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Can't Pay Credit Card Bills? I can HELP!


Credit card companies are blood sucking vipers. They will offer you credit on the one hand and take your soul with the other!

Who needs this advice?

This blog is for people out there who cannot pay their credit card bills. If you have lost your job or possibly have suffered from a debilitating illness, whatever the reason and you cannot pay your credit card bills...well this article is for you.

I'm sure you have already had many a sleepless night wondering what you are going to do, maybe you've had good credit your whole life, maybe you've already tried credit card consolidation and now that you missed a payment or two and your interest rate has sky-rocketed, your FICA score has plummeted and you know that you can't pay your credit card bills. Well, what I am going to tell you may go against the grain of many but here is my advice...are you ready, hmmm?

If you aren't working, if you are renting your home or apartment or sleeping on your brother-in-law's couch, if you are barely able to buy food for your kids:


That's right, don't pay them. Don't file for bankruptcy and for goodness sake don't sign up with a consumer credit counseling company. All these people will do is take what little money you have left and leave you penniless, with bad credit and in a worse position than if you had never contacted them.

What NOT to do..

If you file bankruptcy, you will have to pay thousands of dollars to do it and then it will be on your credit report for ten years. Depending on where you live if you simply can't pay your credit card bills then STOP trying to pay them. Your credit will be clean after possibly six years (in some states as little as three). Whatever you do, DON'T TALK TO THEM. If you talk to them, you will be giving the credit card companies or banks the advantage and you will also be setting the clock back to zero on the six years. You will have to deal with phone calls but that is easily remedied by getting a cellphone and screening your calls. If you are not working, the credit card companies cannot take your unemployment checks. If you are working they can sue you and garnish your wages, but unless you owe them a lot of money they probably aren't going to go through the trouble and expense of doing is a risk. Furthermore, if you are summoned to court make the company provide verification of the debt and proof that they own the debt. If they cannot supply this (and almost all of them cannot) you win!

Don't even think of calling a consumer credit counseling company!

All these people will tell you to do (after taking their fee which is quite substantial) is the same thing I am telling you to do right now (only I'm not charging you a fee). They will tell you to stop paying your bills, then after a certain amount of time the credit card companies will start negotiating with you. They will offer to settle with you for sometimes as much as half as much as you owe them but if you hold out you may be able to settle for 10 cents on the dollar. If you can settle with them, do so, if not you will have to run the risk of harassing phone calls (get a cell phone and only answer calls that are identified) and possibly a lawsuit. However, they aren't going to take you to court if you don't have any money. It's not worth their time.

There are more and more instances of people who owe money being issued a bench warrant for their arrest. These instances usually involve failure to appear in court. So if you are summoned to court, by all means go. What is the worst that they can do? The worse thing that can happen is that you will be given a judgment on your credit record. In many instances if they cannot prove that they own the debt they debt is unenforceable but that is another story. So what if your credit is ruined, the credit system is a contrived system put in place to control you. Stop using credit completely.

For the Naysayers...

Now, for all of you out there who think that this is awful, who think that I am encouraging irresponsibility all I have to say is these are the same BANKS that stole millions of dollars in bail out money using a Ponzie scheme that they benefited from. They took a risk, lost, could not pay their bills and now we are paying their bills for them! These are the same banks that have lobbied (otherwise known as bribing congress) for decades to stack the deck against the consumer. These are the same banks that have brought this country to the worst depression since 1929. So, don't cry to me about irresponsibility,that is exactly what the banks want you to feel, they want you to keep on that hamster mill until they have sucked every ounce of blood from you. You'd better believe that the CEO's of these banks aren't sleeping on their brother-in-laws couch or staying up nights worrying about how to pay the electric bill. Not only that but the money that was lent to you was made out of thin air! That's right, the money that banks lend to you they CREATE out of thin air, it's not your neighbors money, it's not the "banks" money all it is are digits in a computer made up. It's called the fractional reserve system and it's the biggest scam you never heard of!

Now, if you own a couple of houses or have any kind of real assets you then may have to consider filing bankruptcy. If that is the case you should speak with a bankruptcy attorney because if you stop paying your credit card bills they may go after your assets. But, if you are like many of us who have nothing, then just stop paying, there is nothing they can do but give you a bad credit rating and guess what, your credit is probably already bad!

In the end, it's up to you. You can try to pay them but if you can't pay your credit card bills, don't! Just don't file for bankruptcy and don't sign on with a consumer credit counseling company, if you can't pay your bills just don't pay them until they knock them down to half, then wait until they knock them down to 10 cents on the dollar, then think about it :)

Good Luck



jo on November 06, 2015:

i have a letter from discover card saying pending attorney placement, if i dont call and make payment arrangements before nov 30, they will forward my account to a attorney to seek judgement against me... i stopped paying around april now this, i have no income at all on food stamps that's it i live with my brother, my mom died a month ago i tired caling explaining the situation i'm in that i cannot aford to pay them they want 29 a month by savings or checking account but i cant aford that i asked if i can send 10.00 money order every month and they refused it saying as low as they can go is 29 and not by mail.. i was told to call ask my family members if i can use one of thier checking or saving accounts to pay them i said my family is torn apart and we not talking to each other.. i was told if i dont make make payments they seeking legal action and was told to call back when i have money threw a account, i dont know what to do it's for 1882.07 cause of interest... i'm 22 and have issues still pending ssi cause of my problems but that can take years to get approved but i have no money no valuables what should i do

John sith on October 20, 2015:

my wife and I filed for bankruptcy 2 years ago

Scroll to Continue

We now have about 6 credit cards that have been issued to us and owe about 10 K

3 or in her name and 3 in mine

We have recently spent all the money she had in retirement

And only have social security and my small pension

We live in n c have a mortgage of 125 k equity is 40k between the both of us

We live in N C

Are we judgment proof..

Frank on September 28, 2015:

Brie you say in seniors filing bankruptcy...

If a bank account has only social security funds and less than two times the monthly amount in the account then a bank levy cannot be done. In other words your money cannot be touched in your bank account if you have less than 2 times your monthly social security check.

What happens if you have Social Security and Veterans Benefits in the same bank account and there both exempt income?

Does the two times the monthly income still apply?

Brie Hoffman (author) from Manhattan on June 26, 2015:

Sorry Frank, I work everyday and besides I don't own a car.

Frank on June 26, 2015:

Brie.. Here's a idea... Since your now living in New York State.. How about going to the New York State Fair located in Syracuse, New York at the State Fair Grounds.. I think it's about 6 hours from where you are by bus or drive... You should read about it down there.....

Brie Hoffman (author) from Manhattan on June 20, 2015:

No..I left for about a year and a half but that was over 9 months ago. I'm here and loving it.

Frank on June 20, 2015:

Hi Brie... I read someplace that you leaving Manhattan?

Brie Hoffman (author) from Manhattan on May 24, 2015:

Just stop paying the bills, write to your creditors and tell them you have no money, no assets and only collect SS, tell them not to call (if they call after you tell them that YOU can SUE them) and then don't answer your phone when a creditor calls. You don't have to file bankruptcy if you don't have any assets or income..just quit paying.

junebug on May 24, 2015:

I am a 69 yr old widow and I owe about thirty five thousand dollars on cc's and I only get ss but I gave my son all of my property a little more than a year ago and have nothing, so I went down the other day to file bankruptsy and the attorney said that since I gave this away I just can't file for four years after I gave it away but I owed him for medical bills and I really needed to give it to him, what can I do as the creditors don't sleep.

