If your level of debt has become unmanageable, bankruptcy may be an option, but the ideal course of action will depend upon the circumstances. There are some situations that can be addressed without filing for bankruptcy, and you can always file at some future time if you find that there is really no viable alternative. Let’s look at a couple of basic scenarios that can potentially be resolved without a bankruptcy filing.
Stop Collection Agency Harassment
By law, debt collectors must adhere to certain statutory rules, but it is not entirely uncommon for them to step out of bounds. These guidelines are contained within The Fair Debt Collection Practices Act (FDCPA) that was enacted back in 1978. First and perhaps most importantly, if you choose to do so, you can send collectors a cease-and-desist letter, and they will be forced to discontinue the collection calls. Short of that, under provisions contained within the statute, debt collectors cannot contact you before eight a.m. or after nine p.m. Plus, they cannot contact you at work if they are aware of the fact that your employer does not allow you to take calls from collection agencies while you are on the job or if you have told them to not call you at work. If you have an attorney handling your debt relief efforts, the collectors will be required to speak with your lawyer and they will not be allowed to contact you personally.
There is also the matter of outright harassment. Debt collectors can be held liable if they threaten you with physical violence of any kind, and it is also illegal for them to threaten to mar your reputation. They are prohibited from using any foul or abusive language during their communications, and they must identify themselves as bill collectors when they contact you. If a bill collector violates any of these parameters, you can file a lawsuit to collect any damages that you may incur, and a successful judgment can include your legal fees and as much as $1000 in statutory damages.
Negotiate with Creditors
If credit card debt is the source of your financial difficulties, you can try to negotiate with the credit companies before the matter goes to a collection agency. Company policies vary, and the specifics of the situation will certainly be taken into account. You can ask if they will be willing to change your payment date, and you may be able to negotiate a lower interest rate. Under some circumstances, the company may be willing to provide a payment reduction on a temporary basis. These are a few possibilities, but there are others.
Schedule a Free Case Evaluation
There are a number of different debt relief strategies that can be implemented, and it can be difficult to make the right choice without the appropriate legal advice. Our service area includes Eugene, Portland, Salem, Roseburg, and a number of other cities in Oregon and Washington. If you will like to discuss your options with a local bankruptcy attorney, you can set up a free consultation if you call us right now at 1-800-682-9568.