Debt collectors often resort to extreme measures to collect debts, including obtaining judgments against people who do not owe the debt, attempting to collect debts after the statute of limitations has expired, obtaining default judgments without the debtor's knowledge, tricking debtors into agreements for judgments and never-ending payment plans, making harassing phone calls to a debtor's home or office, and contacting co-workers, family, neighbors and friends.
We are not a debt settlement company or a debt relief agency, and we will not ask you to hand over your hard-earned money to us for ‘safekeeping’. We are a law firm that vigorously defends our clients’ rights both in and out of the courtroom to achieve a positive legal and financial result. We successfully litigate cases on behalf of debtors whose rights are violated by debt-collection agencies, law firms, student loan companies, banks and other creditors.
Whether you have just received your first collection notice, were recently served with a lawsuit, or have just discovered that judgment was unfairly entered against you, we work closely with you to develop and carry out an effective debt settlement strategy.
Unfair Debt Collection Practices & Harassment
Consumer Debt "Don'ts"
Our Proven Debt Settlement Strategy
If you are being harassed by debt collectors pressuring you to pay a debt, if you have a default judgment entered against you but were never served with process, if your bank accounts or your wages have been garnished, if a lien has been recorded against your home, or if you have been treated unfairly by a business organization, we can help you. We will make the harassing phone calls and letters stop, we will force debt collectors to prove in court that you owe the amount claimed, and we will make them prove they are legally entitled to collect the debt. If they cannot legally establish that you owe the debt, and that they are legally entitled to collect it, you will not be financially liable for the debt. In some instances, we have even forced debt collection agencies to pay thousands of dollars in damages to our clients for unlawful collection practices.
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Don't give creditors access to your bank account. You simply cannot trust debt colletion firms with your financial information. Even debt collection firms who start with good intentions may become sloppy, greedy, or simply careless with your data. Once the damage is done, it can be costly and nearly impossible to get those funds back into your account.
Don't ever agree to a 'repayment plan'. A repayment plan is a shrewd method of making sure that you pay on the debt for a very long time. As interest accrues, each monthly payment makes a tiny dent in your principle balance owed. Instead of making monthly payments that get you nowhere, we advise our clients to make monthly payments into a 'settlement reserve' account. This can be a savings or other separate account. Once you have built up your reserve, your attorney can negotiate a favorable settlement of the debt - often for much much less than you owe.
Don't assume creditors can take your money. Creditors cannot take your money, put a lien against your home, or garnish your accounts or wages without the court's permission. Many creditors will threaten to garnish wages before they have even filed suit. Once suit is filed, you will have an opportunity to challenge the creditor to produce evidence of the debt and amount owed. Creditors must ultimately prove their case against you. In addition, many assets and streams of income are not subject to garnishment by creditors, including certain social security payments.
Don't ignore lawsuits and court paperwork. The majority of lawsuits that are filed end up in default judgment because the consumer never shows up. Once judgment enters, it doesn't matter whether the debt is valid or whether the collector had the documents to provide it - the judgment is good for 20 years! Debt collectors are hoping that you don't show up. Talk to an attorney immediately if you receive any sort of legal notice. You may have substantive or procedural defenses that you didn't even know existed. When challenged by counsel, many debt collectors will back down or agree to take low settlements.
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Unlike 'debt settlement companies', our experienced consumer debt attorneys pursue negotiated settlements with creditors or collectors while aggressively defending our clients' rights in court. We sit down with our clients and create a personalized debt settlement strategy based on the size of the debt, their overall economic situation, and any defenses or counterclaims that may give the client an advantage in negotiations.
Typically, the goals of our consumer debt clients are as follows:
(1) to avoid a default, wage garnishment, or property liens;
(2) to allow enough time to save the funds necessary to settle their debt;
(3) when possible, to negotiate an aggressive settlement of the debt; and
(4) to ensure that the debt and any legal claims are disposed properly.
Our office efficiently manages all courtroom appearances and legal paperwork on your behalf. Our clients rarely (if ever) are forced to take time off from work or away from family to attend court hearings. By effectively managing the law firm or collection company, we can typically provide our clients with 18 months or more before any money is due. In some instances, our attorneys have had entire debts thrown out of court, or obtained cash settlements on behalf of our clients for abuses of consumer protection laws.
If a debt collector or law firm alleges that you owe money, speak to one of our consumer debt attorneys right away.
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