Brie Hoffman (author) from Manhattan on May 22, 2015:

Well Frank..I am shopping my invention around right now so I don't want to say just yet. Once I get a licensing deal then I will tell you ;)

Frank on May 22, 2015:

Ok Brie I'm curious.. What do you invent??

Of course you like exploring Manhattan you live there..

I also see you have been into a lot of other things as well.. That's a great asset to have.

Plus your still young and that's a plus.

I see we like some of the same things... Great minds think alike they say..

Brie Hoffman (author) from Manhattan on May 22, 2015:

You know Frank, you could earn some money on the side baking cakes for people if you are so inclined.

Me, I am not retired ..unfortunately :) I am self-employed as a care-giver for 2 women in Manhattan but I also invent things and I used to write ;) I've also been a school teacher, realtor and B&B owner among other things. I will be 54 next month. I enjoy exploring Manhattan, writing, reading, photography, cooking, going to the movies and out to dinner with friends.

Frank on May 22, 2015:

Hi Brie... Well before I retired I was a baker.. I worked in a small Italian bakery for 35 years making Italian bread and rolls.. I started out as a pastry baker and cake decorator, but over time I changed to making bread and rolls..

I just turned to 69 years old in April..

What I do now??? Well I go to the Turning Stone Casino quite a bit to donate. I like going out with my best friend for coffee and just hanging out.. I also watch Fox News a lot and I enjoy action movies.

What about you? Same questions you asked me..

Have a great day....

Brie Hoffman (author) from Manhattan on May 20, 2015:

Thanks Frank. What did you do before you retired? How old are you? And what do you like to do now?

Frank on May 19, 2015:

Brie.. I read quite a few of your articles and Is Bankruptcy a Good Option for the Elderly is really interesting.

There is quite a few seniors filing for bankruptcy that more than likely don't have to..

Most attorneys will tell you if your judgment proof or not but there are the others that only think of the money they can make.

I also like the article about selling yourself to make money.. My problem I can't find any buyers.. Any ideas?

FRANK on March 31, 2015:

ilambert.. I suggest that you find out from a lawyer exactly what property debt collectors can force you to sell and what they can't in North Carolina.

ilambert on March 29, 2015:

I live in North Carolina and someone should clue in the Sheriff, the Judge and the attorney for Citibank Sears then, as all three seem to think they can do whatever is necessary to pay back the debt. We even had the Sheriff tell us when he served the papers that they would even take our 15 year old German Shepherd if they could sell her for any money. You think bill collectors are bad, the intimidation of the law was far worse, even when I explained that I have what is known to be a terminal disease, they have absolutely NO EMPATHY at all. A pox on all of them I say!!

ilambert on March 26, 2015:

Frank- We are both now disabled and on social security disability, although my husband turned 62 so I think his is now regular social security retirement income, anyway we managed to pay everything else on time, have never paid the mortgage or utilities or anything else late, but had no choice but to stop paying all the credit cards last year in April-May timeframe. Can they still come after our house? We don't own anything of value except the house, and its questionable if it worth much more than we owe. We don't have any kind of federal debt, or personal loan debt or tax debt. The mortgage on the house my parents were living in until they died was in our names, it actually was my sisters house, an investment that she put a lot of money into to make it nice for them. anyway that house was sold after my Mom passed away last October. So now the only thing in our name is our home and a car loan that just started so there is zero equity in the vehicle.

Brie Hoffman (author) from Manhattan on March 25, 2015:

She is worried that they will force the sale of her home.

Frank on March 25, 2015:

Brie.. In the case of I Lambert above.. Just because the judge did ok the judgment that don't mean they can collect on that judgment..

First they can't freeze there bank account.. These people are collecting Social Security Disability.

The only thing the creditors can do is force them to sell anything of value.. If they have anything of value.

Frank on March 25, 2015:

Can My Bank Take My Social Security Benefits to Pay My Credit Card Bill?

If you owe on an old debt and receive Social Security payments, you may be wondering whether that money can be taken to pay for the outstanding debt. Generally speaking, Social Security Income (SSI) is protected by federal law. It's a welfare program to support those who cannot care for themselves. If your Social Security is deposited into a bank account, a creditor with a judgment cannot execute against that account to satisfy the claim against you. There are exceptions, however.

If your Social Security income is from a disability award (SSDI) or Social Security retirement income, then it is not completely protected by federal law. Claims for taxes or other money owed to the government, child support obligations or student loan payments can be satisfied from this money.

Don't Mix Your Money

For this reason, it is important not to mix your Social Security money into an account with money that comes from other sources, as it may become impossible to figure out which money is protected and what is not. When you mix your funds, you may lose it all to your creditors.

A reader raised a different but related question: "Can a credit union setoff my account that contains Social Security money to pay an overdue credit card bill I owe to the credit union?"

The key word here is setoff. While it is a simple word, setoff is a difficult concept to describe. When you deposit funds with an institution like a bank or a credit union, that institution owes you that money. In effect, you are lending that money to the bank and in exchange, they pay you interest on that "loan." Likewise, when you borrow money from that same bank, you have an obligation to pay them back. Setoff is the right to cancel out the obligations. Typically, you will see a bank take money out of your account to satisfy a debt that is owed to it.

Setoff is a creature of the common law with roots in ancient England. Most deposit institutions like banks and credit unions will also have an account agreement that will cover setoff. The deposit contract allows the bank to invade your account by withdrawing money and applying it to debts it is owed. Both the common law and deposit agreements seem to be contrary to the Social Security Act protections. This would mean the bank might take money out of your account that contains only Social Security funds.

The Social Security Act & Setoff

Social Security funds are not entirely protected from setoff. Banks are not allowed to offset Social Security funds for just any money owed. The debt that is owed must arise from the same account relationship. This means that the debt must arise as the result of the deposit account. If the account where your Social Security money is deposited has incurred overdraft fees or account charges, then the bank or credit union can take money out of the account as an offset for those fees owed to it.

A bank or credit union cannot take money out of an account where only Social Security money is deposited as a setoff for other debts owed to it. If you have a credit card or loan account with the same institution that is not being paid, that institution cannot take money out of the account to pay it unless you authorize that transfer.

How Your Accounts Are Protected

Effective May 1, 2011, the U.S. Treasury has enacted certain steps that banks must take to safeguard Social Security funds, Veteran's benefits, Federal Railroad retirement unemployment and sickness benefits, and Civil Service Retirement System and Federal Employee Retirement System benefits. When the federal government inserts an electronic "tag" in all direct deposits of exempted payments, the bank has to follow the regulation.

1.Within two business days after a bank receives a garnishment order from a court, it must review the customer's account and determine what money in the account is exempt from seizure. Those payments cannot be frozen or garnished.

2.Banks are required to exempt all tagged deposits made during the two months prior to the receipt of any garnishment order and protect those deposits from garnishment.

3.Within three business days of receiving the garnishment order, the bank must provide the customer with the name of the creditor, the date of the garnishment and the amount of both protected and non-protected assets in the account.

4.Amounts owed for federal taxes and in response to state child support agencies cannot be protected from garnishment — even if they come from otherwise exempted federal sources. In other words, even under this new regulation, your Social Security or federal pension payments can be garnished to pay for overdue federal taxes or for child support.

