Creditor harassment, obnoxious phone calls to your house and job, lawsuits and garnishments overwhelm and stress people out. Ripping open your paycheck to see if there is a garnishment is not a good feeling. Creditor harassment and debt collectors make ridiculous threats to get you to pay. Creditors say harassing things like they will have you arrested or they will take money from your bank account if you don’t start making payments.
Lies, goddamn lies, and creditors.
Here are some of my favorites:
- You will be arrested if you don’t start making payments.
- They will take the money from your bank account immediately.
- Your check will be garnished this week.
- Debtor’s prisons no longer exist. I assure you a cop is not going to arrest you because Visa said so.
- Your bank will only allow a creditor access if you give them permission.
- Garnishment will only happen after you have been sued and there is a judgment. Even then it will be a lawyer, and not a debt collector, doing the garnishing.
Having said all of that, threatening calls and letters is a symptom of a much bigger problem: You can’t afford to pay your debt. That’s the real problem. Whether it is because of job loss, wage reduction, overwhelming medical debt, the result is the same. There are only two ways I know of that are guaranteed to work to stop the collections. Either pay off the debt or file for bankruptcy protection.
Bankruptcy and the automatic stay.
Once you file for bankruptcy, the “automatic stay” kicks in. Your creditors are no longer allowed to contact you, write you, call you, sue you, garnish you, seize your property, etc. When you file your bankruptcy petition, all of your creditors are listed. The bankruptcy court mails notices to the creditors to inform them of the bankruptcy. If the contact continues, the creditor is in contempt of court and can be sanctioned for violating the automatic stay. In some cases, a debtor will be awarded damages and attorney fees for having to enforce the stay against the willful violator.
“H” also stands for:
Christopher McAvoy is a Taylor, Michigan attorney and consumer bankruptcy lawyer who helps people in the Downriver area file Chapter 7 and Chapter 13 Bankruptcy. To find out more about bankruptcy, click here for contact info.