We help people in bankruptcy enforce their rights.
We help people who have already filed bankruptcy enforce their bankruptcy rights in court. Our law firm does not replace your current bankruptcy lawyer. We do not file bankruptcy. Instead, we assist your current bankruptcy lawyer to protect your rights during and after your bankruptcy. Our work is in addition to their services.
We do not charge you an out-of-pocket fee for our bankruptcy enforcement work. Instead, we secure our payment from the creditor.
If we do not settle or win, we do not collect a fee from you.
One of our clients received a Chapter 13 discharge. He paid on time every month during the bankruptcy and received a discharge. The court granted a "deem current" motion, so that everyone was on notice that he was completely current on his mortgage loan.
Despite the discharge and deem current order, the bank began demanding thousands of dollars in extra payments. He called multiple times. His lawyer wrote a letter. Even the bankruptcy trustee wrote a letter. Yet, the lender did nothing to fix the amount. Worse, the mortgage company threatened him with foreclosure if he did not immediately pay it over $8,000.
The lender's conduct was in flagrant violation of the bankruptcy code. The client had a bankruptcy lawyer who referred the case to us for an adversarial proceeding. We fought the case as a class action and won summary judgment against the lender on his individual claims. The entire case resolved shortly thereafter.
We fight for consumers every day. Our work with adversarial proceedings is an extension of that work. Contact us at (614) 944-5219 for help enforcing your bankruptcy rights.
Once You File Bankruptcy:
- Creditors must immediately stop contacting you and may never robo-call your cell phone.
- Your lender may not pull a copy of your credit report, even informally.
- All lawsuits against you must stop and cannot continue without bankruptcy approval.
- All pending lawsuits should have a “Suggestion of Stay” filed with the Court.
- Debt collectors cannot solicit payments from you, lie to you, or pressure you to pay any money.
- You cannot be called about a discharged debt.
- Debt collectors cannot send you letters regarding a discharged debt.
- Your credit report should be “frozen” as it pertains to discharged debts.
- You have the right to demand that your credit report be updated to “discharged in bankruptcy, zero amount owed.”
- A bank may not ask you to pay back fees or costs for a debt that was discharged.
For Repaid Chapter 13 Debts:
- Repaid debts must correctly reflect the payments you made.
- You should not receive any further demand for payment for any discharged debt.
- If your mortgage was paid as part of the bankruptcy, then your lender must start sending you mortgage statements.
- Mortgage companies are prohibited from charging you for discharged costs and fees.
- Credit bureaus must correctly reflect your accounts.
Our law firm helps people when creditors do not follow the law. A debt collector who violates your rights can be subject to penalties and pay your attorneys' fees.
Any lender who pulls your credit after your discharge is in violation of the FCRA, another federal law that provides for money damages for you plus attorneys’ fees.
Call us today at (614) 944-5219 to help enforce your bankruptcy rights.
Your Rights upon filing bankruptcy
Debt Collector Prohibitions
Federal law restricts what a debt collector is allowed to do when calling or writing you about a debt. This law is broad and applies to lawyers that regularly collect debt, as well as mortgage companies that acquire loans after they are in default. We regularly file lawsuits under the FDCPA and will evaluate any FDCPA claim for free.
The following things are illegal for a debt collector to do, and trigger mandatory damages, costs, and attorneys' fees against the debt collector:
- Calling you before 8 a.m. or after 9 p.m.
- Harassing, intimidating or cursing at you over unpaid debts.
- Threatening arrest or jail time.
- Contacting your place of business when they know your employer prohibits it.
- Lying to you about anything, misrepresenting the truth, or adding charges not authorized by your agreement.
- Sharing information about the debt with others.
- Deliberately attempting to embarrass you.
- Reporting or threatening to report false information on your credit report.
- Not identifying themselves when they contact you.
- Not honoring written requests to cease communication.
- Not identifying the name and address of the original creditor.
