• FTC Complaints About Debt Collectors Have Increased 73 Percent Since 2008

    This video is another segment from the March 2009 Dateline NBC story on debt collectors that we posted on Wednesday. In that blog post, we also discussed one of the victims of aggressive debt collectors featured in an August 20, 2012, article published in the Los Angeles Times.

    The Times noted in that article that the Federal Trade Commission (FTC) receives more complaints about debt collectors than about any other industry. The 180,928 complaints the Times said the FTC received last year was an astonishing 73 percent increase from 2008.

    “We’ve seen a high level of complaints, and I think some of it is collectors realizing in hard times they may have to press that much harder to get someone to pay,” FTC chief debt collection lawyer Tom Pahl told the Times. “And a lot of them are pressing.”

    As the Times noted, federal law prohibits harassment and limits the frequency and hours that debt collectors can call. As we noted on Wednesday, one way to end harassing calls from debt collectors is to file Chapter 7 or Chapter 13 bankruptcy. An automatic stay goes into effect when you file bankruptcy, and this requires most debt collectors to cease their collection efforts against you until your bankruptcy has ended.

    Our Chicago bankruptcy lawyers can review your case when you complete the form located on this page, or you can set up a free consultation by contacting our firm at (866) 930-7482.

    Benjamin Brand Services – Chicago bankruptcy attorneys

  • Do Not Get Tricked Into Paying For Mortgage Help

    Despite the fact that they had only owned their condo for two months, Joyce Thompson and her husband, Paul English, received what the Chicago Tribune described  as an “official-looking letter with the words ‘foreclosure sale pending’ on the envelope” with the letter including the address of their condo and an auction date. The Tribune reported on November 15, 2011, that while the letter from a company called Expert Legal Helpers warned “your home will be sold and you will be evicted from your property,” it also stated “we will have authorization to postpone the sale of your property once we are contacted.”

    When Thompson called the company, she told the Tribune that it “sounded like a boiler room – lots of people talking in the background.” She listened to a salesman’s pitch for a few minutes before hanging up, telling the Tribune she suspected it was a scam.

    Deceptive letters such as the one Thompson and English received are becoming commonplace as more and more con artists seek to take advantage of the millions of Americans needing foreclosure help . The Tribune noted that market researcher RealtyTrac found foreclosure filings rose in the third quarter, with 1 in every 213 properties nationwide facing default notice, auction or bank repossession.

    The Tribune also noted that the Federal Trade Commission enacted a rule that forbids companies from charging up-front fees for mortgage assistance, called the Mortgage Assistance Relief Services Rule. Homeowners facing legitimate foreclosure need to know that our Chicago bankruptcy lawyer can not only provide a free initial consultation, but also help you keep your home through a Chapter 7 or Chapter 13 bankruptcy filing.

    Benjamin Brand Services – Chicago bankruptcy attorney