Fast Answers to Your Most Pressing Debt Collection and Credit Reporting Questions
Can a collection company call multiple times per day? Can a creditor really increase your interest rate if you cannot pay your bills? If you have a question about debt collection, credit reporting, or any other issues related to consumer law, our FAQ section might provide the answer you need right now. If it doesn't, contact us using the contact form or the toll-free number and we'll answer it for you within 24 hours!
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How Do I Improve My Credit Score After Bankruptcy?
Do everything your Bankruptcy Attorney recommends PLUS this one "secret" thing:
Ok, it's not really a secret but it is the most overlooked method of improving your credit score after a bankruptcy discharge...
Review Your Credit Report For Errors.
That's right, your former creditors, lenders, and debt collectors are NOT updating your Credit Reports after your Bankruptcy. Really! There are credit reporting errors in as many as 50% of the post-bankruptcy discharge Credit Reports that are HURTING you, the consumer! Sounds crazy, but it's true.
For more information on how this happens, check out this video.
How do I fix a billing error that won't seem to go away?!
Step 1: Put it down in writing with proof, 2: Send in a copy by FAX or mail, 3: If it's not totally fixed WITHIN 15 DAYS, you send that proof to me for a free case evaluation.
Here in California, Billing "Errors" (or whatever the company who is torturing you wants to call it) may subject that company to legal liability and entitle you to compensation if you can prove that you gave them notice (that's why you write it down and include the proof) and they don't fix it within 15 days.
I contacted a consumer protection attorney but they said they don't deal with medical debt.
That's too bad because medical debt are one of the most error-prone areas of collections!
Do you have issues with a whole bunch of letters, phone calls from who-knows, and weird credit report entries?
Great! There are often illegal errors in there that may entitle you to elimination of that debt and payment of compensation. Seriously.
I’m a military servicemember, can debt collectors threaten to call my command?
No. Making threats to disclose your debt to another person is illegal (and could entitle you to compensation). Debt collectors know all about UCMJ Article 134 and how it’s supposedly illegal for you under military law not to pay them. That’s why they try so hard to get you to borrow from them in the first place! Check out this video which explains why you have nothing to fear.
When I send a debt validation letter directly to the creditor and get a response that might be useful in the dispute, do I do anything with that information on my 2nd dispute to the credit bureau?
Yes. Abolutely. Use it. Sometimes you'll request validation from the collector or creditor and they'll admit that you don't owe the debt or that they can't or won't validate it.
Put that admission in as an enclosure to your credit report dispute (do it in paper and use the mail so you can sue later if need be!) as more evidence that either:
a) the collector/creditor investigated your debt and it isn't valid or
b) that the collector/creditor didn't investigate your debt even though you provided some reason to dispute it.
If you have any other questions please don't hesitate to contact me online or call me directly at 415.802.0137.
What is "Arbitration" and What Does it Mean For Me?
Arbitration is where you don't get to go to court and have your case decided by a judge. Instead, you pay a fee to an arbitration company and they hire arbitrators (some of whom are retired judges) to decide your case instead. Here's the catch, the contract you have to sign in order to get phone services, a credit card, etc. usually specifies a particular company, AND, the business pays the larger portion of the arbitration fee (but you still have to pay some). So guess who the arbitrator is more likely to find in favor of?
Be sure to look for arbitration clauses in all of the contracts you sign (or click) and find out how to opt-out.
Can Debt Collectors Call My Friends?!
(They can call a third party one time only and only for "location information" which means your home address, home telephone number, and place of employment)
The reason why this answer is "No" is because the collector already has your "location information" because your account went through an electronic batch skip tracing protocol prior to it being assigned to the collection phone floor! They're just trying to pressure you (illegally) to pay.
This is one of the most common illegal collection tactics, and making matters worse for themselves, collectors will often tell that aunt, cousin, neighbor, or friend "I need to get an important message to ..." without even asking for any location information.
If this is happening to you, don't get embarrassed - get justice.
Are Rude Debt Collectors Illegal?
Believe it or not, the law gives you the right to be treated with truth, fairness, dignity, and respect - even if you owe a debt!
Remember, these collectors aren't your neighbor who is irritated that you haven't returned the lawmower - they're paid professionals wading through thousands of calls everyday just trying to push the right emotional buttons that will get their company paid. They don't even know you! They didn't even dial your number - a computer did it!
So, if something gets said that gets your hair standing up, you may well have a case that entitles you to compensation and perhaps even elimination of your debt! Keep a log of who said what and when and record those nasty calls in accordance with State's call-recording laws (does the recorded message come on every time saying "this call may be recorded for quality assurance?"), and then request a Free Case Evaluation.
Don't put up with it.
Can I Successfully Renegotiate My Private Student Loans?
Your private student loans (unlike your federal loans) were probably made with the help of a cosigner. The cosigner's current financial state will have a significant impace on your lender/servicer's willingness to deal. So, if your cosigner and you are both struggling, this is the time to seek modification!
Start early, somewhere between 30 and 120 days into delinquency, and don't give up. These private student loans CAN be discharged in bankruptcy if you qualify and can prove undue hardship. Attempting to renegotiate will also show that you were making a "good faith" effort to pay - which is important should you reach that stage.
Lender/servicers are under pressure by the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau - a Government agency - to provide mechanisms for relief for private student loan borrowers, so consider seeking help and/or filing a complaint with the CFPB if you feel you're being treated unfairly.
Lastly, there are millions of dollars of private student loans being collected by debt collectors. Some are using illegal tactics like threatening to sue on a debt that's too old, reporting an old debt on your credit report as new, using a robo-dialer to repeatedly call you without your consent, and trying to get you to agree to new terms in order to refresh the debt. If any of these are happening to you, get in touch with me immediately!
Can You Stop the Collection Calls That Aren't For Me?
If you are getting calls on your home or cell phone that are intended for someone else, YOU are also protected by Federal and State Consumer Protection Laws.
Maybe you told the caller that so-and-so doesn't live here but they keep calling. Maybe they're even calling your cell phone! Keep a little journal of those calls, record them in accordance with your State's call-recording laws (does the recorded message come on every time saying "this call may be recorded for quality assurance?"), and save all of the voicemails.
The law is designed to protect YOU against this kind of harassment, even though you're not the person they're looking for!
If it's happening to you, or has happened within the past four years and you've discovered who is doing it, request a Free Case Evaluation!