When it comes to debt collection, the calls, emails, and letters seem to never stop coming at you. It’s stressful and anxiety producing, and if you cannot pay off the debt, it makes you feel horrible and helpless. That’s why ZinnLaw of Fort Myers, FL has put together this short list of ways to make it stop. Here’s some steps you can take immediately.
Tell them to stop. If you ask them to, debt collectors must stop contacting you. Your request must be made in the form of a cease-and-desist letter. It cannot be a verbal request or a phone call. This step will stop the calls and letters, but it will not erase the debt. The money you owe doesn’t go away just because you told the collection agency to stop calling you. It’s not always wise to stop communications with a debt collector. Just because they can no longer contact you, the debt collector can still take action. They can file lawsuits against you, and by stopping communications, you’ll receive little-to-no information about what the debt collector is planning. Many debt collectors opt to file lawsuits against people who have stopped communication since they know they may not otherwise recover the debt. You can’t ignore a lawsuit if one is filed. You’ll need to hire a lawyer to represent you in the lawsuit. Otherwise, the debt collector can obtain a default judgment, or an automatic win, from the courts. Then, the collector can legally garnish your wages or seize your assets.
Ask for a payment plan or lowered payments. Collectors will generally back off if you set up a payment plan or negotiate a settlement. However, these negotiations can be difficult to navigate. Due to the nature of their work, collection agencies are inherently mistrustful. Oftentimes, creditors want proof of financial solvency, employment verification, a statement of medical status and more to show you have the means to make payments or are giving a factual account of your situation. Negotiations with debt collections are more fruitful when handled by a lawyer.
File for bankruptcy. Filing for bankruptcy is the most immediate way to stop harassing calls from collectors. As soon as we at ZinnLaw file your bankruptcy case, most of your creditors must legally stop collecting their debts. It’s called an “automatic stay” and will prevent foreclosure or repossession during bankruptcy proceedings. It also stops your wages from being garnished. If you decide to file bankruptcy, it may be several weeks before the case can be filed. You’ll need time to gather documentation, and as your attorney, we will need time to prepare the paperwork. Remember that calls from the collection agency won’t stop until the paperwork is filed with the court. Even if you tell creditors you’re filing, they can still contact you until the case is official.
Hire an attorney. Even if you decide not to move forward with filing for bankruptcy, hiring a bankruptcy attorney near you can stop you from receiving harassing calls. As your attorney, we can stop certain things from happening, such as preventing debt collectors from calling or filing lawsuits, which they may hesitate to do if you’ve already obtained legal representation. This is because a debt collection company ideally wants a default judgment against you so they can begin garnishing your wages or seizing your assets. But if you have an attorney, they know you’ll respond to the lawsuit, and they’ll have to fight out the case in court. If a creditor thinks you’re about to file for bankruptcy, they want to avoid paying the court filing fee and other costs associated with suing you.
We provide legal counsel for personal or business bankruptcy, contract law, construction law and litigation issues. We look forward to serving your needs. Our goal is to provide each of our clients with legal assistance that is accurate, personalized, courteous, and cost-effective.
“I’ve worked with and around lawyers in a professional capacity for over 36 years. When my wife and I needed a good lawyer to handle a legal matter, we were lucky to find Brian and ZinnLaw in Fort Myers. I would recommend the Zinn Law firm highly for handling any legal matter they’re willing to help you with.” — Larry N, Google Review