Debt Collection Harassment
Bankruptcy Attorney in Portland, Oregon
If you are dealing with unmanageable debts, filing for bankruptcy can be your last resort to solve debt problems. Bankruptcy can wipe out many bills, like credit card debts, overdue utility payments, medical bills, personal loans, and more. Filing bankruptcy can help you reorganize your finances, pursue debt settlement, and pay off a creditor. It is one of the most common debt-relief options that can help you get your finances back on track. This is a great opportunity for you to obtain financial freedom and have a fresh start.
When you file for either Chapter 7 or Chapter 13 bankruptcy, the automatic stay immediately goes into effect. The automatic stay prohibits all collection activities for debts incurred before the bankruptcy case was filed. If, after you file for bankruptcy, a debt collector or a creditor continues to collect debts, the court can sanction a violation of the automatic stay under its power of contempt. The court can impose fines, assess attorney’s fees, and order the collector to pay all damages. A credible Portland bankruptcy attorney can help you fight for your debtor’s rights.
Struggling with debt may cause stress and anxiety, especially when creditors start calling your phone and sending threatening letters. At Michael D. O’Brien & Associates, P.C., we have been providing legal services to people who have or are going through bankruptcy for decades. Our bankruptcy attorneys can provide valuable information on how best to protect yourself from creditor harassment.
Call us today at (503) 694-4445 and schedule a case evaluation.
What is the Automatic Stay and How Can It Help Me?
The bankruptcy filing allows a debtor to take advantage of protection known as the automatic stay. The stay acts as an injunction that stops creditors’ attempts to collect debts and enforce liens during the bankruptcy case. Once you declare bankruptcy, your assets will be transferred to the bankruptcy estate, and an automatic stay will protect you from your creditors.
As soon as you file your bankruptcy petition, the automatic stay will immediately go into place, alerting creditors, collectors, and collection agencies that collection actions against you must stop. It automatically stops a lawsuit, wage garnishment, foreclosure, and all other debt collection activities. A seasoned Portland bankruptcy lawyer can explain the various things that an automatic stay can do for you and your financial situation.
Keep in mind that the automatic stay is only temporary. The length of the automatic stay will depend on the outcome of your bankruptcy proceedings. While the automatic stay protects you from most creditors taking action to collect the debts, some creditors may remove this protection by petitioning the bankruptcy court. Generally, an automatic stay will last until the bankruptcy proceeding is finalized and the bankruptcy judge discharges your debt. However, if the creditors obtained a court order lifting the automatic stay, they can go ahead and continue the debt collection activities.
What Can I Do to Fight Against Creditor Harassment?
The Fair Debt Collection Practices Act (FDCPA) is a federal law that protects an individual with outstanding debts to credit card companies, banks, or other creditors. This act prohibits creditors and debt collectors from harassing or abusing people who owe money, also known as “debtors”. A debt collector or creditor’s harassment is illegal and is not tolerated by the Federal Trade Commission (FTC).
This federal law prohibits a debt collector from harassing phone calls, using profane and obscene language, threatening actions, unfair tactics, harassment, and deceptive techniques to collect money on behalf of the original creditor. However, this act cannot erase the debt nor restrict the lender from taking any necessary legal action. If a debt collection agent violates this act, the borrower will be allowed to file a lawsuit seeking damages.
According to the Federal Consumer Financial Protection Bureau, you can sue creditors that violate this law. You may bring a lawsuit against the debt collector in state court with the help of a reliable Portland, Oregon bankruptcy lawyer. In the lawsuit, you must prove that the debt collector had violated the FDCPA. This option is a lengthy process but can award the highest monetary damages.
Another way of dealing with debt collection harassment is by suing the creditor in a small claims court. This might be a better alternative for debtors who want to avoid the hassle of a formal state court lawsuit. Small claims courts allow debtors to argue their case without an attorney and through an expedited process. The disadvantage with going through small claims court is that the Court limits the number of damages you can get.
Can Creditors Object to a Discharged Debt?
If you have filed for Chapter 7 bankruptcy, a creditor may object to the court discharging your debt. The creditor must prove the reasons why your debts should not be discharged. They need to demonstrate any fraudulent acts committed such as:
- Failure to complete a course on personal financial management
- Failure to provide requested tax documents
- Destruction or concealment of books or records, or failure to account for lost assets
- Transfer or concealment of property with the intent to hinder, delay, or defraud creditors
Furthermore, creditors may also request the court to revoke a previous discharge. Dealing with debt collectors during bankruptcy can be legally complicated and complex. Therefore, it is important to have a competent bankruptcy attorney in Portland on your side.
Hire an Experienced Creditor Harassment Attorney Today!
In the process of debt collection, there are strict legal and ethical guidelines that must be followed. Violating the protections of the FDCPA is against the law. This kind of behavior from a debt collector can cause emotional hardship such as stress and anxiety. You have the right to sue a debt collector, creditor, or agency if they are harassing you.
Get the help you need right now to stop creditor harassment. If creditors are still contacting you after bankruptcy, it is imperative that you seek legal help and protection from our top-ranking Portland bankruptcy attorneys at Michael D. O’Brien & Associates, P.C. so that you can take the necessary legal actions. Our bankruptcy law firm will prove your case in a court of law and get you the monetary compensation you deserve. We can help you put an end to creditor harassment and sue creditors who have violated the law.