As always, if you think that your accounts have been wrongfully setoff or garnished, you need to take action to protect them. Consult with a qualified lawyer to protect your rights

Brie Hoffman (author) from Manhattan on March 24, 2015:

Sounds like a corrupt judge if you ask me.

ilambert on March 24, 2015:

not only did he have no mercy at all, he degraded me in front of the people in the courtroom. Before they heard my case the lawyer for Citibank Sears and the Judge were talking about their latest golf game~ I kid you not. Every single person that went before him had no chance at all, he filed every single judgment against each defendant. Yesterday the filed judgment came in the mail but I got no form at all to fill out. I don't know if there even is such a thing or the lawyer just told us that to get us out of the courtroom :(

Brie Hoffman (author) from Manhattan on March 23, 2015:

Wow, I'm so sorry to hear this. I don't know what to say, it sounds like the judge had no mercy at all, terrible. Why don't you try contacting your congressman to see if they could do have nothing to lose.

ilambert on March 23, 2015:

I promised to give you an update Brie, I went to court. I explained the situation to the Judge. He said you had the credit card and you used it so therefor you are responsible for the debt and all the additional charges for court costs and attorneys fees. He then approved the judgment against us. I said my husband and I are both disabled and only have social security disability income and there is no way for us to pay this back. I asked if they could take my house and the Judge said absolutely, I would suggest you call them and make arrangements for payment!! I started crying and he said too bad, you should have thought about that before you used the credit card, and asked one of the attorneys on the side of the courtroom to talk to us. The judge entered the judgment and the lawyer talked to my husband and I in the hallway and told us that the next step is I will receive a form to list any and all assets such as vehicle, jewelry, house and anything with any value!! I don't own my vehicle and it has no equity, I have no jewelry and I sincerely doubt the house has much equity over the mortgage balance, but the point is they can sell it according to this judge. This is NC, maybe the laws are different here? I am to list them all so the credit card company can sell them to pay the debt! Seriously WTH!!! This is Sears Citibank card and I owed them originally $6,500 but they put on all kinds of over the credit limit fees and late charges. As soon as I was no longer able to work I had notified them, they immediately made my credit line what the current balance was, so every month after that they added over the limit fees AND late charges- it ballooned the amount due to over $8K since last April!! I still haven't received the form, but I am supposed to fill it out and file a copy with the court when I do. I don't see what the point was in responding to the original summons, if anything all it accomplished was making a terrible situation even worse :(

Frank on March 22, 2015:

What are the odds of being sued by a debt collector?

Always, when negotiating with creditors and debt collectors, one needs to assess the risk that they will be sued if negotiating efforts fail. You need to assess your risk of being sued before you decide to stop paying a creditor or delay paying a creditor or collector in hopes of getting them to agree to a reduced settlement or alternate repayment plan. Use the following facts to help you assess your risk of being sued:

Lawsuits are a very expensive, slow process. The court system is so clogged that it takes months for a case to be heard (the average is 16 months). In addition, an out-of-state creditor is required to sue you in a court in your home state. This means he must hire a local collection attorney who expects payment regardless of whether or not he ever collects from you. The creditor risks not recovering the $2,000 or more he pays the collection attorney to sue you. Your creditor will chose a vast array of other options before he will resort to a lawsuit, so most threats of suit can be safely ignored. For example, if the debt is secured, your creditor will generally repossess the collateral. If it is unsecured, he might offer you a reduced settlement or new payment arrangement to get you paying again.

Big creditors don't sue over small debts. The collection letter claims that you will be sued for the $284.37 you owe the XYZ Credit Card Company, but the odds that they will sue are extremely small. A creditor isn't going to risk not recovering the $2,000 it must pay to a collection attorney to sue you over a $285.00 debt. That's why credit card companies (and other big unsecured creditors) write off millions each year in uncollectible debt and simply pass on the cost of this to consumers in the form of higher interest rates and fees.

A general rule of thumb is that if you owe less than $1,000 the odds that you will be sued are very low, particularly if you're creditor is a large corporation. In fact, many big creditors won't sue over amounts much larger than $1,000. When you consider that the time, effort, and manpower involved in suing someone often exceeds $5,000, then you understand why many of them won't sue.

Of course, on the other hand, if you owe the locally-owned small business down the street $284.37, they might very well take you to court. A small, locally owned business person is much more likely to sue you than a big corporation because he is uninformed about debt collection and needs the money more than a big company. Of course, most attorneys, even small town attorneys, don't waste their time on cases involving small amounts. If a small creditor sues you, it will likely be in small claims court.

Creditors don't sue those who stand up for themselves. If you claim that you don't owe the debt for one reason or another and can offer proof that you don't, the odds that you will be sued are reduced significantly regardless of how much you owe or how much they threaten to sue. The average creditor's attorney isn't willing to go after a debtor who is putting up a legitimate fight even if the amount of money owed is significant. So, when someone claims you owe a debt, send them a certified letter telling them why you don't think you owe the debt along with copies of any proof you have. Your odds of being sued will go down tremendously.


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Debt Negotiation -- Table of Contents

What Are Your Options Regarding Debt?

Is Debt Negotiation for You?

Why Creditors Are Willing to Negotiate Debt

Alternate Repayment Plans

Reduced Settlements

Negotiating with Unsecured Creditors

Negotiating with Debt Collectors

Obstacles to Negotiating with Creditors / Debt Collectors

The Negative Side of Debt Negotiation

What are the Odds of Being Sued If I Don't Pay?

Make It Harder for Creditors to Sue You

What Settlement Amount Should I Offer?

Negotiating Medical Debt

Negotiating Credit Card Debt

Negotiating Tax Debt

21 Sample Debt Negotiation Letters

Credit Reports

Credit Scores

Credit Rating

Credit Cards

Identity Theft

Financial Scams

Mortgage Loans

Auto Loans

Personal Loans

Debt Negotiation

Handling Debt Collectors


Credit Counseling

Garnishments & Liens


Financial Calculators

Ways to Save Money

Freebies & Giveaways

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A good example of this type of situation occurs when a couple divorces. If the divorce decree states that the wife has the responsibility of paying of the XYZ credit card, then it is unlikely that XYZ will sue the husband when the wife doesn't pay, even though he is legally still responsible for the debt. Why? Because if he is sued, he will appear in court with the divorce decree claiming he no longer has a duty to pay the debt, and the judge might take pity on him and the creditor might lose.

Is the collection letter you received from a creditor or collector unusually harsh? If so, this is a sure sign of a bluff. When a debt collector or creditor thinks that they can't collect a debt, they will send out a very scary letter to try and get you to pay. If you received a letter that seems much too strong for the amount of debt you owe, it probably means that the one thing they won't do is sue you. The strong letter is a tactic used to try and scare you into paying in full as quickly as possible since they know they can't collect from you.

Creditors don't sue those who are judgment proof: Most people would pay their debts if they had the money, so most accounts that fall in to the hands of debt collectors are owed by those who are considered "judgment proof". A person who is judgment proof has few assets and the debt is unsecured, so there is no money to be had anywhere. You can't get blood out of a turnip is the most appropriate adage. If a creditor is convinced you're broke, he will probably not sue. The biggest threat to you if you have no physical assets is a wage garnishment.

How old is the debt? Regardless of what a creditor or collector tells you, they do not sue over old debt. "Old" debt refers to debt that is more than four years old. In fact, there are statutes of limitation in every state that regulate the collection of old debt. Sometimes, old uncollectible accounts are purchased by collection agencies which then start sending out collection letters to debtors who thought the accounts had been written off years ago. If you receive such a letter regarding old debt, review your state's laws on collecting old debt and assess your risk of being sued over it. Odds are high that you can ignore their letters completely. It's easy to fight back in this situation -- write them back immediately and ask them to (see debt sample 2a). They are required to send you documentation proving you owe the debt and are prevented from inserting a negative notation regarding the debt on your credit report. Once they receive such a request from you, chances are high that you won't hear from them again.

