If you have fallen behind on your bills, your creditors may take steps to ensure they get paid. They may not, however, abuse their right to collect on the debt. Fort Lauderdale bankruptcy attorneys at Anidjar & Levine can help you if you are a victim of collections abuse. We are familiar with the regulations that govern the ability of creditors and debt collectors to collect on a debt. We can help you stop collections abuse and plan your next steps to a fresh financial start.Protecting Debtors from Creditor Harassment
When you have missed several payments on a debt, the creditor may take measures to collect any outstanding amount you owe. They may start to call you incessantly at home or work, send you numerous letters in the mail, or engage in other forms of creditor harassment to try to get you to pay. A collection agency or collection attorney may contact you to seek payment.
While creditors certainly have a right to collect on a debt, you also have the right to be free from abusive debt collection tactics. The law limits what a creditor or debt collector can do to collect on a debt. Both federal and state laws protect consumers against collections abuse practices.
The Fair Debt Collections Practices Act, or FDCPA, is a federal law that prohibits certain debt collectors like collection agencies from using abusive debt collection tactics. For example, a debt collector cannot threaten to use force or to advertise for the sale of a debt in an attempt to force you to pay. The FDCPA also provides a way for you to dispute and validate any information on a debt.
Florida goes further to protect you from collections abuse. The Florida Consumer Collections Practices Act, or FCCPA, protects against collections abuse from creditors as well as debt collectors. The FCCPA prevents any person from using abusive or harassing tactics to collect on a debt, including the use or threat to use force or violence, using profanity or vulgarity to communicate with you or family members, and disclosing information that could affect your reputation to anyone other than you or your family under certain circumstances.
These regulations may protect against collection abuse, but a creditor or debt collector can still pursue a claim against you. Bankruptcy may offer you a chance to stop collection abuse and regroup financially.How Filing for Bankruptcy Can Help Stop Collections Abuse
By filing for bankruptcy, you automatically stop most collection attempts, including any abusive or harassing activities by creditors. While you are in the bankruptcy proceeding, your creditors cannot make any further efforts to collect on a debt. Both Chapter 7 and Chapter 13 bankruptcy automatically halt any collection activity. The court will notify your creditors that you have filed for bankruptcy, and they must immediately stop any further collection attempts. If they do not, you can file a suit with the court for a creditor’s failure to comply with the automatic stay.
Stopping collections abuse is one benefit of filing for bankruptcy. More importantly, however, bankruptcy gives you the opportunity to wipe your slate clean of dischargeable debts. If you are eligible to file for Chapter 7 bankruptcy, you could potentially start anew within a few months of the filing. In Chapter 13 bankruptcy, you reorganize your debt over a three- or five-year plan, and a court can discharge any remaining eligible debt after you finish the plan. Remember, not all debt is dischargeable. Family support obligations, for example, cannot be stopped or discharged by filing for bankruptcy.Bankruptcy Attorneys Ready to Help Hollywood Residents
You can stop collections abuse and take steps to improve your financial future. Hollywood bankruptcy lawyers at Anidjar & Levine are experienced and compassionate attorneys who are well-versed in this area of law. We can assess your situation for collections abuse and take appropriate measures if a creditor or debt collector is violating any laws. We offer guidance on how you can eliminate or rework your debt in bankruptcy to help ease your financial burden. We serve clients in Broward and Miami-Dade Counties. For a free and confidential consultation, call us at (800) 747-FREE or complete our contact us form.