Creditor Harassment Attorney in Ypsilanti, Michigan
Being behind on payments to creditors or barely keeping up is incredibly stressful. If those creditors are harassing you with incessant phone calls, texts, emails, and threatening letters, it can be even worse. No one should have to experience a feeling of fear every time the phone rings or the embarrassment of creditor calls to your workplace.
Of course, creditors do have the right to pursue payment of debts, but the law protects consumers from some of the ways they can do it. If you are being harassed, you should talk to an experienced bankruptcy attorney to find out if and how you can make it stop.
For more than 30 years, attorney John Bailey has helped clients in Ypsilanti, Kalamazoo, Ann Arbor, Belleville, and Portage, Michigan find ways to deal with debt and stop creditor harassment. If you want to explore your options and get some experienced legal guidance, call The Law Offices of John R. Bailey.
How the Law Protects You from Bill Collectors
Enforced by the Federal Trade Commission (FTC), the federal Fair Debt Collection Practices Act (FDCPA) prohibits creditors from employing abusive, unfair, and deceptive practices against people who owe them money. This includes the original lender and the collection agencies who handle their collections or buy the debt. The law protects individual consumers but not businesses in debt.
Creditors are allowed to contact you about your debt. Texts, emails, phone calls, and letters to pursue payments, in and of themselves, do not constitute harassment. The only time creditors are not allowed to contact you at all is if you have included that debt in a bankruptcy filing.
What they cannot do is alert others to the fact that you owe them money. They cannot call you at your place of employment if you have told them not to do so. They cannot call you before 8 a.m. or after 9 p.m. unless you give them permission to do so. They cannot lie to you about the debt owed, use profanity, threaten to harm you, pretend to be anyone except a debt collector, charge you fees and interest beyond what you owe, or call you repeatedly.
For example, perhaps you owe money for an emergency room visit several months ago. The hospital or collection agency can send you letters about the debt. The envelope the letter arrives in cannot be stamped with language such as “overdue bill” or “immediate payment required,” or anything that the public could interpret as an attempt to collect a debt. In the letter, the creditor cannot threaten the emergency room will deny treatment to you until the debt is paid. Nor can the letter add interest or fees that were not disclosed in the paperwork you signed at the hospital. Receipt of a letter is the creditor’s right. Any of these other actions violate your rights under the FDCPA.
Will Filing for Bankruptcy Stop Creditor Harassment?
Filing for bankruptcy will stop creditor harassment as well as any other contact from the creditor, so long as you have included that debt in the bankruptcy. Upon filing for bankruptcy, all creditors included in the filing receive an automatic stay from the court, advising them that they are not allowed to contact you about the debt.
If you continue to receive creditor calls and communication of any kind after the stay has been issued, notify your attorney. Your attorney will communicate with both the creditor and the court about the violation. Creditors who violate the stay are subject to penalties.
Why You Need an Attorney
You can file for bankruptcy without an attorney. The forms and instructions are accessible to anyone who wants to file. However, there are compelling reasons to hire an experienced bankruptcy lawyer, including:
Your lawyer will help you navigate the bankruptcy process, providing the information and guidance you need to decide which chapter to file for, and ensuring that you do not overlook any creditors that should be included in your filing.
Your lawyer has represented other clients in bankruptcy. Although this experience is extremely valuable, your lawyer will treat your case uniquely, negotiating the best possible arrangement for your particular financial situation.
If any creditors continue to contact or harass you even after the stay is issued, your lawyer will handle contact with them and with the court as needed.
Your lawyer will go above and beyond just filing your case in court. Your lawyer will provide guidance and advice about rebuilding your credit after bankruptcy, making wiser financial decisions going forward, and protecting your assets to help you avoid finding yourself in the situation that led you to bankruptcy in the first place.
Creditor Harassment Attorney Serving Ypsilanti, Michigan
Being owed a debt does not give a creditor license to make your financial life more stressful than it already is. Attorney John Bailey can help you understand what harassment is, fight creditors’ bad behavior, and explore options for relief. He helps clients in Ypsilanti, Michigan, and other communities fight back. Call The Law Offices of John R. Bailey today.