Are You Thinking About Getting Your Child a Debit Card?

Getting a debit card may be a bigger milestone in your child’s life than it was for you in your younger years. The Truth In Lending Act (TILA) and the Electronic Funds Transfer Act (EFTA) protects consumers who are involved in using electronic banking methods such as debit and credit cards.

Trash Out – Lock Out

Trash Out – Lock Out

It is illegal for a mortgage company or lender to remove a borrower’s personal belongings from a property and change the locks before the foreclosure process is complete. This action is called a “trash out” or “lock out”.

In Ohio, a lender has to wait 120 days after one missed payment to send a borrower a foreclosure notice. Then the borrower has 28 days to reply to the lawsuit or face default judgment. During this time the borrower is allowed to continue living at the property.

The lender has to notify the borrower through the sheriffs office when they are required to move – which occurs when the property is sold. Usually the borrower is not required to move out during the foreclosure process until the property has been sold. The property could have been sold by the consumer, an approved short sale, or through a sheriff sale.

The property becomes a sheriff sale if the borrower loses the lawsuit or faces default judgment. The borrower may continue living on the property until after confirmation of a sale. This could be a day or a couple months depending on how long it takes for the property to sell.

After confirmation of the sale, a writ of possession is filed. At this time the lenders will notify the borrowers of a move out deadline. If the borrowers fail to move out by the deadline, then the lenders have the right to hire a trash out company to remove the remaining possessions and change the locks for the new owner.


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Mistakenly Charged Off

Mistakenly Charged Off

A bank charging off a person’s bank account is harmful to a consumer credit report. Sometimes charge-offs can mistakenly continue after a consumer has paid off their debt. Troy Doucet, the firm principal at Doucet & Associates Co., L.P.A., shares his legal advice on what a consumer can do to protect their credit report from a false charge off in Help! The Bank Charged Off My Debt – After I Paid It.

A charge-off is when the bank writes off the consumers loan on its accounting financial statements. Usually this action will appear on a credit report as a charge-off and can lower a consumer’s credit score. There are ways to correct a false charge-off appearing on a consumer bank statement and credit report.

A consumer should notify the bank when seeing an invalid charge-off on a bank statement. The consumer should question if money is still owed on a previous debt and the reason for the charge-off if it is disputed. A consumer who discovers a false charge-off on a credit report has the right to correct the problem under the Fair Credit Reporting Act (FCRA).

The FCRA protects consumer right to have an accurate credit report distributed to lenders. A consumer can send a letter to a credit reporting agency such as TransUnion, Equifax, and Experian to request a change in false information. A consumer should provide all documents possible to support why the information is false. A credit reporting agency must then re investigate the credit report and verify with the consumer that the information was corrected. A false charge off on a credit report can substantially affect a consumers ability to receive a loan and low interest rates.

More information about the Fair Credit Reporting Act (FCRA) can be found in 23 Legal Defenses to Foreclosure: How to Beat the Bank by Troy Doucet.

Check out some of our related articles about credit report errors:

Five steps: How to correct a credit report error

Do you want to improve your credit score?

Fair Credit Reporting Act


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Don’t Bank on Loan Modifications, A Cautionary Tale

Don’t Bank on Loan Modifications, A Cautionary Tale

Tim Neff was a homeowner and corrections officer at the now closed Mohican Juvenile Correction Facility. While attempting to restrain an inmate in 2009, he suffered a serious back injury that put him on worker’s compensation and effectively ended his career. Around this time, he and his wife applied for a loan modification with their mortgage company, Flagstar Bank, in an attempt to make their mortgage more affordable under their new circumstances.

The Neffs claimed that Flagstar made repeated assurances to them that their request would be processed. The loan modification was necessary for the Neffs to keep their house now that Tim was on worker’s compensation and making a fraction of what he made while working as a corrections officer. Throughout the next two years, the Neffs would repeatedly call Flagstar inquiring about the status of their loan modification, to which their representatives allegedly responded by stating it was processing and requesting more documents. The Neffs readily provided Flagstar any documents that they asked for, and maintained that the bank led them to believe that the much needed loan modification was just around the corner.

In contrast to this, the Neffs alleged to receiving several notices from Flagstar and their attorneys stating that their mortgage was in default, and eventually foreclosure. They claim that when they asked Flagstar about this, the company responded by again requesting more documents and assuring the Neffs that the loan modification was still being processed. According to the lawsuit, Flagstar’s representatives even went as far as to describe the foreclosure as a “formality.” When the Neffs asked Flagstar whether or not they should hire an attorney to answer the complaint, Flagstar allegedly responded by telling them it was unnecessary and that they could do everything an attorney could.

In December of 2011, the Neffs learned through their local newspaper that their house was due to be sold. Their decision to put faith in Flagstar’s alleged assurances proved to be a fatal mistake. It became apparent to them that Flagstar had made the decision to proceed with the foreclosure process, despite the assurances the Neffs claimed to have received. According to claims made by Flagstar, the company decided to reject the Neffs’ application for a loan modification in December 2010 due to their failure to provide a singular tax document. However, the Neffs maintained that they were led to believe their loan modification was still being processed until they were made aware of the sale of their property.

The Neffs immediately sought counsel upon learning of this sale, but unfortunately it came too late to stop anything. Doucet & Associates fought hard for the Neffs, going as far as the US Sixth Circuit Court of Appeals twice, but we were ultimately unable to prevent the foreclosure or obtain monetary justice for their horrible ordeal. This should serve as a warning to anyone dealing with a mortgage company to not take anything at face value, especially if you are concerned about foreclosure. Flagstar likely spent hundreds of thousands of dollars in legal fees rather than working out a loan modification with the Neffs, which ultimately led to the Neffs losing their home.

Time is often a critical factor, especially when it comes to foreclosure defense. If you believe foreclosure may be imminent, seek legal advice. Feel free to call our Ask a Lawyer Hotline at (614) 221-9800 if you are concerned about your mortgage.


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What is the difference between bankruptcy and a loan modification?

What is the difference between bankruptcy and a loan modification?

Bankruptcy is a section of federal law that enables people who owe money from having to pay it back. Bankruptcy is actually mentioned in the Constitution, and is recognized as a way for people to obtain fresh starts, usually after some catastrophic life event caused them to acquire significant amounts of debt. Studies have consistently shown the leading cause of bankruptcy is due to significant medical bills, job loss, business failure, or family turmoil.

Bankruptcy is the process of having your debts organized and either discharged (legally forgiven), or having them repaid in an organized way over time, or a mixture of both.

In the foreclosure context, Chapter 13 bankruptcy is the tool that enables homeowners to force their mortgage company to accept repayment and causes their loan to become current over time. You basically begin making your normal mortgage payment immediately, plus an extra amount to pay back the accumulated arrears. You will make these payments pursuant to a formal plan overseen by the bankruptcy court, over a period of several years. Once you complete all your payments, the plan is done and your loan is current. You then continue with just your normal mortgage payments.

On the flip side, a loan modification is where you and your mortgage company agree privately to terms that enable you to begin repaying the loan. The process is not part of any formal bankruptcy filing, nor is it overseen by a judge. Instead, a loan modification usually comes from your mortgage company realizing you are facing financial hardship and thus deciding to offer you (or is forced to offer you by the government) a lower interest rate or longer repayment period, which lowers your payment. Alternatively, a loan modification could mean you pay a higher payment for a period of time to repay any arrearages. It could be any combination of a series of terms and is only limited to everyone’s imagination and the existing consumer laws.

In any event, a loan modification is the result of an agreement reached directly between you and your mortgage company, rather than a bankruptcy filing, which is overseen by the bankruptcy court system.


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