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Dealing with creditor harassment and debt

Throughout the nation individuals are struggling to make ends meet. This struggle has left many, including some in the state of Pennsylvania, unable to pay their bills. As a result, these individuals are often relentlessly pursued by debt collectors. According to one statistic, there are approximately 4,500 firms that engage in this activity. For those on the receiving end of these efforts the constant calls and harassment seeking payments that can’t be made can leave them feeling helpless.

Debtors receiving these calls may not be aware that they have rights. These are codified in places such as the Debt Collection Practices Act and Consumer Financial Protection Act. When a collector violates these laws it is actually possible for a debtor to file a complaint against the collector. While some debtors may be happy to hear these laws exist, the reality is they do nothing to address financial issues prompting the creditor harassment.

Addressing the underlying debt is a completely different matter. For the best result there are several steps a consumer should take. The first is to recognize there is a problem. In some cases it is possible that the funds being sought are not even owed. Even when this is not the case, ignoring the problem is not going to make the situation go away.

The next step is to address the issue. While some consumers may be tempted to enter into a program focused on debt-settlement, it is a good idea to avoid this option. This is due to the way in which such programs generally operate. In some cases for instance, the option can lead to owing greater amounts.

Individuals facing debt that is too much for them to handle may be able to deal with their situation via a bankruptcy filing. Though a scary proposition for some, it often the best way to address debt. Filing for bankruptcy puts a stop to the creditor harassment. A lawyer who handles such cases is usually the best place to start. They should be able to determine whether a Chapter 7 or Chapter 13 filing is the best way to proceed.

Source: Trib Live, “What to do when debt collectors pursue you,” The Associated Press, July 24, 2013

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