There is little doubt that Americans use a lot of credit. There are over 500 million Visa and MasterCard credit cards out there. Nearly 80% of Americans have at least one credit card, and the average credit card debt per household is $8,329. A recent survey indicates that 70 million Americans have problems relating to bad credit.
Bankruptcy, however, is a serious decision to deal with your financial problems. Filing for bankruptcy can have a large, negative effect on your credit rating for up to 10 years following the filing. Roughly 20,000 New Jersey residents file for bankruptcy every year; most opting for a Chapter 7 bankruptcy, which discharges all debt but at the sake of negatively affecting your credit rating and selling off many of your possessions.
A Morris County bankruptcy lawyer can help you weigh your financial options and decide whether bankruptcy is the best one for you. Deciding whether to file for bankruptcy can depend on what your goal is. Sometimes you can meet your goals without filing for bankruptcy.
Stopping Creditors’ Harassment
One of the main reasons people may consider a bankruptcy is as a way to deal with their creditors and end the harassment. There numerous state and federal laws that regulate debt collectors and they can be used to put an end to abusive conduct on their part. If you are more familiar with your rights and the laws collectors abide by, you will be able to take action against them if they cross the line.
The Federal Fair Debt Collection Practices Act (FDCPA) is a source for examples of what debt collectors from collection agencies cannot do. This Act does not cover, however, collectors from your original creditor.
- They cannot call you repeatedly or at unreasonable times (before 8 a.m. or after 9 p.m.).
- They cannot call you at work if your employer does not allow it.
- They cannot use obscene language or threaten violence.
- They cannot claim that you owe more than you actually do.
If a debt collector has crossed the line, there are steps you can take. Under the FDCPA, if you write them and request that all communications stop, they must do so. Also, take detailed notes of their abusive behavior and file a complaint with the Federal Trade Commission and state agencies, as well as the creditor and collection agencies. As a final resort, you may be able to sue the collectors for abusive behavior.
Facing and ending creditor harassment coupled with credit counseling and some financial changes may be able to get you back on the right financial track without having to file for bankruptcy. Contact an experienced Morris County bankruptcy attorney, such as Ast & Schmidt, P.C., to consider alternatives to bankruptcy.