I recently wrote an article about a Skyway man that became the victim of two separate mortgage scams. He was assured that out of town law firms would help negotiate his mortgage debt if he paid them monthly. The article details key things you should be aware of when seeking help in refinancing your mortgage. As a general rule, you should never respond to unsolicited ads that you may receive via email or U.S. Mail. Instead, you should determine whether there are pro bono services that may assist you. In the alternative, you should always seek out an experienced attorney in your area about ways to avoid foreclosure.
Last month, I gave some basics on what to do if debt collectors call. This month I give several more tips in addressing debts.
- Don’t ignore collection agencies. It’s very easy to avoid phone calls or letters about delinquent bills. Repaying debt is hard especially if you do not have the money. But, it’s best to obtain information on the debt.
- After verifying the debt, you should see if there’s a possibility about negotiating a settlement or payment plan. If you do not feel comfortable about doing this, you may contact an attorney that can advocate on your behalf.
- If you are served with a lawsuit to collect the debt, you should contact an attorney immediately for them to review the lawsuit. If you do not answer the lawsuit, you may have a judgment entered against you. This may allow a collection agency to garner wages, bank accounts and even show up at your home and take property to satisfy the judgment.
- If you do communicate with a collection agency, make sure that you put everything in writing. Any agreements with collection agencies should be in writing before sending any money.
If you have any other questions about the debt collection process, please do not hesitate to contact me at (206) 684-9462.
What do you do when collection agencies start calling? If you fall behind in paying bills, you may receive unpleasant phone calls from a collection company attempting to collect on the overdue balance.
Debt collectors must abide by the Fair Debt Collection Practices Act (FDCPA). The FDCPA is a federal law put in place to address the underhanded tactics that some collection agencies undertake in trying to make people pay their debts. Make sure you know your rights.
Here are some things you should know:
- Make sure you owe the debt. Sometimes collection agencies may call you based on listings it receives and may be looking for someone with the same or similar name. Furthermore, the collection agency must provide original documentation that you owe the debt.
- Determine when you incurred the debt. There may be statute of limitations on whether you are still obligated to pay the debt.
- Pursuant to the FDCPA, debt collectors cannot do the falling:
- call before 8:00 am or after 9:00 pm;
- call you at your work if it is known your employer does not allow phone calls;
- harass, oppress or abuse you;
- lie to you or imply you have committed a crime;
- conceal their identity. They must tell you that they are attempting to collect a debt;
- disregard a written notice from you to cease further contact
These are only a few of your rights under the FDCPA. If a collection agency violates any of these rights, you may sue and receive up to a $1,000 in damages in addition to attorney fees.
If you think your rights are being violated, please call and we me at (206) 684-9462 and I may be able to help.
The Seattle Times picked up an AP story noting that the International Monetary Fund (IMF) has criticized the current HAMP programs in a recent report. These programs were implemented to stem the rash of foreclosures across America.
Fewer than 1 million mortgages have been modified by HAMP, falling short of its goal of 3-4 million.
Recently I attended a CLE which addressed the changes to the Foreclosure Fairness Act to take place in June 2012.
One of the trends that housing advocates see is the unfortunate realization that delinquencies will continue to increase. As a result, there will be more mediations between homeowners and lenders.
In addition, there will be an increase in short sales, loan modifications and deed in lieu of foreclosure. Also, there will be an increase in litigation resulting out of trustee misconduct and loan modification scams.