Category : Credit Cards, Debts, Negotiations, & Settlements

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What You Can Do To Get Charged Off Accounts Off Your Credit Report

Your credit report sums up your creditworthiness, and is relied upon by lenders when you apply for new loans. If your credit report shows you pay late, have been foreclosed on, or had a car repossessed you are less likely to get a loan with a lower rate. But bad marks on your credit, even a bankruptcy, do not mean that you can never buy a house or get a loan. And while there are some things you are not able to control, when it comes to your credit you should question what is reported and make challenges when necessary. If you are successful, your credit score can go up, which helps you get better loan offers.

One of the most damaging items on your credit is a charged off account. A charged off account is one where you have not made payments for at least six months, so the creditor writes the balance off their books and asks that you pay the entire balance at once. Most people are not able to pay a large balance all at one time, and so the lender ends up going to Court to get a judgment for the balance. All of these things hurt your credit, and so you should do these things to have a charged off account removed from your report:

• Respond to any lawsuit filed against you, so you can assert any defenses you have to the nonpayment of the debt.
• Dispute that the debt is valid, and ask the lender to provide you with a pay history and current balance due.
• Challenge the balance, which will require you to show all payments made and show that the creditor’s records are not accurate.

It is important to remember that an account that is reported as charged off is not the same as an account being reported as paid off. You can also try to work with the lender directly, and ask that they remove the notation of charge off from your credit. If you decide to make this request, it is crucial to do it in writing and keep copies of all correspondence you receive from the lender. If the lender make an agreement with you but that agreement is not reflected on your credit report, you can send copies of all documentation to the credit reporting agencies and ask for an investigation. We can help with this process, and invite you to contact us today to learn your options and how we can help you achieve financial success.

For more information about how to get out of debt or what to do to make sure your credit report is accurate, contact us at www.DsouzaLegalGroup.com. We will help by coming up with solutions that work for you.

Five Ways To Manage Debt

Managing debt is no fun, but is a necessary part of life if you want to have financial success. The key to successful debt management is to come up with a plan that works for you, and stick to that plan. Once you have identified your financial needs, you are better prepared to come up with a debt management plan that makes sense. Regardless of whether you have a little debt, or are struggling to make ends meet, there is a plan that will help you.

The first step is to make a list of your expenses, and add up your total household income. Once you do that, here are five ways to manage the debt you have:

• Budget to spend only what you make, and no more. If you are spending more than you make, a budget will show you where you can cut out an expense, or at least cut back on the amount of that expense each month.
• Consolidate high rate debts into one loan with a lower interest rate, so you only have one payment each month at a lower rate. This will not only make it easier to pay the debt because you will only have to make one payment, but you will also pay off your debt faster because the interest rate will not be as high.
• Ask your mortgage lender to modify your mortgage. A mortgage modification lowers the interest rate on your house payment, which means a lower house payment. If you are able to pay less for your house each month, you can use the extra money to pay off other debts.
• Focus on one debt at a time, pay that debt off, and then use that monthly payment to work on the next debt.
• Call your credit card companies and ask for a lower rate, or for a lump sum payment of less than what is owed to settle the account in full.

You can also manage debt by seeking the relief offered by the bankruptcy laws. The biggest benefit of filing bankruptcy is that the instant you file a case your lenders are prohibited from contacting you, from maintaining pending collection actions, or from starting a new collection lawsuit against you. This means if you are in foreclosure or your wages are being garnished, these will stop the minute a bankruptcy case is filed.

For more information about bankruptcy, contact us at www.DsouzaLegalGroup.com.

Three Reasons Why You May Not Be Able To Save Any Money

We all know having a savings account can help you stay out of debt when an emergency or unexpected expense arises. But knowing that having a savings account is important does not always equate to being able to fund a savings account. For most people, money is tight, and people are having a hard time just paying the bills these days, let alone having any extra money left to set aside at the end of the day. But that does not have to be the case, and with a quick look at what is keeping you from saving, you can learn where a change in habits is needed so you can be more financially prepared for what life throws at you.

