Owing debt you can’t pay is a bad enough feeling. But when you are being harassed to pay debt you’ve already paid off, debt that has been discharged in bankruptcy, or even debt you never owed at all, the feeling goes from bad to frustrated and even angry.
Anyone who has ever watched television or dealt in-person with debt collectors in Cincinnati knows how sneaky they can be. Generally, there are certain rules set out by the Fair Debt Collection Practices Act that creditors must follow when calling about a debt. These dictate what they can and cannot say. But what if you never knew about the debt in the first place?
In an earlier post, we discussed how the Fair Debt Collection Practices Act protects you from creditor harassment. Essentially, the FDCPA prohibits debt collectors from engaging in harassing, deceptive, or unfair practices in order to collect from you. The FDCPA also prohibits debt collectors from trying to collect on time-barred debts.
Some Hamilton County, Ohio, residents live with the daily fear that their home, car or even their furniture and personal belongings will be taken away from them to satisfy a consumer debt on which they have defaulted. If you default on payments, your creditors have the legal right to take you to court to obtain a judgment that authorizes them to use wage garnishment and the forced sale of real and personal property to satisfy the debt.
We recently discussed the importance of seeking legal advice from a Hamilton County bankruptcy law attorney when creditors resort to wage garnishment to collect a consumer debt. Another form of debt collection procedure authorized by Ohio law that can be equally harmful to a debtor is the garnishment of property other than earnings or wages.
People injured in motor vehicle accidents who seek medical treatment from an Ohio hospital are becoming victims of aggressive debt collection practices. It appears from recent incidents that the hospital has chosen to bypass seeking payment from an injured patient's insurance company. Instead, it has been billing the patient directly at rates that are higher than those normally paid under the hospital's negotiated agreement with insurance companies.
Living from paycheck to paycheck can leave you confronting an unexpected expense with no way of paying it until your next payday. Payday loans help people to bridge the gap between paychecks with short-term but high-interest loans. Interest rates are usually in the double-digit range, but they can skyrocket when the fees charged by lenders are factored into them.
The abuses associated with debt collection agencies and creditor harassment are topics that have been well-documented in earlier blogs posted on this website. The Fair Debt Collection Practices Act places restrictions on allowable conduct by those companies and individuals in the business of collecting delinquent consumer debt. But the statute also gives consumers rights of their own that they can exercise when confronted by debt collection efforts.
Debt collectors have one job and one job only, to secure as much as money from you as possible. Many collectors go to great lengths, such as making harassing phone calls and using threatening language. Others are simply persistent while adhering to the laws. As you deal with a collector, even in the early stages, it can be intimidating.
When a person sinks into debt, the stress of maintaining the lifestyle they have become accustomed to while simultaneously meeting their financial obligations can be overwhelming. Debt collectors can be relentless in making a difficult situation worse and it is easy to feel like you are in a hopeless situation.