Ignoring Debt Collectors
If you are facing a mounting pile of bills, the chances are that you are also receiving calls from debt collectors attempting to collect payment on behalf of your creditors. There may be a temptation to simply ignore the phone calls and letters from these debt collectors because the situation seems overwhelming. You may want to consider filing for bankruptcy to obtain a financial fresh start. Whatever your decision may be, you should know that you have legal rights to protect you against the harassment of debt collectors.
Fair Debt Collection Practices Act
The Fair Debt Collection Practices Act (FDCPA) does allow debt collectors to attempt to collect a valid debt on behalf of a creditor. Debt collectors can be collection agencies, third-party companies, or even attorneys. If you are receiving phone calls or letters from a debt collector with respect to a valid debt, ignoring your creditors or debt collectors attempting to collect a valid debt is not the best way to handle the situation.
If you owe a debt to a creditor, and a debt collector has attempted to collect that debt over a series of weeks or months, the case will likely escalate to the filing of a lawsuit in an attempt to collect the money owed. If a debt collector or creditor has a valid claim, the court will likely find in their favor, and issue a money judgment against you. This money judgment will allow a debt collector or creditor additional legal ways to obtain the money from you for the debt you owe to them. Again, ignoring the actions of the creditor is not a good way to deal with this problem.
Possible Actions After a Money Judgment
If a creditor or debt collector receives a money judgment in a court of law regarding the debt you owe, they may attempt to collect that debt in the following ways:
- Wage Garnishment. A creditor can actually request that the court garnish your wages. A wage garnishment is where an employer is required by a court of law to submit money to a creditor who has a judgment against you, from your paycheck prior to issuing your paycheck to pay your debt. You will not have any authority to prevent your employer from following this action, as it will be legally required for them to do so.
- Bank Account Levy. A creditor can require any bank that holds either a checking or savings account on your behalf to legally withdraw money and submit it to them without your authorization, to satisfy the debt.
- Lien Against Real Estate. A creditor has the legal right to place a lien against any real estate that you may own.
Let Us Help You Today
Failing to handle your financial situation regarding unpaid debts can be financially devastating, especially if a money judgment is entered against you in a court of law. Visit with one of our experienced attorneys to help you understand your legal rights and determine if bankruptcy would be a good option in your circumstances. Contact one of our experienced West Palm Beach bankruptcy attorneys at Kelley, Fulton & Kaplan at 561-264-6850 for a free consultation regarding what type of bankruptcy you should file, how to go about the filing process, which of your debts will be discharged, and how to handle your creditors and debt collectors during this process.