The Fair Debt Collection Practices Act and Finding Debt Assistance

No matter what your financial situation is, you don’t deserve to be harassed by creditors and collection agents. In fact, any aggressive or manipulative debt collection practices are illegal, thanks to the 1962 Fair Debt Collection Practices Act (FDCPA). If you’re struggling to meet debt payments each month, you may begin to see some of the nastier collection practices creditors employ. If you’re experiencing that kind of aggression, remember that it’s illegal and you can protect yourself against it. At Behm Law Group Ltd., we see many clients take action to protect themselves from creditors by finding effective debt assistance in Mankato, MN, and the surrounding area by filing a bankruptcy case.

 

While there are ways to protect yourself against aggressive creditor action without filing for bankruptcy, the advantage you gain with a bankruptcy petition and the subsequent automatic stay can be extremely impactful. As soon as you file a bankruptcy petition, the court places an automatic stay on the collection actions of your creditors. If they attempt to continue collections, they may be facing legal repercussions and significant punitive, monetary sanctions. With the additional protection of a Behm Law Group attorney, you can be sure you will be safe from creditor harassment for the duration of your bankruptcy case and afterward.

 

Even if you aren’t filing for bankruptcy, you can still trust in the FDCPA to protect you from creditor misconduct. Under the laws outlined in this act, creditors are prohibited from the following:

 

  1. Calling you without identifying themselves as your creditor, a collection agency, or other related party tasked with collecting on your debt.
  2. Calling you with excessive persistence.
  3. Calling you during inconvenient hours of the day or any time at night (9 pm to 8 am).
  4. Call you or otherwise contact you at your workplace if your employer does not allow it.
  5. Contacting any third parties other than your original creditor (if they are a hired collection agency), credit reporters, and your attorney. The exceptions to this are spouses, co-debtors, and parents of minor-age debtors—all of whom they can call unless you have a written request for them to stop contact.
  6. Claiming to be an attorney.
  7. Claiming you owe more money than you do or adding extra interest, fees, and charges that are not legally included in your contract.
  8. Sending you fake legal documents.
  9. Threatening you with violence.
  10. Using profanity or obscene language with you or other parties.
  11. Telling you that you will go to jail if you don’t pay the debt.
  12. Telling you that the non-payment of your debt is a criminal offense.

 

If you are experiencing any of these illegal actions with your creditors or collection agencies, you have the power to stop them. You can ask them directly to stop in a formal letter, which often works. You can also document their illegal actions if you suspect it will be used in court, file a complaint with the Federal Trade Commission (FTC), and/or sue them in court.

 

To learn more about creditor actions and bankruptcy debt assistance in Mankato, MN, contact Behm Law Group Ltd. at (507) 387-7200 or stephen@mankatobankruptcy.com.

How Bankruptcy Offered Debt Relief to Many During the 2008 Financial Crisis

 

During this unsure economic time, many of us look to the past to see how we reacted, what worked, and what didn’t. Since the first Great Depression in the U.S., there have been many ups and downs in the economy. One notable “down” was the 2008 financial crisis. The unexpected depression during that time was a recent crisis that took place in an economy very similar to the one today.

 

While there are many components to any depression, the 2008 crisis is one we can most likely prevent from occurring again. However, if any financial crises happen in our future, individuals and businesses alike can find solid ground and protection from the relief a bankruptcy case provides. If you’re struggling to make ends meet during these challenging times, Behm Law Group, Ltd. can help you find debt relief in Marshall, MN and the surrounding area through the process of filing for bankruptcy relief.

 

The financial crisis of 2008 saw many bankruptcies, including Lehman Brothers, who filed the largest case of all time. Individuals, small businesses, and Fortune 500 companies were all affected financially during this time. A combination of risky investments, the collapse of the housing market, and various other bad choices made by large players in Wall Street led to a severe financial crisis and a trickle-down effect that made everyone change the way they looked at our economy.