- Not providing verification of debt.
- Playing down your right to dispute the debt.
- Filing or threatening to file lawsuits against you in places you don’t live.
- Mailing a letter or postcard that can be identified as from a debt collector.
- Collecting on a debt discharged in bankruptcy or past the statute of limitation.
- Failing to provide their name or address on request.
- Failing to mail a letter within five days of their initial call.
- Failing to state they are a debt collector, or any information used to collect the debt.
How do I know if a debt collector is legitimately working for my creditor?
If you find yourself dealing with an unfamiliar debt collector, you can always call the original creditor and ask them if your loan was sold, or if they authorized the collection. Fake debt collectors will often try to conceal their identity instead of offering a real address or phone number, and will not be able to provide you with details regarding your debt or written validation.
A debt collector is threatening jail time if I do not pay an outstanding debt. Can I really go to jail?
You cannot go to jail for failing to pay a consumer debt. Fake debt collectors will lie and threaten when attempting to collect, and this is a clear sign that they are not legitimate. This violates federal law and should not be done by any creditor or debt collector - ever.
Can creditors contact me over discharged debts?
Creditors may not contact you regarding discharged debts. There are rare exceptions, but they should not prompt you to pay anything. Failing to list a debt has no bearing on whether or not it was discharged and if in fact it was, the creditor has no right to that debt. If a debt collector calls you regarding a discharged debt then you likely have a claim under the FDCPA.
You can reach us at (614) 944-5219 if you have a situation that might fall under the FDCPA. We are happy to evaluate any claim under the FDCPA for free. Our fees are paid by the debt collector when we prevail. if we do not win or settle, you pay us nothing.
Mortgage Loans & Bankruptcy
What information should I expect from my mortgage after discharge?
If you reaffirmed your mortgage, then after you are discharged from bankruptcy, you should begin immediately receiving statements from your mortgage company. Some banks have been known to take their time processing bankruptcies, so if you do not receive this information in a timely manner, it is best to mail in payments equivalent to what the trustee mailed them during bankruptcy. We recommend adding an extra $50-100 to your payment to protect against any escrow changes.
Federal law allows you to ask for a full accounting of your mortgage loan. We recommend you ask for this document from your mortgage company after bankruptcy. Check it closely to ensure the lender properly applied all credits and debits.
If you did not reaffirm your loan and stopped paying on it, your mortgage lender will file a foreclosure lawsuit against your property in state court. This lawsuit should NOT ask for a personal judgment against you. Instead, it should only list you as a defendant (because you own the home). You may see language that says "[bank] only seeks an in rem judgment."
If your mortgage company does not begin to mail you statements, or misappropriates funds, give us a call at 614-944-5219.
Inaccurate Mortgage Statements
We are actively seeking to represent people whose mortgage statements are inaccurate after discharge. We have noticed this is a major problem with most mortgage companies and are aggressively pursuing claims here. We have noticed four types of errors:
1. The mortgage company not recognizing the court's "Deem Current" order. These mortgage servicers are asking for hundreds or thousands of dollars in amounts discharged by the bankruptcy court.
2. The mortgage company changed the payment amount many times during the bankruptcy but did not file Payment Change Notices (PCN) with the court.
3. The mortgage company was ordered to ensure the loan's principal balance matched the amortization schedule as of the day of the discharge, but it was not.
4. The bank held money in suspense but did not tell the court or bankruptcy trustee.
What should my credit report say once I file bankruptcy?
Bankruptcy results in an immediate stay on negative reporting and the discharge is what makes that stay permanent. Your credit report should reflect the date you filed bankruptcy in the public records section, which will be the last date any negative information regarding a specific debt will appear on your credit report. Debts paid on time through bankruptcy should reflect as such on your credit report. If not, you are entitled to have that error corrected because it reflects unfairly on your credit score.
What should my credit report say after discharge?
