No one wants to fall behind on their mortgage, car payments or medical bills, but going into debt is sometimes unavoidable, and when these types of debts go unpaid and you start receiving harassing collection calls from creditors, it can turn what is already a distressing situation into an unbearable one. No one deserves to be harassed by creditors or collection agencies, but this behavior happens more often than you might think. Our attorneys at Resnik Hayes Moradi LLP are familiar with the strategies creditors use to bully debtors into paying and we can protect you from such intrusive and abusive debt collection tactics by unscrupulous creditors whose collection efforts escalate to harassment. If your creditors have begun calling you at home or at work looking for payment and you want the calls to stop, contact our trusted Los Angeles creditor harassment attorneys at Resnik Hayes Moradi LLP today to find out how we can help put an end to creditor harassment for you.
Experienced Creditor Harassment Attorneys
Unlawful harassment or abuse by creditors or collection agencies can put a great deal of stress on an individual or family that is already struggling with devastating financial problems. If you are overwhelmed by debt collection actions and creditor harassment in Los Angeles or the surrounding area, contacting an attorney who specializes in bankruptcy, debt relief and creditor harassment could mean the difference between continuing to struggle with debilitating debt and finally getting the fresh start you need to move towards a debt-free future. Obtaining relief from debt is possible and good Los Angeles bankruptcy attorneys will be able to help you determine whether declaring bankruptcy is the right decision in your case.
For many people, filing for bankruptcy is the most effective way to put an end to creditor harassment and free themselves from debts they can’t afford to pay. However, filing for bankruptcy is a complex process and it can be difficult for debtors with no previous bankruptcy experience to know if bankruptcy is the right choice. That is why we always recommend consulting a well-respected bankruptcy attorney with a proven record of success helping clients achieve debt relief when considering a bankruptcy filing. Our legal team at Resnik Hayes Moradi LLP has represented thousands of clients in Los Angeles and throughout Southern California in a wide variety of bankruptcy cases and we can ensure that you understand all of the options available to you under California law.
What is Creditor Harassment?
If you have fallen behind on your debts, you may be receiving threatening letters or phone calls at home or at work from creditors asking for payment, which is a form of creditor harassment. There are laws in place that protect you from creditor harassment and it is your right to hire an attorney and take action to stop the harassing collection calls or notices. Some examples of behavior that may be considered creditor harassment include the following:
- Calling repeatedly
- Calling you at work
- Calling at unreasonable times of the day
- Using obscene or offensive language
- Threatening arrest or jail time
- Discussing your debts or failure to pay with a third party
- Threatening seizure of your property
- Threatening violence against you or your family
- Failing to identify themselves as a bill collector
The Fair Debt Collection Practices Act
The right of a collection agency to collect debts from consumers is governed by the Fair Debt Collection Practices Act (FDCPA), which sets forth the standards for debt collection practices by bill collectors and prohibits certain behaviors that may be considered harassment. For instance, under the FDCPA, unpaid creditors seeking to collect on a debt are barred from calling you outside of certain specified times, making false threats, using auto-dial systems, or contacting your employer about your failure to pay your debts. Unfortunately, not all collection agencies comply with the FDCPA and when they don’t, their actions can have a significant adverse impact on consumers. If any creditor or collection agency exhibits harassing or abusive behavior that violates the standards of the FDCPA, such as any of the examples mentioned above, you may be able to sue for damages and your attorney’s fees.
Rosenthal Fair Debt Collection Practices Act
The state of California has its own version of the FDCPA, called the Rosenthal Fair Debt Collection Practices Act, which was signed into law in 2018. Under this law, creditors are required to inform debtors once their debt has become “time-barred,” meaning the debt is no longer collectible because the statute of limitations has expired. This statute of limitations applies to money that a consumer borrowed and didn’t repay, which may result in debt collection actions by the creditor. Under California law, creditors generally only have four years to file a lawsuit to collect an unpaid debt, but being time-barred from suing you doesn’t necessarily mean the creditor will stop calling you, sending you collection notices or reporting the debt to credit reporting agencies.
How to Deal with Creditor Harassment
Federal law protects consumers in Los Angeles and the surrounding area from creditor harassment and disrespectful, deceptive, threatening or abusive debt collection tactics. If you are dealing with harassment from a creditor in violation of the Fair Debt Collection Practices Act, there are steps you can take to protect yourself:
- If you receive a call at your place of employment, tell the creditor that you cannot take calls at work
- If you continue to receive creditor calls at work, keep a record of the calls
- Tell the creditor or collection agency in writing to stop contacting you and send the letter via certified mail (keep in mind that if you do this, the creditor can still file a lawsuit against you to collect the debt)
- If you receive notice from a creditor intending to initiate a debt collection lawsuit against you, contact an attorney immediately to discuss your legal rights
- If you fail to respond to a summons, a default judgment could be entered against you by the court, which could result in wage garnishment or a lien on your property
- If you decide to file for bankruptcy, list your creditors in your bankruptcy petition paperwork and the court will notify the creditors of your bankruptcy filing
- You may also choose to contact your creditors directly to let them know that you have filed for bankruptcy and to stop contacting you
How Bankruptcy Can Help
Filing for bankruptcy to end creditor harassment may seem like an overreaction, but the truth is that when you owe more than you can afford to pay, a bankruptcy filing is often a more favorable alternative to enduring calls from creditors and everything else that typically goes along with having unpaid debts, like wage garnishment and debt collection lawsuits. For many people, filing for bankruptcy is the best opportunity for them to finally take control of their debt and get their finances back on track. When you file a bankruptcy petition in Los Angeles, the “automatic stay” goes into effect, thereby putting an immediate stop to any attempts by creditors to get you to pay the debts you owe. For many people, this gives them the breathing room they need to regroup and find a better way to get a handle on their debt.