Frank on March 09, 2015:

Brie.. I don't think people fully understand the pitfalls of credit cards until they find themselves in a mess..

Most people want to own there own home but that is one big problem if you have credit card problems. They can put a lien on your house to get paid

Most people want to own very nice things but again that's a big problem if you have credit card problems. They can come in and sell your nice things to pay the debt.

Most people have jobs and that's a big problem if you have credit card problems. They can put a garnishee on your paycheck if your not paying.

Brie Hoffman (author) from Manhattan on March 07, 2015:

I agree, Frank. When not owning anything is impossible then you should at least put it in another person's name.

FRANK on March 07, 2015:

Brie.. Anyone can get a judgment on someone but collecting on that judgment is a different matter.

People collecting Social Security, Military Benefits, Unemployment Checks, Welfare and more there income is exempt from debt collectors.

If you own a home they can not force you to sell your home but they can put a lien on your home.. Meaning if you sell the home they get paid.

If you own any kind of valuable property they more than likely can seize it and sell it to pay off the debt.

In my opinion it's much better to own nothing then they can't get nothing and that makes you 100% judgment proof.

Brie Hoffman (author) from Manhattan on March 07, 2015:

"ilambert", I am so sorry to hear this..who knows maybe the court will side with has happened before.

ilambert on March 07, 2015:

Hello Brie, I wanted to update you as to what is happening. Three of the Chase accounts were written off and I received 1099's for them in December of last year. Two have gone forward as far as summons Citibank and Synchrony Bank. I responded and filed the response to both with the county court. One apparently has gotten a judgment despite my response about both of us, my husband and I, now being 100% disabled, on social security disability and no way to possibly pay them. I received a letter in the mail from the Citibank attorney that despite my response to them as well they are going to court to do the same on March 16th at 9:30am. I will be going but it doesn't appear to do any good, they are going to come after me guns a blazing anyway. Mind you last July 28th I had sent ALL of my creditors a letter explaining the situation and the medical prognosis that I have gotten from the Social Security disability doctors that I was sent to. There is no such thing as compassion in this world anymore. I'll let you know what happens but it doesn't appear very good at this point.

Brie Hoffman (author) from Manhattan on March 06, 2015:

Great Frank, new info is always welcome.

FRANK on March 06, 2015:

Brie.. Since I discovered this website I have learned a few things from your website and some things I found on my own also.. However if I find things that might be helpful to others I will post them on your website.

Brie Hoffman (author) from Manhattan on March 06, 2015:

Thanks Frank for this important information.

Brie Hoffman (author) from Manhattan on December 31, 2014:

Ok, I sent you an email...let me know if you get it.

Brie Hoffman (author) from Manhattan on December 31, 2014:

Go up to the top of the page..near my picture is my name, click on that and I think that will bring you to a place where you can email me a message. Let me know if that works. I wish HP would make it easier.

Brie Hoffman (author) from Manhattan on December 31, 2014:

Go up to the top of the page..near my picture is my name, click on that and I think that will bring you to a place where you can email me a message. Let me know if that works. I wish HP would make it easier.

Frank on December 31, 2014:

Brie... Guess what? I can't find your profile page.. Where did you hide it?? Maybe I need to hire Fox News to find it... Ha Ha ..

Have a great New Years Eve and stay safe..

Me I'm staying home and watching the ball drop on television.

Brie Hoffman (author) from Manhattan on December 31, 2014:

Go to my profile page; you can send a private email from there.

Frank on December 31, 2014:

Brie.. I received a very interesting E-mail about your blog from a attorney in Rochester, N.Y. . I would like you to read it but I don't want to post it here.. How can I send it to you?

Brie Hoffman (author) from Manhattan on December 31, 2014:

I like a lot of people..the saddest sight to me is a street corner with no people...just me I guess.

Frank on December 30, 2014:

Brie.. I do try to get to New York City for the Italian Festival every year but sometimes I do not get there..

I really like China Town and all those little stores..

Great time in New York City but I sure don't want to live there..

Way to many people and every body is in a hurry..

Brie Hoffman (author) from Manhattan on December 30, 2014:

I didn't go..I had to work ;(

Frank on December 30, 2014:

Brie.. How was the Italian Festival this year in Little Italy?

Brie Hoffman (author) from Manhattan on December 30, 2014:

Actually, a lot of courts do side with fact I think they are much more sympathetic than most people think.

Frank on December 30, 2014:

Brie.. Looks like that Jonathan Lippman, chief judge of the New York State Court of Appeals is more interested in looking out for consumers then debt collectors..

It was about time New York State takes a stand that helps consumers from debt collectors and there evil ways..

Brie Hoffman (author) from Manhattan on December 30, 2014:

Wow, that's one thing that NY has done right!

Frank on December 29, 2014:

Brie.. Starting October 14, 2014...In New York State

The New York State court system adopted rules on Tuesday to protect people in debt and make it harder for debt collection companies to win default judgments.

The rules, first proposed by Chief Judge Jonathan Lippman in April, will go into effect on Oct. 1.

Each year, more than 100,000 credit card collection cases are brought against individuals in New York courts, and Judge Lippman said the new rules would help combat deceptive collection practices.

“While creditors have every right to collect what is legally owed to them, the judiciary has an obligation to prevent inequitable debt collection practices in the courts,” Judge Lippman said in a statement.

The majority of cases before the courts involve third-party debt buyers who purchase large portfolios of consumer debt — often from unpaid credit card and auto loans. The debt buyers pay pennies on the dollar for the debt and then go to court to force repayment.

Continue reading the main story

Related Coverage

Inside the Dark, Lucrative World of Consumer Debt CollectionAUG. 14, 2014

New rules issued by Jonathan Lippman, chief judge of the New York State Court of Appeals, will go into effect on June 15.

Top State Judge Tightens Rules on Debt CollectionAPRIL 30, 2014

Your Money Adviser: Dealing With Debt CollectorsMAY 20, 2014

However, many outside debt buyers have come under criticism from consumer advocates for their aggressive legal tactics.

Often they file multiple suits with boilerplate language and a spreadsheet of the debts without proper documentation of each debt’s origin, history and amount.

Since the debts are often many years old, it is hard for consumers to determine if the claims are even legitimate.

But the consequences of failing to pay can be dire. The vast majority of cases involve only a few thousand dollars, but not paying can result in ruined credit ratings and garnished wages.

Under the new rules, creditors will be required to submit affidavits containing “detailed proof in support of default judgment applications, including the validity of the debt at issue and the chain of ownership for that debt.”

When a legal action is prompted by a third party debt buyer, “affidavits will be required from the original creditor and all intervening debt buyers, and will have to be executed by individuals having personal knowledge.”

The court will also require copies of key documents to be submitted, “including the party’s credit agreement, the most recent monthly statement and other documents that serve to identify the correct defendant.”

To keep collectors from going after debt that has expired, lawyers for creditors must submit an affirmation that the statute of limitations has not expired.

Finally, to ensure that consumers know when legal action is being initiated against them, debt collectors “must provide the court with an additional notice of the lawsuit to be mailed by the court to the defendant at the address where process was served."

"No default judgment will be entered if that notice is returned to the court as undeliverable.”

Frank on December 29, 2014:

Debt Collectors calling your Cell? TCPA Telephone Consumer Protection Act

A lot of people think it OK for a bill collector to call you on your cell. Well, a lot of times it’s not.

We interviewed attorney Patrick Lester attorney licensed in California, New York and Missouri who explains why bill collector calls you get on your cell phone may be illegal.