Three reasons why you may not be able to save any money are:

• You don’t have a budget, so you don’t know where your money is going each pay day. When you don’t know what expenses you have, you are not able to pinpoint areas of overspending and thus miss opportunities to cut back and save.
• Your check book isn’t balanced. A balanced check book is something that is hard to achieve, especially if you use your debit card or a phone app to make most of your purchases. Unless you write down these expenditures or keep every receipt you get, you may be overlooking a purchase. If you don’t have record of what you’ve spent, you will not be able to balance your check book and so won’t ever have a good picture of how much money is available to you for saving.
• You spend more than you make. If you routinely spend more money than you make, you will never have anything left to put into a savings account.

We know how hard it is to save money, especially when you have had a financial set back. It could be that you have been laid off, had a medical emergency, or been forced to work fewer hours at a lower rate of pay, and these circumstances make it hard to pay the bills let alone start a savings. If you have too much debt, think about how filing bankruptcy might help you. Bankruptcy can help you get out of debt, cab help you learn what types of spending behaviors lead to debt, and can give you instant relief from creditor harassment so you can stop and breathe.

For more information about bankruptcy, contact us at www.DsouzaLegalGroup.com. We will help by coming up with solutions that work for you.

What Happens In A Repossession Action?

A repossession case is a legal way for a lender to take your property away from you, when you don’t make the required payments. It is a type of action reserved for the taking of personal property, which is not the same as real estate. Commonly repossessed items of personal property includes cars, motorcycles, and boats. In some states a repossession agent can take a person’s car or other items of personal property without a lawsuit being filed, as long as there is not a breach of the peace during the taking. However, it is more likely that the lender will file a lawsuit to take your property, and this type of action is called a replevin.

In a replevin action the lender has to do the following:

• Identify the item sought to be repossessed, with enough description so that the item is easy to spot when the writ of possession is entered. It is critical that the Court has enough information to identify the property, so a wrongful repossession can be avoided.
• Sue for at least the value of the item.
• Seek an order from the Court allowing the property to be seized.
• Set forth information that shows why and how the lender is entitled to take possession of the property. This usually consists of allegations that the loan is in default and that the lender has an interest in the property, as a secured creditor for having made the loan used to purchase the item.

If you receive a replevin suit, you will need to file an answer or you risk losing your property. There may be circumstances that prevent the lender from taking your property, but if you fail to file an answer and set forth those reasons the Court will allow the repossession to take place. One option you have, aside from filing an answer and raising a valid defense to the request to replevin, is to file for bankruptcy. A bankruptcy action will stop a pending replevin request, and will also help you to get the rest of your finances in order. Bankruptcy filings also put an end to foreclosures and wage garnishments. For help deciding what is best for you, call us today.

For more information about repossessions, contact us at www.DsouzaLegalGroup.com.

Coming Up With A Budget That Works

We all know that having a budget is the best way to keep track of what you spend, and what you need to pay each month. The idea is great in theory, but can be very difficult to put in to practice in real life. This is because there always seem to be expenses that come up that have not been budgeted for and this causes a great many of us to resort to loans or credit cards to make ends meet. When you have to take out a loan or use a credit card to pay for an everyday expense because your budget was busted due to an emergency, debt can mount up quickly. Unless you make enough money to pay off a loan or credit card balance in a short amount of time, you are also going to be paying interest for these funds, and as the interest begins to add up so does the total balance due. This scheme makes the banks a lot of money, but does nothing to keep more of your hard-earned cash in your pocket. To combat this problem, it is critical to come up with a budget and stay on top of your spending.

Here are some tips for coming up with a budget that works:

• Don’t forget to include things you pay weekly, like insurance or gas, when coming up with a monthly budget. Remember, not all months have 4 weeks, there are some that are longer and you will need to take that into account when coming up with a monthly budget.
• Be honest about where your money goes, if you go to Starbucks or buy your lunch every day, you have to include those extras in your budget.
• Be reasonable about what you can eliminate, because if you try to make a budget that leaves you no room for a break now and then, you will be more tempted to stray from your plan.

Even with a budget it is still possible to experience a financial downturn. If so, think about turning to us for help with a bankruptcy as your answer. A bankruptcy case will give you immediate relief, and the idea is that you will also receive long term financial success. Our staff is prepared to give you the information you need to decide if bankruptcy is right for you.

For more information about budgets and bankruptcy, contact us at www.DsouzaLegalGroup.com. We will help by coming up with solutions that work for you.

