How long will my bankruptcy stay on my credit report?

Credit Report Dispute

My office gets many questions from consumers who have gone through the bankruptcy process about its affects on their credit reports. One of the key concerns is the length of time that their reports will show the bankruptcy filing. The Fair Credit Reporting Act (FCRA) prohibits consumer reporting agencies, or “CRAs” from reporting obsolete information on consumers’ reports. The FCRA sets different time frames for obsolescence of different types of information, however, and consumers are often mistaken about when the law considers bankruptcy information to be obsolete. Continue reading

Is the person who wrote me a real attorney?

If you live in North Carolina and you have unpaid debts, at some point in time you will likely get a letter or call from a debt collection attorney or law firm hired by your creditor.  Unfortunately, many North Carolina residents are now getting called by scam artists pretending to be attorneys and falsely threatening lawsuits to extort money.

So how can you know if you are dealing with a legitimate attorney? Continue reading

Defenses to Credit Card Lawsuits

Credit card lawsuit judge.

Sitting in court, I often see people trying to defend themselves against credit card collection lawsuits. They usually tell the judge that they do not have any money to pay on the debt. Their situations are always very sympathetic, but judges have to follow the law. I have yet to see anyone win their case with the “no money” defense.

Continue reading

How to Stop Debt Collectors’ Calls

Cease and Desist from Calling

Repeated, unwanted calls from debt collectors can be annoying, even harassing.  Many consumers have told me that they considered filing for bankruptcy just to stop the calls!  That is a drastic step that may not be necessary in every case.   That’s because the federal Fair Debt Collection Practices Act gives consumers the right to request that third party collection agencies and junk debt buyers stop calling them. Continue reading

What Property is Exempt from Seizure after a Judgment in North Carolina?

The party who wins a lawsuit in North Carolina can collect (or “execute”) on the judgment awarded.  “Execution” means that the winning party can ask a county sheriff to seize the losing party’s property or levy on the losing party’s bank account.  North Carolina law, however, allows each losing party (known as a “judgment debtor”) to keep a certain amount of money and property safe from judgment collection.

North Carolina’s safe amounts, known as exempt property or “exemptions” include the following: Continue reading