Debt: Questions & Responses

Bankruptcy Option in Foreclosure

Dear AAFC: My client is in foreclosure and the sheriff sale is scheduled for one week from now. They want to file a chapter 13 bankruptcy to stop the sale but were told by an attorney that they will need to register for financial counseling prior to filing. Can they get this done in time?

Beware of Foreclosure "Rescue" Scams

Dear AAFC: We are seeing so many people behind on their mortgage payments and many of them tell me they are desperate to keep their home – what realistic help is there for them? One was told that declaring bankruptcy is a better option than allowing the foreclosure – is that so?

Consumer Rights with Debt Collectors

Dear AAFC: It is my understanding that there is a law to stop creditors from calling you at your workplace. What is the procedure to get them to stop calling?

Dealing with Garnishments

Dear AAFC: I have a client who received a garnishment summons for some credit card debt she has. A copy of the summons was also sent to her bank which has since seized her checking account. My client is nervous to sign the papers. I know she has 20 days to reply but what are the best steps at this stage? What if she missed the hearing date or it is past the 20 days?

Dealing with Medical Debt Collections

Dear AAFC: One of my clients has sent payment plan letters to all their past medical bills owed, and in most cases the monthly payments have worked fine, but one collector is saying they need more than the monthly payment sent ($35), and they are requesting the client send in W-2 forms for the past two years as well as pay stubs, property tax and utility bills to prove that they cannot pay more. What are the options for my client?

Debt Collectors’ Fees

Dear AAFC: Is it legal for a collector to still charge recovery fees after someone has paid them the full debt balance 9 months ago?

Private Student Loans

Dear AAFC: I have a client who has $91,000 in private student loans and the minimum monthly payment ($763) leaves no money for living expenses. Also, she is pregnant and due in 6 months. The lenders say the only options they have require the interest to keep accruing, so that future payments would be even higher. What suggestions can we offer her?

Settlement Offers from a Debt Collector

Dear AAFC: I work in a homebuyer education program and often see clients who have charged-off debts on their credit report. Several of them have gotten settlement offers from debt collectors and came to me asking whether they should pay off their debts this way – what should I tell them?

Tackling Numerous Debts

Dear AAFC: I am working with a client to address old debts on her credit report and I want to make sure to give her good advice. She has a student loan, a medical bill sold to a collection agency, two credit cards that have been charged off and an old checking account that is closed but listed as I1 on her report. All the other debts are listed as O9 or I9. How should she tackle these?

Utility Bills from Past Residences

Dear AAFC: I am working with a client who has an electric bill on her credit report which she tells me is not hers. She says that the electricity has been included in her rent for past apartments and that the current electric bill is up to date. How does she prove to the electric company that it is not her bill, or do they have to provide proof that it is her bill?
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