumer."

Debt collectors cannot harass, oppress or abuse any person. They also can't use unfair practices or make false statements. Unlawful acts by debt collectors include:

  • Falsely implying that he or she is an attorney or government representative.
  • Falsely implying that you have committed a crime.
  • Indicating that correspondence they send you is from an attorney when it is not.
  • Implying that nonpayment of any debt will result in loss of personal property, wages, or that you will be arrested unless (a) it is lawful and (b) the creditor intends to follow through with such action.
  • Threatening to take action that is not legal or that the creditor does not intend to take.
  • Implying that the transfer of interest in the debt to someone else will result in loss of personal property or wages, or that you will be arrested.
  • Falsely representing that you committed a crime in an effort to disgrace you.
  • Misrepresenting your credit or failing to communicate that you are disputing a debt.
  • Using written communication which simulates or is falsely represented to be a document authorized, issued or approved by any court, official or agency of the U.S. or any state, or which creates a false impression as to its source, authorization, or approval.
  • Contacting you by post card.
  • Using any false or deceptive means to attempt to collect a debt or obtain information about a consumer.
  • Failing to disclose clearly in all communication that the debt collector is attempting to collect a debt and that any information obtained will be used for that purpose.
  • Falsely implying that accounts have been turned over to innocent purchasers.
  • Falsely implying that documents are part of the legal process when they aren’t.
  • Falsely stating that papers being sent to you are not legal process forms when they are. Using any business, company, or organization name other than the actual name of the debt collector's business. Falsely stating that a debt collector is employed by a consumer reporting agency.

A debt collector is any person or agency, other than the creditor, who regularly collects debts owed to others. Under a 1986 amendment to the Fair Debt Collection Practices Act, this also includes attorneys who collect debts on a regular basis.

If you believe you have been unfairly treated, you have the right to sue the collection agency in a state or federal court within one year from the date your rights were violated. You could potentially recover money for any damages you may have suffered as well as court costs and attorney's fees You should also report any problems you have with a debt collector to your state's Attorney General's office and the Federal Trade Commission (FTC). Contact a qualified michigan bankruptcy lawyer for more information about state and federal debt collection laws and for any legal advice or assistance in your claim.

The Federal Trade Commission (FTC) provides a brochure about credit repair scams in Adobe Acrobat Portable Document Format (PDF). Click here to download it.

Contact an experienced and reputable michigan bankruptcy lawyer for more information on your rights under the Fair Credit Reporting Act (FCRA) and the Consumer Credit File Rights Under State and Federal Law. If you need to file for bankruptcy, contact MichiganBankruptcyLawyer.com now.

The purpose of a chapter 7 is to grant debt relief and allow a person to obtain a fresh start, free from creditors and free from the pressures of over-whelming debt. Under chapter 7, a trustee takes possession of non-exempt property assets, converts them to cash and distributes the funds to creditors. After filing for relief, an individual debtor may receive a discharge of debts.

A discharge permanently prohibits most creditors from attempting to collect those debts listed by the debtor on the bankruptcy schedules. However, some debts are non-dischargeable. They include certain taxes, student loans, alimony, and child support to name just a few.

 

A corporate business that files chapter 7 is not eligible to receive a discharge.

  •   Driver's License or State ID & Social Security card
  •   Pay Stubs for the past 2 months
  •   Copies of all Bills, Summons or Judgments against you by creditors
  •    Divorce Judgments or Decrees
  •   Real Estate Documents, Deeds, Recorded Mortgages, mortgage balance statements
  •   Property Tax Bills (SEV)
  •   Bank Statements for 3 months
  •   Recorded Mortgage and Deed
  •   Car Titles
  •   Income Tax Returns & W2 forms
    for the last 2 years