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    How to Talk to Debt Collectors

    Last updated 9 months ago

    If you’ve already received calls demanding payment for owed debt, there are ways to handle the situation without hiding or disconnecting your phone. In fact, it can be helpful to actually communicate with your debt collectors, forcing them to identify themselves and provide full disclosure of the circumstances surrounding your debt. Establishing communication with your debt collector can also help you protect against abusive debt practices.

    Create a plan
    Before you borrow any amount of money, you should create a quick budget. If you’re investing in a more expensive financial choice like buying a house or car, you should make an extremely detailed budget, so that you are fully aware of what you can afford. Your lenders may try to convince you that you can afford a larger loan amount, but if you have a written, detailed budget you can help stay within your financial means.

    Do your research
    If you have fallen behind on your debt payments, you should look up the Fair Debt Collections Act and the statute of limitations on revolving debt in your state. The Fair Debt Collection Act contains 15 laws to protect against unfair debt collection practices, specifically detailing what kind of behavior is considered unacceptable. You can also request a debt verification letter, which requests that your collection company verify that it legally owns your debt obligation.

    Avoid conceding what you owe
    Your creditor will try to get you to agree to a repayment plan. Before accepting a payment plan, be careful about saying yes when they ask you questions about your debt, as they may be trying to reopen debt past the statute of limitations. They may also try to upset you so that you say something on tape that can be used against you in future court proceedings.

    Your first words to an unfamiliar debt collector should be asking for a debt verification letter. If you call Cutler & Associates, Ltd. our bankruptcy attorneys can stop collection calls, UCC 1 filings, and wage garnishments today. You can reach our Aurora and Schaumburg location by dialing (847) 868-2265.

    A Look at the Most Common Causes of Debt in the United States

    Last updated 9 months ago

    Even though some people do end up with considerable debt because of poor money management, it’s not the only cause of debt problems. Sometimes, unexpected events outside of someone’s control make it difficult for him or her to pay for monthly expenses. Here’s a look at some of the common causes of debt that aren’t related to excessive spending or poor money managing.

    Reduced Income
    Sometimes, income reduction makes it almost impossible for a family to pay for each of their monthly obligations, including, rent, food, and utilities. Other times, people continue paying the same expenses, without planning to adjust for this new income level. The trouble with underemployment is that many people view it as temporary, so they don’t start limiting their expenses to match their current income levels.

    More than half of marriages still end in divorce, but divorce is still an unexpected, stressful event to go through. Not only do couples filing for divorce have to pay expensive legal fees and court fees, but also they have to separate their incomes into two households. Filing for divorce also takes a huge financial toll on couples that used their combined earnings to qualify for a house mortgage or to take out a car loan.

    Medical Expenses
    Many doctors accept credit cards for payment and people increasingly rely on credit cards when they have no other option to pay for treatment. Sadly, the cost of medical bills can be so high that people are unable to pay off their balances, even when they have insurance coverage. For this reason, it’s important that every patient checks his or her medical bills carefully, looking for any mistakes. If a patient is still unable to pay for these bills, then he or she should look into negotiating a payment plan.

    Cutler & Associates, Ltd. has more than 25 years of experience in consumer bankruptcy law. Our Aurora bankruptcy attorneys offer free bankruptcy evaluations to help educate clients on their debt resolution options. To schedule a meeting at one of our seven convenient locations, call (847) 868-2265.


    Why Filing Bankruptcy Does Not Mean You Are Financially Irresponsible

    Last updated 9 months ago

    There is a common misconception that people who file for bankruptcy don’t understand how to manage their money. People assume that someone who declares bankruptcy is guilty of excessive credit card use, expensive purchases, and living outside of his or her means. While credit card debt does account for a number of bankruptcy petitions, there are many other reasons why people file for bankruptcy.

    Sudden job loss, divorce, or medical illness can all create a substantial financial burden to the average American family. Divorce is particularly expensive because it requires each person to pay legal fees and incur the cost of running two separate households. In addition, the high cost of medical care makes it difficult for anyone to cover fees associated with unexpected illness or injury. For some people, financial problems are brought on by an inability to find steady employment. According to U.S. News and World Report, 5.2 million Americans had been unemployed for at least six months as of April 2012.  