Q. What is this TCPA law? Is it new?

PL Few people including attorneys know about the TCPA The Telephone Consumer Protection Act of 1991 (TCPA) was passed by the United States Congress in 1991. The current version is at 47 U.S.C. 227.

The focus is in this section of the act 47 USC § 227(b)(1) Restrictions on use of automated telephone equipment.

It shall be unlawful for any person within the United States – (A) to make any call (other than a call made for emergency purposes or made with the prior express consent of the called party)

using any automatic telephone dialing system or an artificial or prerecorded voice -

(iii) to any … cellular telephone service.

The fines are FOR EACH CALL

47 USC § 227(b)(1) (B) an action to recover for actual monetary loss from such a violation, or to receive

$500 in damages for each such violation, whichever is greater, If the court finds that the defendant willfully or knowingly violated this subsection or the regulations prescribed under this subsection, the court may, in its discretion,

increase the amount of the award to an amount equal to not more than 3 times ($1,500) the amount available under subparagraph (B) of this paragraph.

But few people even most lawyers don’t know about it. Regardless it’s a powerful weapon that can be used in state or federal court against those annoying, intrusive debt collection calls on your cell phone.

Congress passed the TCPA to to govern telemarketing. It covers many things including faxes but we’re just going to cover the rule against these people calling your cell phone right now.

The law says in a nutshell companies including debt collectors and your creditors can’t call your cell with an auto dialer and if they do its $500- $1500 .. And that’s for each call!

PL But they’re 2 small catch’s

1. The calls have to be from an auto dialer I’ll talk about that more in a minute and

here’s the important one

2. You can’t have given them express consent.

How do they get express consent?

PL: Here’s how. Often when you got the credit card or bought the thing they are now going after you to pay for, you put a phone number on the application. If you put your cell number, the one they’re calling you on, then you gave express consent and they are not breaking the law by calling you.

Q. What about if you call them back with your cell?

PL. No that’s not prior express permission.

Q. Lets get back to the term you used automatic dialing system. What’s that and how do you know they’re calling you with one of those?

PL Short answer you don’t absolutely know. But most of the industry uses them and usually you can tell when you phone rings and you answer it and there’s a short delay before your hear anything, that probably an automatic telephone dialing system or auto dialer, for short. Odds are if you are getting one of these calls on your cell it’s a company using an auto dialer.

Q. Well I know lots of consumers who get debt collector calls at home are those all these $500-$1500 calls?

PL No what we are talking about is calls to a cell phone. If the call at home is a cell phone that’s the violation. If it’s a land line, while it may also violate the federal law, it doesn’t violate this one.

Other laws like the FDCPA or Fair Debt Collection practices Act apply to what most people would consider harassing calls to land lines by debt collectors.

But here’s the great part of this law we’re talking about now, TCPA.

It doesn’t have to be harassing. Any call they make is against the law. It can be civil and friendly and even helpful, but if its to your cell phone and you didn’t give express written consent for them to call that cell phone they are liable end of story and secondly it doesn’t even have to be a debt collector. It can be the creditor that you owed the money to, to begin with.

All they have to do is call your cell with an auto dialer.

Q. Well how would these people get my cell number?

PL There are a lot of places on the internet where you can look up someone’s cell phone number if you have their name and general area where they live

But more commonly the way they get your cell number is when you call them back on your cell phone when you get a dunning letter or a collection call at home or work and they then “trap” your cell phone number. After that they’ve got it.

Q. So what should they do?

PL A couple of things.

1. Save the record of the phone number that called to your cell. If you know how you should download the messages with a date and time stamp to a digital recorder or computer.

2. Also if they leave messages you need to save those for 2 reasons

- They show obviously who made the call and when

-Sometimes the messages themselves will violate other laws against harassing phone calls.

3. Save your cell phone bills that have the numbers of the company that called your cell.

4. Finally call a lawyer who handles these type of cases.

FRANK on December 28, 2014:

Can Creditors Take My Benefits and Assets?


Yes. If you owe money and the creditor(s) have received permission from the court, they can arrange to have your paychecks “garnished”, meaning they can have up to 10% of your paycheck removed and sent to your creditor(s) before it gets to you.

Note: If you already have child-support, alimony or support payments taken out of your paycheck, the total amount garnished cannot exceed 25%.


No. Federal law prohibits creditors from taking or garnishing these benefits. If your only source of income is a combination of SSI or Social Security, you are “judgment-proof,” meaning they cannot collect any of your income.

Note: The exception to this rule is the garnishment of Social Security (but not SSI) for child support and federal garnishments of tax returns.


No. Veteran’s benefits (including Survivor’s Benefits if your spouse was a veteran) are exempt from attachment or garnishment by creditors.


No. Unemployment benefits are not subject to garnishment by creditors.


No. None of these benefits is subject to garnishment by creditors.


No, a creditor cannot seize or forcibly sell your home. However if you own real estate and a judgment is outstanding against you, your creditor can get a “lien” on your house, which means if you sell it the unpaid debt will be taken out of the proceeds. If you acquired your home after the judgment against you was issued, your home is not subject to a lien.


The exceptions to the above rules are garnishment for purposes of child support and owed federal taxes. There are also some exceptions for student loans. If you owe child support, federal taxes, or student loans, you should contact an attorney to find out how these debts may affect your benefits.

© MFY Legal Services, Inc. 2008. All rights reserved.


YES. These documents allow the court to determine what income and assets your creditors can seize or garnish. These documents are not optional. If you ignore them and fail to fill them out and mail them back (you should send them via Certified Mail, Return Receipt Requested), you may be found in contempt of court and subject to fine and even jail time. It is important to fill these forms out completely and accurately and mail them back promptly as instructed.


Generally the length a judgment is collectable is twenty years, after which the court presumes that the debt has been paid, even if it hasn’t.

Note: Creditors are entitled to charge 9% annual interest on unpaid judgments, so the amount you owe will go up every year it remains unpaid

ilambert on December 28, 2014:

I contacted the Wilmington NC Legal Aid office and was told they will not help anyone with any financial problem even if they are disabled. They told me they only have enough staff to handle child support and child custody issues-nothing else

Brie Hoffman (author) from Manhattan on December 27, 2014:

That's why I don't think she should file bankruptcy but instead just go to court.

Frank on December 27, 2014:

Brie... Even if she has a house it might be exempt.. Or they could put a lien on the house..

Everything I have read or googled doesn't even talk about people forced to sell anything to pay off creditors..

Except in bankruptcies then they can force people to sell valuables..

That's why when you file bankruptcy the attorney tells you to list everything you own of value when you hire him or her.. Once it's on record what you have that can possible be sold the bankruptcy court can move to sell the stuff to pay off the creditors..

These people do need to talk to a honest attorney to advise them what to do or not do..

Brie Hoffman (author) from Manhattan on December 27, 2014:

She has a house..Frank.

Frank on December 27, 2014:

People on exempt income such as Social Security, Veterans Benefits, SSI,Social Security Disability, Welfare and more.

Plus have no assets are 100% Judgment Proof..

Brie Hoffman (author) from Manhattan on December 27, 2014:

If I were you, Ilambert, I would just go to the hearing whenever they do schedule it and tell them exactly what you have told me. I would trust that the court will do right by you more than an attorney. Try to not be afraid and make your case. I think it will be in your favor. Although I understand your fears, just be brave and walk through it.

