Archive for November, 2014

Have You Been Sued for Credit Card Debt

Saturday, November 22nd, 2014

If you have been sued for a debt in please understand that you are not alone. This may be the first time you have ever been sued.  There are credit card debtmany consumers who are sued every month for an old debt.

Unfortunately many consumers make the mistake of not hiring an attorney to defend the lawsuit so they end up with a default judgment against them.  Debt buyers and credit card companies are filing thousands of lawsuits against Florida consumers. These debt buyers buy portfolios of debt for as little as three to ten cents on the dollar in most cases, then sue Florida consumers to try and get a judgment for 100% of the balance plus attorneys fees, costs and post judgment interest.

The debt buyers then send the accounts to local collection attorneys in Florida who file individual lawsuits against Florida Consumers. Under Florida law, they have five years to sue you for the debt pursuant the statute of limitations if they sue for a breach of contract claim. If they sue you under an account stated or stated account theory, they only have four years.

What can happen to me with a Credit Card Lawsuit in Florida?

1) Cloud title on your West Palm Beach homestead property

If you own a home, a judgment can cloud title on your HOMESTEAD. In West Palm Beach your homestead is protected from a forced sale by this type of creditor. However, you may have difficulty selling or re-financing your property unless you obtain a full or partial release.

2) Garnish/Freeze/Take your bank account(s)

In West Palm Beach a creditor can garnish your bank account. This can happen years after the judgment or very soon after the judgment.

3) Seize any “non-exempt” property from you

A judgment creditor in West Palm Beach can force the sale of any non-exempt property that you own.  Generally they do this with a “writ of execution.”  They send the sheriff or constable out to your property to search for non-exempt property that can be seized.

4) Put the judgment on your credit report for 10 years

A judgment is usually reported as a “public record” on your credit report similar to a Bankruptcy. Often this type of record is very detrimental to a credit report because bad debts are supposed to be removed from your credit report after 7 years from the final payment to the original creditor. A judgment, however, can stay on for 10 years or more.

So what can you do?

1) Fight the Lawsuit

We have been successful in getting hundreds of collection lawsuits dismissed or settled for far less than what they are suing for.

2) Settlement

Our firm may be able to assist in you settling this debt and other debts for a substantial reduction in what is owed. Settlement reduces the risk of going to trial and it may improve your credit rating if the debt is currently reporting as a collection account.

3) Bankruptcy

If you qualify for Bankruptcy, it would stop the lawsuit and most likely discharge all of your credit card debt. This is often the best solution if you anticipate multiple lawsuits on multiple debts.  A chapter 7 Bankruptcy will allow you a fresh start.

What are the Fees?

There is NO CHARGE to have us examine your situation and advise what the best solution may be.

We would be happy to answer any additional questions that you may have.

Contact us now for free with no obligation consultation.

Call now before there is a judgment!

Carolyn Secor P.A. focuses its practice in the areas of Bankruptcy and Foreclosure Defense in Clearwater, Florida.  For more information, go to our web site www.BankruptcyforTampa.com
or call (727) 254-1704.

Paying Off Credit Cards

Saturday, November 8th, 2014

Credit card debt is the third largest source of household debt in the United States, behind home mortgages and student loan debt. According tocredit card debts recent credit card debt statistics from the Federal Reserve, total credit card debt in the United States for May, 2014 was $872.2 billion, with the average household having credit card debt of $7,221.

During good economic times, consumer spending on goods and services can lead to more jobs and higher incomes. However, when wages and employment rates are rising at a slow rate, increased consumer spending can be a sign that families are using credit cards to make ends meet.

For individuals whose credit card balances are causing financial problems and stress, experts recommend the following suggestions for trying to get credit card debt under control:

Know Where You Stand– The first step in getting control of credit card debt (as well as other debts) is to gather all monthly statements together and make a list of exactly what is owed. Often peoples’ lives are so busy that they go from month to month scrambling to pay bills, but they do not take the time to sit down and actually focus on how much is owed to whom and at what interest rate. Once a debt list is made, it is easier to develop a plan on how to attack the outstanding balances.

Target One Debt At A Time – For individuals who carry balances on more than one card, experts recommend two possible plans. The first involves determining which card charges the most interest and working to pay off the balance on that card first. Another possible option is to pay off the card with the smallest balance first until that card is paid off, then move to the next lowest balance card and repeat.

Pay More Than The Minimum – Every dollar paid over the minimum payment is applied toward the credit card balance. Because interest is charged on the balance every month, a reduction in the balance will result in less interest being charged.

Consider Consolidating Debt – Consolidating debt can allow an individual to combine several higher-rate interest credit card balances into one with the goal of moving the debt to a lower rate card. However, balance transfers typically involve balance transfer fees of 3 percent to 5 percent so it is important to determine whether the lower interest rate will offset the fees that will be charged for the transfer.

Consider A Home Equity Loan – If an individual has equity in his or her home, a home equity loan may be useful if the loan would have a lower rate than the credit card interest rate. Home equity interest payments also may be tax-deductible.

Avoid Dipping Into Retirement Savings Or 401(k) – Using savings and retirement funds, such as those in a 401(k), may be helpful under some circumstances, but it should not be done without serious consideration, especially for individuals who may be considering filing for bankruptcy as 401(k) assets and other retirement funds are generally protected from creditor access in Florida.

Carolyn Secor P.A. focuses its practice in the areas of Bankruptcy and Foreclosure Defense in Clearwater, Florida.  For more information, go to our web site www.BankruptcyforTampa.com
or call (727) 254-1704.