Do I have any rights against creditors? 18 Answers as of January 14, 2011

I am starting to receive multiple calls a day from a collections agency. I have answered the call and tried to negotiate a payment with them, but none of the offers are reasonable with my current financial situation. What will happen if I can't pay the debt for a few more months?

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Law Office of Aaron Nielson
Law Office of Aaron Nielson | Aaron Nielson
Yes you have rights against creditors. There are lots of options including bankruptcy and the FDCPA. Contact an attorney to discuss possible solutions for your situation.
Answer Applies to: Washington
Replied: 1/14/2011
Christopher Legal Group
Christopher Legal Group | Shawn Christopher
You have rights that should protect you from illegal collection practices, but nothing that forces a creditor to accept a settlement. If you stop making payments, a creditor may eventually sue. They could get a judgment which could lead to a garnishment or other collection efforts.
Answer Applies to: Nevada
Replied: 1/12/2011
Law Offices of Daniel A. Higson
Law Offices of Daniel A. Higson | Daniel A. Higson
They may file lawsuits against you.
Answer Applies to: California
Replied: 1/10/2011
Mankus & Marchan, LTD
Mankus & Marchan, LTD | Tony Mankus
The Fair Debt Collection Practices Act (15 USC 1692, et seq.) prohibits certain abusive practices by debt collection agencies against consumer debtors. You can request IN WRITING that the collection agency cease to make any further communication with you. Additional information on this statute can be obtained through the Internet.
Answer Applies to: Illinois
Replied: 1/10/2011
George Hoselton Bankruptcy Attorney
George Hoselton Bankruptcy Attorney | George Hoselton
The creditors have the right to continue to call you and can sue you for lack of payment. A good resource for consumers dealing with collections is:
Answer Applies to: Oregon
Replied: 1/10/2011
    The Law Office of Mark J. Markus
    The Law Office of Mark J. Markus | Mark Markus
    Eventually the creditors will file lawsuits against you, obtain judgment, and then try to collect on the judgment. This usually means garnishment of a portion of wages, seizure of bank accounts, liens against property, etc. depending on the laws of your state and other factors. Bankruptcy, of course, would stop all of that.
    Answer Applies to: California
    Replied: 1/9/2011
    Greifendorff Law Offices, PC
    Greifendorff Law Offices, PC | Christine Wilton
    The Creditors must abide by the Fair Debt Collection Practices Act and can continue to pursue collection of debts owed to them including filing a lawsuit against you; and garnishing your wages after they receive a judgment. Filing bankruptcy stops this with the automatic stay.
    Answer Applies to: California
    Replied: 1/9/2011
    Janet A. Lawson Bankruptcy Attorney
    Janet A. Lawson Bankruptcy Attorney | Janet Lawson
    You can sent them a "do not call" letter, that will stop the calls. Eventually they will sue you. Go to NACBA.ORG and find a good lawyer in your area.
    Answer Applies to: California
    Replied: 1/8/2011
    Gus Johnson Attorney at Law
    Gus Johnson Attorney at Law | Gus Johnson
    Your questions are too far ranging to address in this format, I suggest you consult with an attorney.
    Answer Applies to: South Dakota
    Replied: 1/8/2011
    Ursula G. Barrios Law
    Ursula G. Barrios Law | Guillermo Machado
    If you cannot pay your debts, your creditors will seek to collect through the courts (i.e., lawsuit). Once you are sued, you can eventually be garnished or your bank accounts can be levied.To avoid this, file for bankrupcty, eliminate your debts and rebuild your credit after the fact. Your credit is no good to you now if you can't repay your debts.

    Rights against creditors found under Rosenthal Act of California and FDCPA.
    Answer Applies to: California
    Replied: 1/8/2011
    Bankruptcy Law Office of Robert Weed
    Bankruptcy Law Office of Robert Weed | Robert Weed
    If you tell them on the phone to call your lawyer or tell them in writing that you refuse to pay then they have to stop calling you. What happens next depends on your state law. Around here, court papers start coming about a year to two years after you stop paying. In Virginia they can garnish your bank account or your paycheck after they get a court judgment against you. In some states they can't.

    If you get court papers from debt collectors, sometimes you can beat them in court because they cannot prove the amount of the debt or whether they are really the owners of it. You do not want to ignore court papers.

