Getting behind on bills can make every part of your life feel miserable and is only made worse when debt collectors start calling. While some debt collection agents are understanding, many are downright mean, but it is important to keep a cool head and not to let debt collectors intimidate you.
Debt Collection 101
Of course if you have debt, you have a legal obligation to pay it. But, just because you may have made some financial mistakes does not give someone the right to abuse you – it is important to take control. First, know exactly what you owe, who you owe, and maintain a record of your payments. When contacted by debt collectors, determine if the debt is, in fact, your debt and, if so, compare their information against your records. If the information jives, explain in the most general terms your situation and how you intend to pay off the debt. Document details about who talked to, and, if any debt settlement offers are made, get the agreement in writing.
Know Your Rights
Under the Fair Debt Collection Practices Act, it is illegal for debt collectors to use abusive, unfair or deceptive practices when attempting to collect a debt. They cannot call you at inconvenient times or places and they may not call you at work if they are told you are not allowed to get calls there. If you are being barraged by emails, texts, letters or calls, you may send a letter asking them to stop contact, at which time their contact should be limited to information regarding specific actions such as filing a lawsuit. If, a lawsuit is filed, respond by the specified date to preserve your rights.
What Can I Do If a Creditor Threatens a Lawsuit?
Filing bankruptcy can stop debt collectors from pursuing a lawsuit that could result in a court order to garnish your wages or dip into your bank account. An automatic stay prevents creditors from continuing any collection activities while the court sorts everything out. It may be that you owe more than one creditor and the courts understand this, so the aim is to ensure any assets are divided appropriately among all creditors while providing someone who has fallen behind exemptions that may allow them to keep some assets they need such as a car or equity in their home. Any remaining debt is discharged so an individual or family can get a fresh start.
When you need help pushing back on debt collectors
Contact Illinois Bankruptcy Lawyer Charles E. Covey Today
Bankruptcy is one of several financial strategies individuals and families should explore if they are facing financial difficulties. Gathering information, doing some independent research, and scheduling your free consultation with a bankruptcy attorney will help you to discern if bankruptcy is a viable solution for your circumstances. Bankruptcy protection is your right – discuss your options with an experienced Illinois bankruptcy attorney at 309-674-8125.