The “Automatic Stay”
When you file for Chapter 7 or Chapter 13 bankruptcy in Los Angeles, you can get instant relief from most debt collection efforts, including calls from creditors, wage garnishments and debt collection lawsuits, as well as any pending foreclosure on your home, eviction or repossession proceedings. In both Chapter 7 and Chapter 13 bankruptcy, creditor harassment must be halted during the automatic stay. If the harassing phone calls or letters continue, you can tell the creditor that you have filed for bankruptcy or direct the creditor to contact your bankruptcy attorney. If that doesn’t put a stop to the creditor harassment, you have the option of notifying the bankruptcy court, which may result in the creditor being sanctioned and fined or ordered to pay damages.
What Can Bankruptcy do for Me?
For many individuals in debt, filing for bankruptcy is the best way to stop creditor harassment immediately and definitively. If you are granted a discharge under Chapter 7 liquidation bankruptcy, any creditor calls for unpaid credit card debt, medical bills or any other unsecured debts included in the discharge will be eliminated along with the debts, meaning your creditors will no longer be allowed to pursue collection activity on these debts. Chapter 7 bankruptcy proceedings typically last only a few months and most unsecured debts are discharged when you seek relief under Chapter 7, which means you can free yourself from creditor harassment fairly quickly and for good. Reorganizing your debts under Chapter 13 bankruptcy and creating a repayment plan to pay back your creditors over time should also put a stop to any creditor calls associated with those reorganized debts.
Debt Collection Lawsuits
One of the biggest benefits of declaring bankruptcy is the fact that it puts a stop to collection activities like creditor harassment and debt collection lawsuits related to your unpaid debts (i.e. medical bills and credit card debts). Debt collection lawsuits typically occur when an individual has unpaid debts and the creditor sues for payment, but filing for bankruptcy can put a stop to these lawsuits and other debt collection actions by creditors. For example, if you receive a discharge under Chapter 7 bankruptcy, the court will issue a discharge order notifying your creditors, including any creditors with suits against you, that you are no longer personally liable for repaying the debts, and any collection lawsuits tied to these debts will be dismissed. Keep in mind that while bankruptcy can eliminate debt collection lawsuits, other lawsuits may continue despite your bankruptcy filing, such as pension loan repayment lawsuits, and divorce and child support proceedings may also continue.
Why Hire a Creditor Harassment Attorney?
Debt collection calls from creditors can be irritating and stressful, and if you are receiving the calls at work, they can even interfere with your work and damage your professional reputation. If you are being harassed by creditors, there are steps you can take to prevent your home and work life from being intruded on by disrespectful creditors and collection agencies and put a stop to the disruptive phone calls and letters once and for all. At Resnik Hayes Moradi LLP, our skilled Los Angeles creditor harassment attorneys have more than 50 years of collective legal experience and we know what it takes to end creditor harassment. Our legal team can help put a stop to abusive creditor calls and, if necessary, sue the collection agency or creditor for violating the guidelines of the Fair Debt Collection Practices Act or the Rosenthal Fair Debt Collection Practices Act. We can also give you all the information you need about Los Angeles bankruptcy, so you can decide whether filing for bankruptcy is the right move for your specific financial situation. We offer prospective clients a free initial consultation, so you can discuss your case with an experienced bankruptcy and creditor harassment attorney in Los Angeles with no obligation to retain our firm.
Our Los Angeles Creditor Harassment Attorneys Can Help
Every day, decent people in Southern California find themselves in serious financial trouble due to job loss, medical emergencies or other unexpected events and end up saddled with expensive debts they simply can’t afford to repay. And just because a person is struggling with debt does not mean that person deserves to be harassed or abused by threatening phone calls or letters from creditors. Creditors and collection agencies are held to a certain standard when it comes to their attempts to collect payment from debtors, and if at any time a creditor exhibits harassing or abusive behavior towards you, you have the right to pursue legal action to protect yourself. At Resnik Hayes Moradi LLP, our attorneys are committed to protecting the rights of consumers unjustly subjected to creditor harassment, threats and abuse, and we can help you hold your creditors accountable for their actions. Contact our firm today to discuss your case with a seasoned Los Angeles bankruptcy attorney.
“The bankruptcy attorneys at Resnik Hayes Moradi LLP provided us the peace of mind I so desperately needed. I was not sure what to do and I felt like I was at the end of my rope. They were there the entire step of the way and gave me the necessary information I needed to make the right choice for my family.” – Dave B.