I wish I could offer more help but my knowledge is for people who have no assets..still I think you will be fine.

ilambert on December 27, 2014:

Brie sad to say we stopped going to church a couple of years ago when we no longer had the money to make the collection donation every Sunday. The information that Frank posted is not relevant to our situation (I don't think?) as we are both disabled and neither of us works, we are both on social security now, mine is disability and his was just switched from disability to regular social security as he turned 62. I did a lot of research and from what I had read, they can't force the sale of our home or touch our minimal income as we are both disabled. We no longer own a car, we have a leased vehicle but the lease on that is up in May. We literally sold anything we had of value to keep paying the credit cards over the last two years. Now there is nothing left to sell. We even sold our bedroom set back in April to make the May payments. I don't know if there is such a thing as forcing the sale on a home that has never been paid late? I still have yet to find any attorney that will do a free consultation and it will be several months at least before I can raise the money to hire anyone for a bankruptcy. I am at a loss as to what I could do. There is no hearing scheduled yet that I am aware of, just this civil summons to respond by mail.....its not at the stage that is mentioned above yet, but from the sounds of what Frank wrote I could lose my house too.

Brie Hoffman (author) from Manhattan on December 27, 2014:

Great information Frank, thanks.

FRANK on December 27, 2014:


When a creditor gets a money judgment against you, if often wants to find out what income and assets you have so that it can start collecting on the judgment (called enforcing the judgment). What procedures judgment creditors can use to get information from you vary by state, but the most common are: debtor’s examinations, written questions, and scheduling a court hearing where the creditor questions you under penalty of perjury about your income and property.

Once the judgment creditor has information about the property you own and the money you earn, it can begin collection procedures. (To learn about the different methods judgment creditors can use to collect, see How Creditors Enforce Judgments.)

Debtor’s Examinations

Most states let a judgment creditor question you about your property and finances, in a procedure called a “debtor’s examination.” Basically, the judgment creditor is looking for money or property that can be legally taken to pay the debt. High on the list of property the creditor looks for are deposit accounts (such as savings, checking, certificate of deposit, and money market), tax refunds due, and other easy cash. Don’t lie. Your statements are ordinarily given under penalty of perjury.

Written Questions

In some states, a judgment creditor sends you a form and asks you to fill it out, listing your employer’s name and address, your assets, and other financial information. You must do this under penalty of perjury. If you don’t comply or the judgment creditor believes you’re lying or not disclosing all relevant information, the judgment creditor can ask the court to issue an order requiring you to come to court and answer the questions.

Court Appearance

In other states, the creditor serves you with a document ordering you to show up in court and bring certain financial documents, such as bank statements or pay stubs. You may be sent the questions and given a chance to answer them in writing first. If you receive an order to appear in court and you don’t show up, the court can declare you in contempt and issue a warrant for your arrest.

Liens and Warrants

In a few states, if the judge issues an order for you to come to court, serving that order on you creates a lien on your personal property. The lien may make it difficult for you to sell the property without first paying the judgment. Also, in some states if the judgment creditor believes you are about to leave the state or conceal your property to avoid paying the judgment, the creditor can ask the judge to issue a warrant for your immediate arrest. This is quite drastic, but it’s been known to happen when a lot of money is owed.

What to Do If You Can’t Make the Court Hearing

If you receive an order to appear but can’t take the time off from work or otherwise can’t make it, call the judgment creditor or the lawyer and explain your situation. Explain that you’re willing to answer questions over the phone or even in person, but at another time. If the creditor thinks you’re telling the truth and hasn’t already sent you a form about your finances and property, the creditor may take the information over the telephone.

If the judgment creditor agrees to change the date or to let you answer the questions over the phone, ask for a letter to you and the court verifying that you need not appear at the hearing. If the creditor won’t write the letter, write your own letter confirming your conversation. Send it to the creditor and to the court.

Attending the Court Hearing

If you can attend the hearing, or you reschedule it to a convenient time, do not take any money or expensive personal items with you. The judgment creditor can ask you to empty your pockets or purse and ask the court to order you to turn over any nonexempt money or valuable personal property in your possession, such as a college ring or leather jacket.

Brie Hoffman (author) from Manhattan on December 26, 2014:

The only way to tell how much a home is worth is through comparables but it sounds like finding comparables will be difficult. You might have to file bankruptcy due to the asset of your home but you really need a good attorney to advise you. There must be someone in your you belong to a church? Maybe they could advise you?

ilambert on December 26, 2014:

Brie, How would I get documentation on what my house is worth? You certainly can't go by what a real estate tells you or Zillow. Their estimate is always far higher than the actual worth. Plus we are in a log cabin which is always worth even less than they estimate, and we are in the only one in the area too so there are no comps. Would it hurt or help to send the same letter to the attorney's office that I had sent to all of the creditors back in July? I doubt the court clerk would care. What a crappy way to end a very hard year. I guess I am going to have to try and scrape together the money to go bankrupt :(

Brie Hoffman (author) from Manhattan on December 25, 2014:

ilambert I am so sorry to hear this but go to the court and file a response. Stick to you guns, bring your financial information including some documentation on how much your house is worth and what you owe. Hopefully, the courts will side with you. In any case you are better off with the courts than with the banks. Let me know what happens.

ilambert on December 25, 2014:

Brie, Its been awhile since I have written. I sent all of the creditors a letter back in July explaining that I am now disabled as well as my husband who has been disabled since 1989. I included the approval letter from Social Security Administration showing that my total income will be a pittance now as well as my husbands which has always been very little since 1989. I included a copy of his annual award as well. I requested they stop calling me and explained that sometimes very bad things happen to good people and I was sorry but there is nothing I can do to pay them anything and to please stop calling us. BTW my credit was perfect, I never ever had made a late payment or a minimum payment in all the years I had credit. Well that cut the calls down from 40+ a day to only 2-3 which I never answered anymore. Fast forward the last payment I had made to anyone was in May 2014. This past Tuesday the day before Christmas eve I get a knock on the door and its the Sherriff. He is delivering a Civil Summons from Citibank for Sears MC. It has been filed in the county where I live and it say I have to respond within 30 days or they will apply to the court for the relief demanded in the complaint. I am scared to death- the sherriff said here in NC I better respond or they will take everything I have- he said if I had a purebred dog they would even take the dog! I don't but he was looking around my living room and telling me that's a nice picture on the wall, if you want to keep it you BETTER respond or it will all be gone!! OMG What am I supposed to do? There is no "court date" It says I have to file a response to the summons either by delivering it to the supreme court clerk or mailing it to their attorney. Dear God if I go bankrupt I know they are going to take my house!! What do I do? I cant find any attorney to advise me for free here in NC and I have barely enough money to keep the mortgage paid and the lights on. Help!!

Frank on December 24, 2014:

Brie.. Your very welcome.. Since I found your blog I have been really googling and learning and posting what I learned on your blog in hopes of helping others.. Merry Christmas....

Brie Hoffman (author) from Manhattan on December 24, 2014:

Thanks for the information true!

FRANK on December 24, 2014:

What Collection Agents Don’t Want You to Know

Nowhere is the notion of “Knowledge is Power” more important than in the realm of debt collection. The less knowledgeable someone is about a consumer’s rights under the law, the more assertive, persistent and annoying debt collectors can coax a delinquent borrower to repay an overdue obligation.

In this case, a little knowledge can go a long way. If you are being hounded by a collection agency, the most important thing you need to acquire is a thorough understanding of the Fair Debt Collection Practices Act (FDCPA) and its companion legislation, the Fair Credit Billing Act (FCBA).

Both statutes are part of the federal Consumer Credit Protection Act (CCPA). These laws outline the required and prohibited behavior of debt collectors, and they also stipulate the rights and remedies afforded to consumers who are the subjects of their collection efforts. In short, the laws protect consumers – and these are rights that collection agents prefer you not know.

