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May 2017 Archives

Credit cards can become a debt trap when balances grow

American families owe an average of $5,700 to credit card companies according to industry data, and the figures suggest that people tend to accrue increasing amounts of revolving debt as they grow older. While credit cards provide Florida consumers with a convenient way to defer the cost of large purchases, they can become ruinously expensive when borrowers are only able to make their minimum monthly payments.

Does notice of a garnishment hearing put an end to your options?

As you struggle with the ever mounting debt that has accumulated in your financial life, it may seem at times as if you can physically feel the pull of your debts. Outstanding balances may lead to considerable stress, and though you undoubtedly want to get your financial affairs in order, you may have little money to spare when it comes to paying off those balances.

Debt settlement companies shut down by authorities

The attorney general for Florida and the Federal Trade Commission obtained a court order compelling 11 debt settlement companies owned by three people to stop marketing their services. Authorities say that the companies would tell people that they would resolve their credit card debt in exchange for a monthly payment. However, authorities said that those who paid the debt settlement companies were victims of a scam.

American household debt surpasses financial crisis peak

Many Florida residents struggle with overwhelming debt, and figures released by the Federal Reserve Bank of New York on May 17 suggest that Americans now owe more to credit card companies and banks than they did at the outset of the 2008 recession. Total U.S. household debt peaked at $12.68 trillion in the months following the 2008 financial crisis, but Americans now owe a worrying $12.73 trillion according to the report.

Rapper files his third Chapter 13 bankruptcy in 3 years

Media reports suggest that Florida rapper Maurice Young, who is better known by his stage name Trick Daddy, has filed his third Chapter 13 bankruptcy petition in as many years. Young is said to have sought debt relief for the third time on the same day that his Miami residence was scheduled to be auctioned under the state's foreclosure laws. The rapper's previous two Chapter 13 filings were dismissed because he failed to make the required plan payments according to a number of media sources.

Younger people being more responsible with credit cards

Overall, Americans have $779 billion in credit card debt, which may make it seem like people haven't learned the lessons of the Great Recession. However, there are some signs that millennials in Florida and elsewhere are actually doing a better job of managing their credit card debt. Currently, the credit utilization rate is 23 percent, which means that there is less reliance on credit and that people may be doing a better job sticking to their budget.

Supreme Court rules for creditors in debt claims case

Florida residents may be interested to hear about a recent Supreme Court ruling regarding old debt. In a 5-3 decision, the court ruled that creditors can use bankruptcy proceedings to collect balances that may otherwise be out of their reach because of the statute of limitations. The court said that companies were not violating the U.S. Fair Debt Collection Practices Act by pursuing bankruptcy claims on older debts.

The high price of a payday loan

After a difficult week, you may find yourself short of cash a day or two before payday. Maybe this has happened before, and you have solved the problem by driving to a nearby storefront for a payday loan. Only this time, you haven't paid back the loan from the previous week, and now you have to roll it over.

How to rebuild credit after declaring bankruptcy

Florida consumers who file for bankruptcy might know that a Chapter 13 bankruptcy remains on a credit record for seven years while a Chapter 7 bankruptcy stays for 10 years. However, people can start rebuilding their credit as soon as a bankruptcy is discharged. They can also start to build spending and saving habits that may prevent them from having to file for bankruptcy again in the future.

Nonprofit hospitals, trade associations can lower medical bills

Thousands of Florida residents are struggling with medical debt, but few of them know that there are organizations that may negotiate on their behalf to lower their bills. Groups such as the Alliance of Claim Assistant Professionals scrutinize itemized hospital and doctor bills to identify errors and overcharging, and they are sometimes able to slash medical debts significantly when consumers are willing to settle quickly.

Medical debt responsible for many bankruptcies

According to the Kaiser Family Foundation, more than 25 of adults throughout the United States have trouble paying their medical bills. In many cases, this results in Florida residents filing for bankruptcy even if they have insurance. In 2014, it was estimated that 40 percent of Americans had medical debt of some kind.

What should you do when creditor harassment crosses the line?

With unpaid debts come phone calls, letters and other types of collection efforts by collection agents and creditors. This is a normal thing to experience if you have a significant amount of debt, but there are times when these efforts cross the line. Fortunately, you do not have to suffer through these things alone and unsure of your options.

Trustee retroactively adjusts Chapter 13 payments

Florida residents might like to know about the events in Texas that led to a court decision stating that a bankruptcy trustee cannot retroactively adjust Chapter 13 payment plans for home-mortgage claims. In 25 cases, one trustee adjusted confirmed plan payments to retroactively accommodate home-mortgage claims filed after repayment plans were approved. The court ruled that the trustee did not have the authority to do this.

Collection agencies employ more sophisticated techniques

Florida consumers who are struggling with their financial obligations might also be dealing with new and intrusive tactics by collection agencies. For example, there are regulations that prevent collectors from calling repeatedly, but new technology allows them to leave direct voice mails without the phone ringing. Consumer advocates say they are trying to sidestep laws that protect consumers from harassment, but collection agencies claim that consumers respond to and like them.

Lender must pay millions in wrongful foreclosure case

Florida consumers might expect that when they file for bankruptcy, all creditors are supposed to stop any proceedings against them. When a lender in California went ahead with foreclosure proceedings even after a couple filed for Chapter 13 bankruptcy, it was sued and ordered to pay more than $45 million in damages.

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