Your Consumer Rights In Debt And Bankruptcy
If you are currently in debt, you may have gotten used to screening your calls and leaving your mail unopened. This is understandable, given that creditors and debt collection agencies can be relentless in their pursuit of payment.
But you should know that, even in debt or bankruptcy, you have rights that need to be respected. Under federal bankruptcy laws and consumer protection laws, debtors are protected from creditor harassment and inappropriate collection practices. You are also protected against misconduct related to credit reporting and misuse of the information reported. Companies that violate these laws can face litigation and other financial consequences.
Bankruptcy Protections: The Automatic Stay
As soon as you file a petition for bankruptcy, the court will impose what’s known as an automatic stay. While the stay is in effect, all collection activities against you must immediately cease, and all creditors must stop contacting you. Even earlier than filing, if you are actively working with a bankruptcy attorney who has informed your creditor that you are represented, then your creditor is not allowed to contact you directly while you are represented.
While the stay is only temporary, it stops creditor harassment and gives you enough time to work with your lawyer on a more permanent solution to your debt issues. If you are contacted by a creditor during this time, you can simply refer them to your attorney.
Protection From Harassment And Credit Report Misconduct
If you owe money, you have probably received endless calls and letters from third-party debt collectors. Thankfully, the actions of these companies are regulated and limited by the Fair Debt Collection Practices Act. The FDCPA places strict limits on when, where, how and how often third-party debt collectors can contact you.
Unfortunately, many debt collectors violate these laws in pursuit of payment. The good news is that consumers who are aware of their rights can document the violations and sue the third-party debt collector for compensation.
A similar law, called the Fair Credit Reporting Act, is equally important. Your credit score and credit information largely determine your access to credit and the rates you are charged. Moreover, the data in your credit report is highly private and sensitive and must be protected. Under the FCRA, you can pursue legal action against credit reporting agencies for failing to correct errors in your credit report, mishandling your credit information or acting in other ways that unfairly jeopardize your access to credit.
Working With A Lawyer To Hold Violators Accountable
Our firm is proud to represent individuals who have been victimized by companies that violate the FDCPA or FCRA. But pursuing these cases must be a joint effort.
There are not enough resources for the federal government to properly enforce these two laws. In anticipation of this, legislators wrote the laws to be largely self-enforcing. Consumers can pursue compensation from companies that violate the laws if they are willing to carefully document when and how violations have occurred. Without this information, bringing a case is difficult.
If you believe you have evidence (or are willing to gather evidence) of FDCPA or FCRA violations and want to pursue legal action, please email us to obtain a claim assessment form.
Contact Us Online For A Free Assessment Of Your Case
Joshi Law Group serves clients in and around San Diego. To learn more about your rights in debt and bankruptcy, please fill out our online contact form.
We are a debt relief agency. We help people file for bankruptcy relief under the Bankruptcy Code.