In addition to a basic knowledge of the available legal protections available, it is also a good idea to understand how the collection industry operates, so that if you are in communication with a debt collector, you will be more able to separate their tactics from the truth.

Rule 1: You Don’t Have to Talk

The first thing debt collectors don’t want you to know is that there is no law that requires that you work with them at all, let alone even talk to them. They certainly don’t want you to know that if you send a cease and desist letter – one that says you no longer wish to be contacted about the debt – that collection agency must stop all of the calls and letters immediately. If they fail to stop, they will violate the FDCPA.

Rule 2: No Big Early Payments Required

Because most collection agencies work on a commission basis, it is not unusual for collectors to tell a debtor that he or she has to pay a large down payment on the owed amount. They may say that a hefty initial sum is required in order to prevent collection fees from growing, or that it is necessary to begin the process of eliminating the debt from their records.

What they don’t want you to know is that there is no such requirement. They merely want to get as much money upfront as possible to inflate their commission.

Rule 3: No Deadlines

Debt collectors also may tell you that there is a deadline for payment and threaten you with dire repercussions if the debt is not paid within the prescribed time frame. What they don’t want you to know is that there is no such thing as a deadline. It is a complete fabrication, one designed to get your to repay your debt as quickly as possible, because they know that the longer they have to wait to get paid, the less likely it is to ever happen.

Rule 4: Your Credit is Already Damaged

Collectors often exaggerate the consequences of delinquency and non-payment. Threats are illegal under the FDCPA, but suggestions that your credit score will suffer, or that your possessions may be seized, are simply scare tactics with nothing to back them up.

In fact, if your debt is in collection, your credit score has already been damaged and the potential loss of your possessions is pure fiction. What they don’t want you to know is that all they can really do is ask, cajole, and demand that you pay. The rest is bluster.

Rule 5: Don’t Give Up Personal Information

Sometimes, debt collectors will ask you for information – your bank account number, your Social Security number, where you work, references from friends and colleagues. Why? To put together a “financial statement” they need to work out any repayment plan.

They don’t want you to know that they are merely fishing for information that will help them find you if you move, sue you if you don’t repay, or get into your bank records. There is no financial statement, and you should never give out proprietary information to anyone – ever.

Rule 6: Collectors Can’t Cross State Lines

Debt collectors also don’t want you to know that they cannot pursue you across state borders to enforce a judgment levied against you by a creditor who sued you for non-payment and won. Transferring the judgment to another state is time-consuming and expensive and not likely to occur very often.

Rule 7: There Are Limits to Garnishment

Debt collectors don’t want you to know that there are limits on the amounts they can legally garnish from certain portions of your income, like salary, social security or pensions. For example, the maximum amount that can be taken from a paycheck is the lesser of 25 percent of your disposable earnings or the amount by which your wages exceed 30 times the federal minimum wage.

You can also file for complete exemption from wage garnishment, if you can verify that it will cause you or your family financial hardship to have any monies withheld.

Rule 8: There Are Options for Student Loan Debt

Debt collectors don’t want you to know that if you have student loan debt, while it still must be paid, you have the right, under the 1992 Higher Education Act, to set up a short-term payment schedule with the collection agency, requiring only “reasonable and affordable payments” – sometimes as little as $10 per month.

Successful completion of the student loan rehabilitation program (making nine out of 10 payments on time) takes the debt out of the collector’s portfolio and sends it back to the Department of Education. The collection agency loses its various commissions and bounties, and your loan is now being held under more favorable conditions.

Remember, high pressure tactics by bill collectors are used solely to scare or bully you into paying them. While it is still your responsibility to square all your valid and legitimate debts, you don’t have to endure illegal, harassing or irritating activities.

Arming yourself with the right knowledge can help free you from the frustration – and empower you

Brie Hoffman (author) from Manhattan on December 17, 2014:

Just don't answer the phone when they call.

Frank on December 16, 2014:

Brie.. It seems like consumers have quite a bit of rights as far as bill collectors go..

However every time a consumers debt may get resold to another debt collector the process of getting them to stop bothering you starts over again..

So in reality the consumer is in a never ending merry go round.

Which may be a good thing simple because every time the debt gets resold usually some information about the debt gets lost or they want to settle for less and less...

FRANK on December 16, 2014:

Brie.. I'm really glad I found this website.. I'm learning a lot from you...

Brie Hoffman (author) from Manhattan on December 16, 2014:

No..but it doesn't hurt either.

Frank on December 16, 2014:

Brie...Tell collectors not to contact you by phone.. Don't you have to send them a certified letter return receipt requested in order to make them stop calling you via telephone?

Brie Hoffman (author) from Manhattan on December 13, 2014:

All you have to do is tell debt collectors to NOT contact you via the phone and if they do they are risking getting sued.

Frank on December 13, 2014:

Brie. I just read up on the Telephone Consumer Protection Act.

It deals mainly with cellphones...

Debt collectors for the most part have to have your permission to contact you on your cell phone.

Now any person who gives a debt collector permission to contact them on their cell phone has to be a little goofy to say the least.

Debt collectors should know better than robot call a cell phone number. Since the money damage is $500.00 per call and tripled in some instances..

This should be good news for people who can't pay their bills and have cell phones..

Frank on December 13, 2014:

Brie.. I have never heard of the Telephone Consumer Protection Act..

Would be a great idea for you to inform people on how it works..

Brie Hoffman (author) from Manhattan on December 13, 2014:

I would have given them a million dollars!

Frank on December 13, 2014:

Brie check this out...

Couple awarded $1 million from 'unrelenting' Bank of America

Published December 13, 2014

A Florida couple receiving “unrelenting” phone calls from Bank of America was awarded more than $1 million from a federal judge.

Nelson and Joyce Coniglio received 700 collection calls from the bank over a four year period, the New York Post reports.

“They treated us very badly,” Nelson told the Post. “No two ways about it.”

The couple said the bank badgered them after they had gotten behind on their house payments. Even after the Coniglios hired an attorney, the calls kept coming in.

Senior Vice President Dan Frahm said the calls were not to collect debt, but help the couple avoid foreclosure.

The two sued under the Telephone Consumer Protection Act and was awarded the large sum. The damages were tripled from the bank’s $500 per call.

“The borrowers, the people who own those phones, you do have a right to privacy. And when they say to stop, you have to stop,” the Coniglios’ attorney, David Mitchell, told the paper.

Bank of America asked the court to reconsider the award, but the judge rejected the appeal.

Brie Hoffman (author) from Manhattan on December 08, 2014:

I agree but good luck with that because the banks benefit from this corrupt system and they have bought the politicians.

F rank on December 08, 2014:

Brie.. I fully understand that credit card companies will give anyone credit.

However just because they do that don't make it right or ok to take advantage of people or the system.

The only thing credit card companies are creating because of their greed is an environment of people being forced into bankruptcy or not paying their debt for whatever reasons.

It used to be that you didn't get credit if your income couldn't support the debt.

This is where the government should step in and do some kind of regulation on credit card companies on how they issue credit cards and income guidelines for credit card companies to follow before they do issue credit cards.

Your information is great for people who can't pay their credit card debt and attorneys fees.

However your information don't fix the problem that needs to be fixed and that problem is credit card companies issuing credit cards strictly on a persons credit score not on their income and the ability to carry the debt.

This conversation could go on forever and there is a whole lot of people with credit card debt that have no business having credit cards.. Simply because they don't have the income to support the debt and the credit card companies should be held responsible for the problems they cause.