    Filing bankruptcy for many people is a lot simpler than trying to battle with the debt collectors, but that depends on a lot of different things. Talking to a lawyer when you can't pay your debts is a smart thing to do.
    Answer Applies to: Virginia
    Replied: 1/8/2011
    Law Office of David P. Farrell
    Law Office of David P. Farrell | David Farrell
    If you are obligated on the debts and you quit paying, your creditors may file suit and get a judgment against you. In California judgments accrue interest at 10 percent per annum, and may be enforced by the judgment creditor using various statutory collection methods, including wage garnishment and bank levies. If you feel you will be able to begin making payments in the near future, communicate this to your creditors. Doing so may keep them from taking legal action against you. If you are considering filing bankruptcy, contact an attorney like me to discuss your situation.
    Answer Applies to: California
    Replied: 1/7/2011
    Judith A. Runyon, Esq. Attorney at Law
    Judith A. Runyon, Esq. Attorney at Law | Judith A. Runyon
    They will probably file a law suit against you for the debt you owe to them.
    Answer Applies to: California
    Replied: 1/7/2011
    High Desert Bankruptcy Center
    High Desert Bankruptcy Center | Stephen Brittain
    Yes, you have rights against creditors. For example, creditors can't call at certain times of the day. Also, if you tell them not to call you again, they must honor that wish. (However, if they can't call, their only other solution is to sue you. So if you tell them not to call then you are inviting a law suit.)

    With the current economic mess creditors are filing law suits quicker than before.

    You also asked what will happen if you don't pay your creditors for several more months. Well, they will probably file a suit against you.

    After they have a judgment against you the creditor can then levy your bank account or garnish your wages. Here in California a creditor can take up to 25% of each pay check in a wage garnishment. Remember... a wage garnishment is a ongoing matter. The creditor will continue to take up to 25% of your wages each check with interest until he is paid in full. On a bank levy it is a one-time shot. The creditor will get all of your account up to the amount of judgment with interest. Then to do another bank levy the creditor must get another order from the court allowing him to go after the bank account.

    What can you do to stop this? Bankruptcy will stop the creditor dead in his tracks. No more wage garnishment. No more bank levies. No more annoying creditor calls. No more nothing. It will stop immediately.

    One last things...people with debt problems are tremendous procrastinators. If they get sued they tend to wait until the last minute to contact an attorney. They will ignore a law suit and allow the creditor to take a judgment against them. DON'T DO THIS. Why? Because it is common for creditors to claim fraud, and fraud is not dischargeable in bankruptcy.So if the creditor gets a judgment against you for fraud then you can't get rid of it in bankruptcy.

    The best advice is to act early. See a bankruptcy attorney and talk this over with him.
    Answer Applies to: California
    Replied: 1/7/2011
    Carballo Law Offices
    Carballo Law Offices | Tony E. Carballo
    If you cannot pay your debts then the creditors (or at least some of them) will (sooner or later) sue you for the money plus interest and attorneys' fees in the Superior Court of the county where you live. They will obtain judgments sooner or later and enforce those judgments by garnishing your wages, levying your bank account, filing an "abstract of judgment" with the County Recorder's Office (which will become a lien on any real estate you might own now or buy in the future) and force you to go to court to answer questions under oath about your income, bank accounts, property, etc. (and if you don't go then you can be arrested for violating the court order to appear for an examination of debtor under oath). Once there are judgments against you then you will have to hide your property and income from creditors for many years. When you least expect it you can have money taken from your bank account or paycheck. You cannot ever repair your credit history with all the outstanding debt and judgments listed in your credit report.

    You can defend yourself in the Superior Court if you are sued but eventually you will lose each case if in fact you do owe the money for which you are being sued. There is no legal right not to pay what is owed except in a bankruptcy case.

    You have many rights if you want the creditors not to call you and you can control the times when they can call, where they can call and how often. Send each of them a certified letter telling them not to call you at all and asking that you be contacted only by U.S. Mail. Most will comply with your request but some will ignore the law and continue to harass you.

    You should discuss your situation with a local bankruptcy attorney to see if that is at least an option you should consider. Bankruptcy may discharge (wipe out) all or most of your debts and you can get a fresh financial start in life. Why live constantly being harassed and in fear of having your property taken if federal bankruptcy law offers the opportunity for a better life and rebuilding your credit history in just a few years!
    Answer Applies to: California
    Replied: 1/7/2011
    Law Offices of Lady Justice
    Law Offices of Lady Justice | Mona Patel
    If you file a bankruptcy, then all the harassing phone calls will stop immediately. You can get a fresh start debt free.
    Answer Applies to: California
    Replied: 1/7/2011
    DiManna Law Office, LLC.
    DiManna Law Office, LLC. | Dawn DiManna
    There are many options that creditors have to pursue against you, but it depends on your asset situation. You should consult an attorney so they can advise you with your specific situation.
    Answer Applies to: New Hampshire
    Replied: 1/7/2011
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