 

In addition to many of the large bankruptcy cases like Lehman Brothers, thousands of people across the U.S. found themselves filing bankruptcy to protect their homes and find debt relief. For individuals then (and now) there were two main options.

 

If their income was lower than the state median income, an individual could file for Chapter 7 bankruptcy and have their non-exempt assets sold in exchange for the discharge of debts. In a Chapter 7 case there are exemptions filers can use to protect the vast majority of their assets (in most cases people are able to protect all of their assets) from liquidation, depending on their financial circumstances. In 2007 there were 467,248 non-business Chapter 7 cases. After the crisis in 2008, that number jumped to 949,002 in 2009 and 1,105,534 in 2010.

 

A debtor’s other option was to file for Chapter 13 bankruptcy. This was an option for those with an income higher than the state median income who were ineligible for Chapter 7. Chapter 13 worked to restructure debts into a manageable repayment plan lasting three to five years. In 2007, there were 307,521 non-business Chapter 13 cases. In 2009, that number increased to 393,786, and in 2010, rose again to 430,583.

 

All of the bankruptcy cases born out of the 2008 crisis were effective in many ways, helping to rebalance our economy and provide much needed debt relief to filers. To learn more about filing for debt relief in Marshall, MN during today’s difficult financial times, contact Behm Law Group, Ltd. at (507) 387-7200 or stephen@mankatobankruptcy.com.

Debt Assistance in a Major Recession

Despite the $2.2 trillion stimulus package of the CARES (Coronavirus Aid, Relief, and Economic Security) Act in March 2020, the impacts the novel coronavirus is having on the local, national, and global economies will most likely continue, potentially causing a recession that may result in the same severities as the 2008 Great Recession. In fact, some studies show the economic downtown due to COVID-19 may become a full-blown depression. Despite the dire financial reports and record rise in unemployment rates, individuals and their communities can implement many methods to weather difficult financial times, no matter how widespread the fallout. If you’re already experiencing the effects of the current economic downturn, consider the many options for debt assistance in Owatonna, MN, and the surrounding area, including filing for bankruptcy. With the help of Behm Law Group Ltd., you can use the bankruptcy process for long-term, effective debt relief during this time of crisis.

 

The projected recession will affect millions of U.S. citizens and businesses for an unforeseeable amount of time. Because of this uncertainty, many people will have difficulties meeting debt payments on time and they may accumulate delinquencies. Some options always available, such as debt settlement, loan consolidation, and debt workout, require direct communication with creditors or include the involvement of third-party agencies. In addition, the CARES Act provides several other options for debt assistance, including loan extensions, and payments deferments and modifications. Likewise, some private lenders are providing assistance programs and case-by-case work outs of debt.

 

While all of these non-bankruptcy debt assistance options vary in effectiveness, presuming you find a trustworthy third-party who will work with you in good faith instead of one of the many bad actors who simply want to make money off of you and cut and run, as the months wear on, you may need to do more for sustained and permanent debt relief in the long term. For many people, this will be the filing of a bankruptcy petition.

 

Bankruptcy is one of the longest used debt assistance options during times of recession and depression in the United States. In the 2008 recession, over 4 million non-business bankruptcy cases resolved individual debts in the time it took to turn the economy around (between 2008-2010). The history of bankruptcy successes during times of economic recession is a sign of hope for the future.

 

Bankruptcy is an effective tool whether you file to resolve a large portion of credit card debt and medical bills as a direct result of the COVID-19 crisis, or if you need to restructure your mortgage and other secured debts into a manageable repayment plan. During this current health and financial crisis, the majority of debt increases will be medical bills and credit card debts, both of which are dischargeable in bankruptcy. Other common debts taken on in a recession, such as tax debts and car loans, can also be resolved with the bankruptcy process and payment terms that are more favorable to you can be established.

 

To learn more about using bankruptcy as a form of debt assistance in Owatonna, MN,

during a recession, contact Behm Law Group Ltd. at (507) 387-7200 or stephen@mankatobankruptcy.com today.