RI bankruptcy lawyers know that creditors want to get paid and won’t take no for an answer. They don’t care if you recently lost your job, or are dealing with serious health concerns. As soon as you stop sending money, they will call you morning, noon and night until you take out your checkbook.
Creditors will use the telephone as a weapon. If they need to call you ten times a day in order to get paid, they will. Even worse, many creditors have no problem calling your neighbors, family members, and employers in order to put additional pressure on you. I know clients who were so embarrassed by calls to their workplace, that they used grocery money, presecription medicine money, and rent money just to get the phone calls to stop.
Are there ways to protect yourself, get a fresh start and stop the harrassing phone calls?
Yes. In fact, you have a few options.
- When the calls first start, it’s best to screen your calls and call a RI bankruptcy lawyer for advice. The fact you have creditors calling you is a sure sign that you are in financial turmoil. A qualified Rhode Island bankruptcy lawyer can quickly determine whether debt counseling or bankruptcy relief is right for you.
- Make note of the names and numbers of every bill collector who calls. It is important to keep a record should you later need to file bankruptcy, or bring a lawsuit against a creditor for unfair debt collection practices.
- If creditors are harassing you at home or work, or if calls are being made to neighbors, get protection under the Fair Debt Collection Practices Act (FDCPA). You can use this consumer protection law to request that no creditor contact you by telephone. You should also send each creditor a letter by registered mail in order to have proof they received noticed. If the creditor continues contacting you, under the FDCPA you can sue them for damages.
It is important to note that although the FDCPA can quiet phone calls, the law can only accomplish so much. Creditors are still owed the money and are determined to collect what is due them. If a creditor is legally prevented from calling you under FDCPA, they will probably hire a debt-collection lawyer to sue you. When this crisis occurs, and you have no ability to repay the debt, or you have many other unpaid bills, you need RI bankruptcy advice immediately.
In Rhode Island, once served with a summons and complaint, the defendant debtor has only 20 days to respond to the complaint in writing. A copy of your response must be sent to the plaintiff creditor’s lawyer and another copy filed with the court. Failure to respond in the 20 day period will result in a default judgment and the creditor then has power to attach bank accounts, put liens on real estate and ask for permission from the court for a wage attachment.
Once your phone starts ringing with collection calls, consider consulting an experienced RI bankruptcy attorney for advice. He can explain practical steps to make the phone calls stop permanently—and help you prepare a plan to get rid of your debt.