Collections And Creditor Harassment
Everett Collections and Creditor Harassment Attorney
Stop Abusive Debt Collection Practices in the Greater Seattle Area
At The Law Office of Ken Schneider, we are committed to helping our clients exercise their rights and fight back against unlawful and exploitative debt collection practices. We can also represent you in communications with creditors and help you understand your options for resolving delinquent debts. Our Everett collections and creditor harassment lawyer can help you release liens and stop garnishments through bankruptcy.
How “Collections” Works
When you default on a debt, there is a typical process of “collection.” First, the creditor’s in-house collection department will contact you. This will typically come in the form of a letter or phone call. If the in-house collection department cannot secure a solution after a certain amount of time, they will generally sell or assign your account to an external debt collection agency. They will attempt to collect the debt themselves. If they are unsuccessful in doing so, the agency will turn the case over to an attorney.
This attorney will file a collection lawsuit against you. If you legitimately owe the debt (and the collection agency has the right to collect on that debt), they will likely receive a judgment. This judgment allows the agency to garnish your wages or place liens on your property.
Ignoring creditors will almost certainly lead to a judgment against you, resulting in your losing so much more than what you originally owed. You should take proactive steps to address the debt you know you cannot pay. Our Everett collections and creditor harassment lawyer can work to stop garnishments and liens before they take effect.
Your Rights under The Fair Debt Collection Practices Act
A debt collection agency’s sole job is to compel you to pay what you owe. They may resort to ceaseless phone calls, threatening messages, in-person visits, and other predatory practices.
No matter how much you owe, you should never be subject to creditor harassment. Fortunately, debtors have rights under The Fair Debt Collection Practices Act. This federal law regulates when and how collection agencies can communicate with debtors.
Under the Fair Debt Collection Practices Act, collection agencies:
- Must send a “validation notice” within five days of initial contact. This notice should explain how much you owe and the name of the original creditor. It must also include a legal disclosure that you have a right to dispute the debt within 30 days and instructions for how to exercise that right.
- Must not call you at unreasonable or inconvenient hours. Debt collectors cannot call you before 8 AM or after 9 AM without your explicit permission.
- Must not call you at work if you ask them to stop. Debt collectors can attempt to contact you at your place of employment, but they must stop if they are asked to do so.
- Cannot use abusive or inflammatory language. Collection agents cannot harass you or threaten you with any sort of bodily harm.
- Cannot share information about your debt with third parties. Debt collectors can lawfully contact neighbors or relatives one time each in an effort to obtain your contact information. However, they cannot disclose that they work for a collection agency or discuss that you owe a debt.
You do not have to put up with unlawful creditor behavior. We are committed to helping you protect and enforce your rights. If you were subject to creditor harassment, you have the right to sue the offending collection agency in state or federal court within one year of the most recent incident. You may be able to recover damages and legal fees.
When creditors secure a judgment against you, they have the ability to garnish your wages and place liens on your property. If a creditor garnishes your wages, they can typically seize up to 25% of your paycheck until the underlying debt is settled. If a lien is placed on an asset, the creditor will have a legal claim on that asset and can seize funds from the sale of the property.
If you ignore your debts, you will likely at some point be subject to garnishments and/or liens. To avoid this outcome, you will need to take steps to resolve your debts.
Filing for bankruptcy can help you manage and discharge many types of debt. By completing a Chapter 7 bankruptcy or Chapter 13 bankruptcy filing, you generally have the right to eliminate unsecured debts, including credit card debt, medical debt, personal loans, and unpaid utility bills.
When underlying debts are discharged through bankruptcy, any associated liens will be released, and any garnishments will cease. In addition, filing will provide immediate relief by stopping ongoing wage garnishments for the duration of the bankruptcy case.
Filing for bankruptcy before creditor claims are reduced to judgments can reduce the cost of the process. If bankruptcy is not a viable option, our Everett collections and creditor harassment lawyer at The Law Office of Ken Schneider, P.S. can help attempt to negotiate a resolution that benefits all parties.
“Ken Schneider is a great attorney. He helped me and my family get through one of the toughest times in our lives. He was able to guide us and help pick the best plan that fit my family. I have recommended him to others and will continue.”- Reese
“I not only have come away with the best scenario in a difficult situation, but I also have come away with peace of mind and hope. He came highly recommended and I can highly recommend him to others.”- Melanie
“Ken was right on the case, knew the complex facts quickly and accurately, and was successful at holding the trustee accountable to bankruptcy law.”- Mike
“Ken has a vast knowledge of Chapters 7 and 13 and will counsel you and make sure that he guides you to help you make the right decision. We know of at least 2 other friends that have hired Ken and they are very happy with Ken’s results and knowledge.”- Shaun
“I cannot say enough good things about Mr. Schneider. He is so kind, upfront, and intelligent.”- Stacy