If you’re being harassed by collections agents, it’s quite possible that you might feel like throwing your hands up and declaring bankruptcy is the only way to make the harassment stop. However, what many people often forget (or just don’t know) is that there might be alternatives to bankruptcy that you may want to check into. One of the easiest ways to stop the harassment and get back on the road to manageable debt is to try to negotiate with creditors and collection agents.
If creditors learn you are considering filing for bankruptcy, which means they will likely get nothing from you, they will be open to negotiations. The truth of the matter is that legitimate collections agencies will not be against the option of negotiation, regardless of the circumstances, if you are willing to find a compromise. They won’t settle the bill for nothing, but they often will be willing to take considerably less than you owe to clear up the debt.
If you put a payment plan in place, for example, the harassing phone calls will cease. Certainly, you have nothing to lose by attempting to negotiate with a creditor. In fact, what’s the worst thing that could happen? They say “no” and the phone keeps ringing.
Now, the real question at hand is: do you need a lawyer to manage the negotiation. The answer is “yes,” for a few reasons.
1. The collection agency or creditor may be more apt to take you seriously when you have a lawyer on your side because they will know you are serious about wanting to clear up the debt. Talk of bankruptcy doesn’t sound like an idle threat when it comes from an experienced bankruptcy lawyer.
2. A lawyer will be able to uncover illegal actions on the part of collections agencies. Agents cannot be verbally abusive and they are only allowed to call you during certain hours of the day. Getting a lawyer involved will likely stop the illegal harassment and may even bring cause for you to sue the creditor.
At the end of the day, there are only two ways to guarantee that the calls stop: pay the debt or file for bankruptcy which puts in place an “automatic stay.” However, having a lawyer help you negotiate your debt can be invaluable in terms of getting back on track. With a plan in place, you will be able to be more likely to pay the renegotiated loan at a slower pace and not have to worry about the collection company breathing down your neck.
If you or a loved one are in over your head in debt, contact experienced bankruptcy attorney Joel R. Spivack, Esq. He will explain your rights and help determine if debt negotiations are a good bet or if bankruptcy is a better choice for your family.