What To Do If You Are Turned Down For A Mortgage Modification

Most family’s biggest monthly expense is their house, and when money gets tight it can be scary to think that you may not be able to keep your house. Fortunately, there are options for lowering your mortgage payment, and if you are able to take advantage of one of these options, you can enjoy a lower house payment. The most popular option is to modify your mortgage, which requires your lender’s agreement. In order to receive a modification of your mortgage loan, you have to apply with your lender and be approved for the new mortgage terms. Sadly, not all lenders are willing to agree to modified mortgages, and many homeowners are left still struggling.

If you are turned down for a mortgage modification, you are not out of luck. There are other things you can do to help make ends meet, including:

• Reducing luxury purchases.
• Refinancing a car.
• Shopping around for cheaper auto and life insurance.
• Coming up with a meal plan, and shopping only for the ingredients needed.
• Use coupons and buy things when they are on sale.
• Pay your electric bill on an averaged basis, so the amount is close to the same each month, which makes it easier to develop and stick to a budget.

If you have tried these things, and likely several others, and are still underwater financially, you should consider filing for bankruptcy. Bankruptcy is a legal way to eliminate debts, or have them greatly reduced. Depending on what type of case you are eligible to file, you will either get to wipe out all of your unsecured debts (like credit cards and medical bills), or pay only a small portion of the balances. When you have less debt, you have more freedom. Filing bankruptcy will also put a stop to a foreclosure, a repossession, and a wage garnishment. All of those things add to an already stressful situation, so having them exit your life will give you the emotional lift you need to figure out your bills. We have had experience filing bankruptcy for a countless number of client, and can take on your case too.

For more information about mortgage modifications, and to find out what you can keep and what you have to give back if you file a case, contact us at www.DsouzaLegalGroup.com.

What Documents Are Required To Modify My Mortgage?

When you think back to the time you bought your house, you probably remember having to fill out a lot of forms and provide a lot of documentation. There is no doubt that buying a home is a detailed process, once which includes a lot of paperwork. So if you are thinking about asking for a modification of your mortgage, in an effort to lower your current house payment, you might be hesitant to go through that paper intensive process again. But a modification of your mortgage is a different process than applying for a mortgage loan, and the amount of time and paperwork required is not as much.

The typical process for a mortgage modification, and a short list of the most common documents required, is:

• Making a request for a modification, which can be done over the phone with your current lender and then followed up by filling out a short application form if, after a quick phone call you are still interested in the modification program being offered.
• The application will likely include a request that you submit documentation of your earnings. Most people do this by providing pay stubs, but you could also provide a W2, or a tax return.

You will probably also have to provide the past few months’ worth of your checking and savings account balances. This is done by giving the mortgage lender copies of your most recent bank statements, and depending on your mortgage lender, you may be able to provide copies you print yourself from online banking. It is unusual to be asked to provide much more than what is outlined above, but it can happen. For instance, don’t be surprised if you are asked to turn over a copy of your homeowner’s insurance policy, or to provide information about your property taxes. These documents are needed if your mortgage includes an escrow account for payment of these expenses, and in order to accurately calculate your new payment under the modification, the lender has to know these cots. And once you do provide the completed application and the requested documents, you have to stay on top of the lender for a response. Some lenders have the reputation for asking for duplication documents, so it is always a good idea to keep a record of what you have already provided. If you need help with the process, we are here to give assistance, and can also talk over other options with you.

For more information about how to manage debt or what is needed to modify a mortgage loan, contact us at www.DsouzaLegalGroup.com. We will help by coming up with solutions that work for you.

Where Does The Money Go When My House Is Sold At Foreclosure Sale?

If you are behind on your mortgage payments your mortgage holder will probably start foreclosure proceedings against you. If you are unable to defend the foreclosure your home will be scheduled for foreclosure sale. There are a lot of misperceptions about these sales and many homeowners believe the sale is the final step in the matter and nothing further can happen afterwards. In some cases this is true, but in others there is a different result. It is helpful to know what to expect if your house is sold at foreclosure so you don’t have a surprise down the road.

