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When I File For Bankruptcy, Is There Anything I Can Do About All The Collection Agencies Coming After Me?

Yes, there is. In fact, there is a great deal you can do about collection agency harassment.

When you file a St. Louis bankruptcy, the court requires that you list all of your creditors. This list would include things like credit card companies, medical and doctor’s offices, payday loan companies, and any debt collectors that have been hired to collect on the past due debt. In a St. Louis Chapter 7 bankruptcy, these unsecured debts and obligations are discharged within a three to four month period. In a St. Louis Chapter 13 bankruptcy, some of your unsecured creditors are paid back over a three to five year period of time (but the goal would be to get the majority of such debt discharged).

But very often, collection agencies are overly aggressive in their tactics. And some will flat out break the law in their collection activities. The Fair Debt Collection Practices Act (FDCPA) is a federal statute that tightly regulates what a debt collector can and cannot do in its attempts to collect on a debt. For instance, the FDCPA makes it clear that if you are a collection agency, and you wish to call a person who owes on a debt, the collector has to identify itself as a debt collector in an attempt to collect on a debt. They have to inform you of that every time they contact you on the phone (or if they leave you a voice message).

Sometimes the collector will threaten you with litigation, or a wage garnishment, or a lawsuit, or extra fees and interest, or even jail time. If such a thing has happened to you, then it is quite likely that your federal consumer rights have been violated. But you do not have to take it lying down. You have the opportunity to fight back.

If a collection agency has violated your rights, the FDCPA states that they must pay you up to $1,000 in damages. In addition, the statute also states that you do not have to pay any upfront attorney fees to a lawyer in order for your consumer rights to be upheld. This means that if a violation can in fact be shown to have occurred, it is the collection agency that must pay your attorney fees for you (thus no cost to you). We have found that more often than not, collectors of every stripe are more than willing to violate the strictures of the FDCPA. This is because most people do not know that such a law exists, or they wrongly assume that they would have to pay a large sum of money to an attorney in order to get a positive result. But the law is very clear as to what your rights are, and you have every right to defend them.

We have two locations: in the Central West End, at 1 North Taylor, St. Louis, MO 63108; and in the Twin Cities of Festus / Crystal City, at 1000 Truman Blvd (Highway 61/67) 63019. The consultation to discuss your legal matters is free of charge. So contact us today to learn more!!

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