    If divorce or unexpected job loss has left you with financial problems, filing for bankruptcy may be your best solution. Call (847) 868-2265 to speak with an Aurora bankruptcy attorney at Cutler & Associates, Ltd. 

    Understanding Consumer Protection Laws

    Last updated 10 months ago

    As a main source of consumer protection law in the United States, the Fair Debt Collection Practices Act outlines acceptable behavior for collection agencies attempting to collect legitimate debts. The guidelines in the FDCPA apply to personal and household debts, including car loans, first and second mortgages, as well as credit card debt. Here’s a look at the following abusive and deceptive collection behaviors that violate the FDCPA.

    Communicating After Cease Request
    As a consumer, you have the right to send a written notice requesting no further communication from your creditors, except for any litigation settings. Once your creditor receives this written notice, he or she isn’t able to attempt debt collection or advise you that he or she plans to take legal action. You can also send a notice advising your collectors that it is unacceptable to contact you at your place of employment.

    Misrepresenting Debt
    Debt collectors are not allowed to misrepresent the size of your debt or the consequences of not paying your debt back. In addition, a debt collector is not allowed to impersonate a lawyer or member of a law enforcement agency in order to intimidate you and collect your debt. A debt collector is also not allowed to report false information on your credit report, or even threaten to make false statements on your credit history.

    Threatening Arrest or Legal Action
    If you’ve already sought attorney representation, your creditor isn’t allowed to contact you. At the same time, your creditor can’t disclose information about the nature of your debt to third parties, except for your spouse and bankruptcy attorney. Even though a creditor can pursue legal action against you, he or she can’t threaten to take legal action that isn’t permitted or that isn’t actually contemplated.

    Call (847) 868-2265 to schedule a consultation with a bankruptcy attorney at Cutler & Associates, Ltd. We have more than 25 years of consumer bankruptcy experience and have helped thousands of Chicago area residents resolve their debt issues. We have seven convenient locations, including an office in Aurora and Schaumburg.

    What Homeowners Need to Know About Filing Bankruptcy

    Last updated 10 months ago

    If you are a homeowner considering filing for bankruptcy, there are two petition options—Chapter 7 and Chapter 13 bankruptcy. Filing a Chapter 7 bankruptcy petition allows you to discharge your debts while creating a reaffirmation agreement with your lender. A Chapter 13 bankruptcy petition, on the other hand, allows you to keep your home by paying off your debt obligation under a supervised repayment plan.

    Automatic Stay Order
    As soon as you file for bankruptcy, the court will issue an automatic stay order, which ceases any creditor collection activity against you. This means that if you are late in making your mortgage payments, the automatic stay prevents your lender from continuing collection against you, unless your lender receives permission from the bankruptcy court.

    Bankruptcy Misconceptions
    There is a misconception that homeowners always lose their home during a bankruptcy case. In reality, the U.S. Bankruptcy Code provides some flexibility in avoiding foreclosure, whether you decide to file for Chapter 7 or Chapter 13 bankruptcy. In order for you to maximize the benefits of declaring bankruptcy, it’s important to choose the correct bankruptcy process for your finances. For example, Chapter 7 is the best option if you have limited financial resources. Chapter 13 is a better option if you are in a more stable financial position, as it allows you to pay off most, if not all, of your debt.

    Expert Assistance
    In order to protect your home and assets, you need to understand bankruptcy law as well as procedure. For this reason, it’s best to consult with an experienced bankruptcy attorney instead of trying to handle this complicated legal process alone. Your attorney can help you decide whether a Chapter 7 or a Chapter 13 petition is in your best financial interest.

    Since 1990, the bankruptcy attorneys at Cutler & Associates, Ltd. have provided quality representation to people in the Chicago area. By calling us today, we can stop collection calls, UCC 1 filings, and foreclosure proceedings. Call (847) 868-2265 to schedule a meeting at our Aurora or Schaumburg office.  


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