One of the most frequently asked questions about the sale of a home in a foreclosure is where the money comes from, and where it goes after the sale is final. The logistics of the funding for a property sold at foreclosure sale typically go along these lines:

  • When the lender gets the property back at the sale no real money is paid. The bid is what is called a credit on the judgment obtained and the lender does not have to pay for the property because they have a judgment.
  • If a third party does buy the home at the sale the sales proceeds are given to the lender. This is after any taxes and any other fees are paid.
  • In the rare event there are excess funds after these payments are made, the borrower is entitled to those funds.

This process leads many to question how a lender comes up with their bid amount, and if it is fair for the lender to start the bidding. Another issue that creates a lot of curiosity about the process is what happens to the property after the sale. If the home went back to the mortgage company they will remarket that property, but the sales price will be used to determine if there is any deficiency still owed by the borrower. If there is a deficiency the lender might take steps to try and collect from the homeowner. You can challenge the valuation and the process, but you have to act fast. If you are concerned you still owe your mortgage lender after a foreclosure sale has taken place, call us for an analysis of what happened in your case.

For more information about foreclosure sales, contact us at  www.DsouzaLegalGroup.com. We will help by coming up with solutions that work for you.

What To Do When Lenders Violate Collection Laws

Being sued for a past due debt will cause you stress and anxiety, sleepless nights, and can lead to distraction on the job. This is because most creditors are relentless when it comes to collecting their debt and refuse to listen to reason or to work with honest consumers. The level of contact from a lender can border on harassment and add to the emotional trauma of being unable to pay your bills. No one takes out a debt with the intention of letting it go unpaid but sometimes life has other plans and things happen. But what should not happen is violations of the rules in place for debt collection and when a lender crosses the line the debtor can and should take action.

The law that governs how debt collection cases should go is called the Fair Debt Collection Practices Act, and it requires the following:

  • Debt collectors have to advise you they are debt collectors and not the original lender. Part of this notice has to inform you that the purpose of the communication is to collect a debt and that any information you provide in response will be used for that reason.
  • You must be given the opportunity to dispute the debt.
  • You can ask for the name of the original lender and that must be provided to you.
  • You can ask for a payment history and that proof of debt be given to you before the case proceeds any further.

You can also ask that the debt collector cease and desist from contacting you. If the collector fails to abide by your request this is a violation of the Act. Violations of the Act are actionable, meaning you can sue the debt collector for any damages the violation has caused you. This can be tricky business and is best left to a knowledgeable consumer protection attorney. If you are being harassed by a debt collector, or if threats have been made in connection of a past due debt call our office. We know what to do to put a stop to the prohibited acts and can also take action on your behalf against the debt collector.

For more information about lawful debt collection practices, contact us at  www.DsouzaLegalGroup.com. We will help by coming up with solutions that work for you.

 

 

Three Ways To Stop A Wage Garnishment

Do you remember the excitement of getting your first job, and how quickly that excitement faded when you saw how much of your paycheck was held out for things like taxes? No one likes to have their paycheck reduced, but the facts of life are that certain charges come out of your pay that make your take home pay much less than what you need. There is little anyone can do to avoid having taxes withheld from their pay, but there are other deductions that can be avoided. One of these deductions is a wage garnishment, and if you have received a paycheck where money was held out to pay a creditor you should take immediate action.

Three good ways to stop a wage garnishment and put more of your hard earned money back in your pocket include:

  • Calling the lender to negotiate voluntary payments on the debt. Sometimes the key to keeping lenders happy and off of your back is communication. If you show you are willing to talk to them about your debt they may be more willing to work with you on a repayment plan.
  • Asking the Court to enter an order that states you are exempt from being garnished. Typically a showing of some sort of undue hardship as a result of the garnishment is required to get this type of Order, and that will mean you have to go to Court and bring in evidence about your expenses and pay.
  • Filing bankruptcy will prevent a creditor from taking any collection efforts, including a pending garnishment.

Of these three options bankruptcy can provide the most benefits. Not only will bankruptcy stop a pending wage garnishment but it will also prevent a lender from filing a foreclosure or making collection calls. These protections are a welcome relief when you are facing too much financial stress and also give you a chance to collect yourself and to breathe again. If you have more debts than you can pay, are being garnished, or a foreclosure is imminent, call us for help.

For more information about how to stop wage garnishments or other debt collection efforts, contact us at  www.DsouzaLegalGroup.com. We will help by coming up with solutions that fit the facts of your case.