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Cincinnati Bankruptcy Law Blog

Abusive debt collection allegations lead to lawsuit

Consumers nationwide, including in Ohio, are protected against the abuse and harassment by creditors or their collection agents. The Fair Debt Collection Practices Act (FDCPA) says nobody may be harassed, oppressed or abused by debt collectors. Repetitive phone calls, profane or obscene language and threats of any kind are not allowed. Creditors or their agents must identify themselves when they make collection phone calls.

Furthermore, debt collectors may not be misleading or deceptive when they call consumers. Some callers pretend to be attorneys and threaten people with arrest or other legal action. In some cases, they threaten to do things that cannot legally be done or which they have no intention of carrying out. Victims of such abuse may benefit from keeping all documents related to the communication with abusive debt collectors. When consulting with an attorney in the event of a dispute, these records can be valuable.

Bankruptcy can remedy overwhelming credit card debt

There are many advantages to having credit cards and likely just as many reasons not to have them. The successful navigation of credit card debt depends on the account holder's ability to manage the payments. Many Ohio consumers file for bankruptcy protection to responsibly address past due payments that have simply become unmanageable. Often, the situation arises when unanticipated medical or other emergency expenses were charged to a card.

The best option, of course, is to pay the full outstanding amount every month. Some even suggest that, although it is called a credit card, it should never actually be used for credit. Typically, interest is only charged on balances that remain unpaid at the end of the month.

Bankruptcy: Too many credit cards can cause financial havoc

Consumers in Ohio who are concerned about their struggle to manage monthly credit card payments because they have too many cards may be considering closing some of their cards. However, under certain circumstances, this may not be a wise decision. Although it is true that overwhelming credit card debt issues can possibly be resolved by filing for bankruptcy, there may be other options.

Too many credit cards can easily cause too much spending, in which case, the consumer may want to close several of them to avoid accumulating more debt. However, this can adversely affect the person's credit score. Also, existing debt on those cards will still have to be paid. Keeping the cards without using them will not increase the debt load. However, cards that are subject to annual fees can cost the holder large amounts of money every year.

Unsure about filing for bankruptcy? Get answers to questions

Financial difficulties can lead to tension in relationships. While many Ohio couples may realize that personal bankruptcy may provide a fresh financial start, they may procrastinate because they have many unanswered questions. Although many may believe married couples have to file jointly for bankruptcy, this is a myth. One spouse can file individually.

Filing for bankruptcy is an important step to take, and it requires careful consideration because it will have an impact on the individual and even his or her family for a considerable time. To ensure informed and advantageous decisions are made, legal counsel may be sought. The bankruptcy law firm of Minnillo & Jenkins is equipped to provide individuals or couples with answers to all their questions related to debt relief options.

Bankruptcy is more beneficial than what myths make it out to be

Ohio consumers who are burdened with unmanageable debt may be exploring remedies to relieve the stress of creditor harassment and other actions. Knowledge is power, and consulting with an experienced bankruptcy attorney may provide the information necessary to make informed decisions. A lawyer may also dispel some of the myths about bankruptcy.

One misconception about bankruptcy is that the filer will lose everything. The truth is that, although Chapter 7 is known as the liquidation bankruptcy, exemptions exist, and assets required for a basic living will not be sold at auction. All assets are retained in a Chapter 13 bankruptcy. However, consumers must not expect all of their debts to be discharged. Bankruptcy will only discharge unsecured debts such as credit card debt and medical debt, but unpaid taxes, child and family support and student loans -- except under specific circumstances -- will remain the filer's responsibility.

Hoping to sell -- Hastings files for Chapter 11 bankruptcy

Hastings Entertainment -- a retail chain selling books, music, video games and movies at 126 locations in various states, including in Ohio -- has announced that it is seeking potential buyers. The company recently filed for Chapter 11 bankruptcy, seeking protection while waiting for interested purchasers. It will keep the doors open for another 30 days in anticipation of an offer.

Chapter 11 bankruptcy is a tool that allows businesses that are experiencing significant financial problems to reorganize their finances while maintaining operations. The company hopes to find a buyer to take over and keep the business going. However, it said that failure to sell would force the closure of all 126 stores or corporate downsizing.

Bankruptcy: Prioritize life's essentials in difficult times

Some Ohio consumers who are struggling to pay their bills find it difficult to prioritize which debts to pay first. Financial advisors suggest consumers pay those items that are essential in their lives. Typically, a roof over one's head is most important -- regardless of whether it is a mortgage or rental payment to be made. The second most important item is transport -- especially if a person needs a car to get to work. If there are no funds to pay these essentials, it may be time to consider bankruptcy.

Auto loans and mortgages are secured debts that are typically needed for basic survival. Foreclosure or eviction and repossession may result if these payments fall behind. Other essentials include food and utilities, and it may be necessary to cut down on take-outs and cook at home in order to keep the heat and lights on. 

Consider bankruptcy before draining retirement funds

Ohio consumers who are facing overwhelming debts might share the opinion that debts must be paid at all costs. It is often said that all avenues should be tried before filing for bankruptcy, though the most sensible remedy may be to file for personal bankruptcy before all assets such as retirement accounts are drained. Why would a consumer expose him or herself to debt collectors and other creditor's harassing actions rather than opt for the protection of bankruptcy?

The effect that bankruptcy has on a filer's credit score is often cited as the reason not to file. In most cases, by the time a person files for bankruptcy, all the past-due debts have already affected his or her credit score. There are certain fees to pay in connection with a bankruptcy, and it may be unwise to wait until there is no money left to file. Once consumer debts have been discharged in bankruptcy, it typically has a positive effect on his or her credit score.

Personal bankruptcy can provide a fresh financial start

Filing for bankruptcy in Ohio is a complicated process and may be best navigated with the guidance of an experienced bankruptcy attorney. He or she can explain the pros and cons of the different types of bankruptcies -- called chapters. Individuals typically have to do a means test to determine whether they qualify for Chapter 7 or Chapter 13 bankruptcy. Chapter 7 brings debt relief within months, while Chapter 13 takes between three and five years.

Chapter 13 bankruptcy is suitable for individuals who have fallen behind on car or mortgage payments and need extended time to pay it off. Most of their debts may be non-exempt such as child support or student loans, and they may not want to risk losing assets such as a car or jewelry. This chapter involves drawing up a court-approved reorganized payment plan to settle debts over a period of three to five years.

Filing for bankruptcy may be a complicated process

Job loss is not something wished upon anybody, and the financial stumbling blocks may be overwhelming. Even if expenses are cut to the absolute minimum, with no income, there may be no money to cover debt obligations. The U.S. Bankruptcy Code may offer an Ohio consumer the opportunity to have some debts discharged, allowing him or her to regain financial stability. Filing for bankruptcy, however, is not an option to choose without being fully informed of the pros and cons.

All options must be explored, and if bankruptcy is the choice, a means test must be completed that will compare the individual's income and debts to determine whether Chapter 13 or Chapter 7 would be the appropriate solution. All financial information must be gathered, including assets, income records over the past six months, all outstanding debts and more. A credit counseling program must be attended in the six months prior to filing for bankruptcy.

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