The bankruptcy should reflect you filed bankruptcy in the public records section of the credit report, effective on the date you filed bankruptcy. Once you receive a discharge, the filing date should be the last date any negative credit information appears on your credit report for that debt.
Debts that you have agreed to repay through the bankruptcy plan (or that you reaffirmed) and that you are timely paying should be reflected as timely paid. Debts that show as “timely paid” help your score, and you have the right to have them reported correctly.
Discharged debts should stop reporting all together as of the date you filed bankruptcy (not just discharge).
The filing date is the important date to consider, not just the discharge date. This is because filing a bankruptcy results in an immediate stay on negative reporting. The discharge makes that temporary stay permanent.
What Should I do to Correct my Credit Report After Bankruptcy?
The credit bureaus are known to keep old information on file that may be inaccurate as of your bankruptcy filing. In order to correct your report, take these steps:
1. Obtain a copy of your credit report free from www.annualcreditreport.com. You get one copy each year for free from each bureau.
2. Dispute any inaccurate information directly online through each credit bureau's website. They don't allow you to type much, but your bankruptcy should offer them the information they need to make the corrections. They have 30 days to make any changes.
3. If your online dispute does not work, send a letter to the bureaus asking for the update. Attach a copy of your bankruptcy discharge and whatever other documents you have that prove the incorrect reporting. Make a copy of everything you send them and send it certified mail. They have 30 days to make the corrections.
4. If those two steps do not work, call our law firm at 614-944-5219. We would be happy to help. The credit bureau will pay our fees.
Credit Reporting & Bankruptcy
I forgot to list a debt and now the creditor says I owe it even though I got a discharge. Can they do that?
In Ohio, the courts have ruled that failing to list a debt does not affect the discharge of that debt (so long as no creditor received payment from the bankruptcy estate). Even if you do not list the debt, that debt is included within the discharge and the creditor cannot collect it from you. They cannot even call you about the debt.
If a debt collector is attempting to collect one of these debts, you likely have a claim against it under the federal law named the FDCPA and should contact our law firm by calling or scheduling your appointment now.
The Legal Tools We Use
We have several powerful tools to help you enforce your bankruptcy rights.
The first tool we use is the Fair Debt Collection Practices Act, or FDCPA. This federal law makes it illegal for a debt collector to attempt to collect on an debt in bankruptcy. The law also prohibits debt collectors from attempting to collect a debt that has been discharged in bankruptcy. We usually file these in federal district court.
The second tool we have available to help you is an "Adversarial Proceeding." This kind of action is filed in front of your bankruptcy judge. This asks the judge to punish a creditor for violating the bankruptcy code. We do not use this as frequently, but it is a powerful tool to get a creditor to finally stop violating the bankruptcy laws.
We also have other legal tools we can use, depending on the debt at issue. This might include the Real Estate Settlement Procedures Act (RESPA) for mortgage issues. It might also include Ohio's Consumer Sales Practices Act (OCSPA) for non-bank issues.
After bankruptcy, we may use the Fair Credit Reporting Act (FCRA) to correct errors on your credit report that still appear post-bankruptcy.
As a consumer protection litigation firm, we have a number of legal tools available to help you. Call us at 614-944-5219 for your free consultation today.
How do I know if a debt collector is legitimate?
Fake debt collectors will usually resort to scare tactics and lies to get you to pay the debt, such as telling you that you will go to jail if you do not pay. You cannot go to jail for failing to pay a consumer debt.
Fake collectors will usually not tell you their address or return phone number. They will use Western Union instead of normal payment methods to get payments, or ask for you to send money in ways that will prevent their identity from being known.
Fake collectors may also claim you owe debts but not provide you details about the debt, or refuse to give you written validation of any settlement terms you come to.
To protect yourself, ask them to send you written verification of the debt in the mail, and then call the original creditor to see if it was sold. Alternatively, talk to a knowledgeable attorney who might be able to provide some direction at little or no cost.