Brie Hoffman (author) from Manhattan on December 04, 2014:

Credit card companies will give anyone credit because it doesn't cost them anything..they get interest on thin air!

Brie Hoffman (author) from Manhattan on December 03, 2014:

Good for you..most attorneys are worthless and only looking to steal more money from you!

I can't tell you how many people have taken my advice and NOTHING has happened to them! If you are judgment proof, you are home free!

Frank on December 03, 2014:

After reading your article I decided to try it out..

I went to a Bankruptcy Attorney and I did everything I was asked to do. Which was supply two years of bank deposits.. Then 12 months of usage statements for each credit card.

Then I was told that I would have to go through the usage statements for each credit card and come up with a timeline of payment history for each credit card.

My question to the attorney was.. I didn't ask for the usage statement you did.. Now you want me to come up with a payment time line for you.. What did I hire an attorney for if I have to do all the work myself?

Then this attorney informed me that I would probably have to make credit card payments or risk creditors crying fraud in bankruptcy.

All the above aggravation from a attorney that also tells me I'm judgment proof simple because I'm collecting Social Security and Veterans Benefits and own no home or property.

So the moral to this story is quite simple.. If your truly judgment proof then leave it alone.. To hire a attorney can and might cause you more problems..

I have since fired the attorney and going with my judgment proof status.

Brie Hoffman (author) from Manhattan on October 23, 2014:

Yep! Thanks for the confirmation "Yankeeootrader".

YANKEE00TRADER on October 23, 2014:

Today I had a interview with a bankruptcy attorney.. Believe it or not the attorney told me the exact same thing Brie told people what to do..

I guess great minds do think alike.

Brie Hoffman (author) from Manhattan on October 10, 2014:

Unless there is a court date, rip it up and throw it away. They can't do anything without a court date. They lie all the time.

catwoman707 on October 10, 2014:

Hi Brie,

Approx 6 weeks ago I asked for your advice, the latest is I have received a form from the same attorney group that looks like a request for a clerk's judgement request. (application for entry of default)

They are not requesting I go to court, but is there some chance that the clerk will enter a judgement of default on behalf of the plaintiff?

This is the same one, I owe just over 20,000 to.

Thanks SO much for your guidance/advice!

Shiraz on September 05, 2014:

Thank you Ms. Brie.

Brie Hoffman (author) from Manhattan on September 05, 2014:

Shiraz, I have no idea. Since you are not a citizen I don't know what the laws are and how they will affect you. Sorry but maybe you should be talking to an immigration attorney because it could be that your debt could affect your stay here.

Shiraz on September 05, 2014:

I liked your article a lot. Very informative, courageous, and bold. I'm from Iran and come to US in 2009 on student visa. I did my graduation and couldn't find job for a year and left on march2014. I filed my tax return in Jan 2014 on my total income of $2800 for tax period 2013. It were IT training stipends that I received from an employer. In that bad condition I left US in march2014 with credit debit from four credit cards with their crd limit, $500, $2500,$3000,$6000, while living in NJ in the company's guest house. I used to pay when I had money and my score was 764. I got the visit visa I came back in July & fall in love with a girl. Am getting married. I still don't have enough money to pay crd bill as the debit shot to $13000 now and my cards are all blocked as I stopped paying from april2014 because I was in my home country since March 2014. I also went to ER and the doctor sent me a bill of $1600 through collection company. I checked the letters from the guest house in NJ, there is no court letter.

Ms Brie, please give me sage advise what should I do? Will the govt arrest me? My idea is once I get the work authorization/GC, after marriage, I'll get job easily and will be able to pay almost all in April/May 2015. Please advise as I'm in fix now, will the four banks & the doctor will go in the court? Will I be arrested? Thank you so much.

Brie Hoffman (author) from Manhattan on September 01, 2014:

Please share this article on your twitter and facebook, thanks.

Kay on September 01, 2014:

Ok got it. Can't say thanks enough.

Brie Hoffman (author) from Manhattan on September 01, 2014:

No, it takes 7 years before your credit report will improve.

Kay on September 01, 2014:

Great! So will my credit start improving again after four years then? I will Definitely read all your articles.

Brie Hoffman (author) from Manhattan on August 31, 2014:

Yes, I got it. The reason I ask is California is a 4 year state. If you have not paid your CC bills in 4 years after the 4 years you cannot be sued for payment! You only have one more year, therefore, I would lay low and wait it out and under no circumstances talk to a creditor on the phone. If you are summoned to court however, you should go and make them verify the debt. If they cannot you are off the hook. Read all my articles on Credit Card debt and Bankruptcy listed below this article.

Kay on August 31, 2014:


Brie Hoffman (author) from Manhattan on August 31, 2014:

Kay, what state do you live in?

Kay on August 31, 2014:

Boy, do I love your blog, and have a story to back you up. Also would like your opinion on something at the end. But first, here's the scenario.

Started a small business in 2005. It was booming. In late 2007 when the economy started to hit bottom, my business tanked. I had to get through my commitments by racking up $50k in credit cards, and then shut down the business in 2008. Was lucky to transition shortly thereafter to a full-time consulting gig that allowed me to put half my monthly income toward making the monthly payments on my cc debt ($2500 in cc pymts each month, to be exact). At that same time, my now-husband lost his 25-year job in the same industry, and we both limped by. Our life was being held up by toothpicks. And as you'd guess, when my gig ended three years later, I had nothing left. I stopped paying the cc's.

Meanwhile in 2009, my husband was falling behind on his mortgage. The banks would not negotiate. We found out they would not because they COULD NOT... they "did not know who owned our loan." (That's a direct quote.) And they suddenly foreclosed on us four days later. We sued them. The next four years could be turned into a documentary. Ultimately, we caught them in a forgery scheme between the title company and the lender, and finally actually lost the suit this past February in federal court in LA, with the judge saying, "Forgery doesn't matter." (Another direct quote from the judge.) We lost our home to lying banks who got away with it, lost our jobs to a bad economy, and I still have $50K of credit card debt from trying to keep my head above water in a sinking economy. It's fabulous. So, Yes, I agree with you... the banks are in control. The banks have infused themselves into the government. And our judicial system that backs them when push comes to shove makes me want to move out of the country. Rant over.

With that said, what should I do now? I never declared BK because we were in the lawsuit. The cc companies have basically stopped calling and sending stuff. I couldn't pay the .10 on the dollar when they were offering it if I wanted to. Now I can. But does it matter at this point? What is the best next step? It's been around 3 years since I stopped paying on them.

Thanks for the great blog.

catwoman707 on August 29, 2014:

I suppose I am waiting for the value to eventually go up so by the time I am a retiring age I can live in it and have some equity by then.

Another 10-12 years or so, my ex is not in great health and is older than me so he likely won't be around by then either, then I will have a home for the rest of my days.

Hope that doesn't sound bad!

Brie Hoffman (author) from Manhattan on August 28, 2014:

Yes and call a bankruptcy attorney, in fact call a few of them and get their advice. Just be sure to realize that they want your money so they might not be completely honest, that's why you have to call a few to compare what they tell you to get the truth.

Why don't you sell the house to your get it off your credit record?

catwoman707 on August 28, 2014:

Wow no kidding?! That's good to know.

So if at some point I did receive one with a court date, I assume I would have to go and throw myself on the mercy of the court?

Thanks so much!

Brie Hoffman (author) from Manhattan on August 28, 2014:

I would ignore it since it doesn't have a date on it. A lot of collectors send out phony summons. If you can avoid being sued for 4 years, you will be free and clear in California.

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