Posts Tagged ‘bankruptcy


creditor harassment – how to end it

Under the law, threatening violence, using obscene language and calling persistently with the intent to irritate/annoy amounts to harassment. Also, calling home at odd hours or at work place if there has been a notification to not do so or even calling up relatives or friends without your permission can all amount to harassment.

What Can be Done to End to Harassment?

Attempt to engage the creditor before anything else, unless you have a strong feeling that the person may not be pleasant. Explain the reasons for your default, and try to reason with them and ask for payment extensions or payment options, or present any payment plans you believe will be feasible.

As much as one would hope reason and logic can win the battle, the fact is that more often that not, it will not work this way. Debt collectors will almost certainly live up to the stereotype of being unreasonable, difficult people. The next option you, as a debtor, have is to file for bankruptcy. Bankruptcy will ensure that all debt collection actions (including phone calls), ethical or otherwise, come to an immediate end. As soon as you file for bankruptcy all creditors and bill collectors must immediately end their collection efforts. Once you’ve filed for bankruptcy, both the Bankruptcy Court and the attorney will notify all creditors of your bankruptcy through the mail. In the meanwhile, since this could take a week or so to reach them, you can also notify them in case you get a call, or a creditor comes ringing your doorbell.

Legal Remedies in lieu of Bankruptcy?

The Fair Debt Collection Practices Act provides the consumer with legal remedies against creditors who violate its provisions. The federal Fair Debt Collections Practices

Act (FDCPA ) prohibits a collection agency from engaging in many kinds of activities.

(15 U.S.C. §§ 1692 and following.) If a collection agency violates the law, you have the right to sue the agency. If the creditor that hired the agency was involved in the unlawful conduct, you may also be able to sue the creditor. If the behavior is truly outrageous, the creditor may waive the debt and remove the negative marks from your credit report in exchange for your agreement not to sue.

Under the FDCPA , a collection agency cannot legally engage in any of the following activities.

1. Communications with third parties.

2. A collection agent cannot contact you:

• at an unusual or inconvenient time or place—the debt collector must assume that calls before 8 a.m. and after 9 p.m. are inconvenient unless the collector knows otherwise, or

• at work, if the collector knows that your employer prohibits you from receiving collections calls at work.  If you are contacted at work, tell the collector that your boss prohibits such calls.

3. Harassment or abuse.  A collection agent cannot engage in conduct meant to harass, oppress, or abuse you. The agent cannot:

• use or threaten to use violence or harm you, another person, or your or another person’s reputation or property

• use obscene, profane, or abusive language

• publish your name as a person who doesn’t pay bills, such as in a “deadbeats” list

• list your debt for sale to the public

• call you repeatedly, or

• place telephone calls to you or any other person without identifying him or herself.

4. False or misleading representations.  A collection agent cannot:

• claim to be a law enforcement officer, suggest that he or she is connected with the government, or send you a document that looks like it’s from a court or government agency

• falsely represent the amount you owe, the character or legal status of the debt, or the amount of compensation the agent will receive

• falsely claim to be an attorney or send you a document that looks like it’s from a lawyer

• communicate false credit information, including failing to tell someone you dispute a debt

• use a false business name

• claim to be employed by a credit bureau, unless the collection agency and the credit bureau are the same company, or

• threaten to take action that he or she does not intend to take or cannot take.

5. Unfair practices. A collection agent cannot engage in any unfair or outrageous method to collect a debt. Specifically, the agent cannot:

• add interest, fees, or charges not authorized in the original agreement or by state law

• solicit a postdated check for the purpose of threatening you with criminal prosecution

• accept a check postdated by more than five days unless the agent notifies you between three and ten days in advance of when it will be deposited

• deposit a postdated check prior to the date on the check, or

• call you collect or otherwise cause you to incur communications charges.

If you are being harassed by bill collectors, call us for a FREE consultation:



FAQ regarding deed in lieu of foreclsoure

Q. What is the definition of a deed in lieu of foreclosure?

A. The homeowner exchanges his or her ownership interest in the house, represented by a deed, back to the mortgage holder in order to avoid mortgage foreclosure and in some cases forgiveness of a mortgage deficiency.

In basic terms, you give the keys to your home back to the bank and you walk away;  the bank agrees not to foreclose or ever ask you for any more money.

Q. Under what circumstances would a homeowner do a deed in lieu of foreclosure?

In general, two sets of homeowners pursue a deed in lieu of foreclosure as a way out for mortgage trouble.

  • Homeowners who do not want to keep their home under any circumstances
  • Homeowners who, despite a wish to keep their home, reached the assumption that no foreclosure prevention alternatives will allow them to keep their house.

Q. Why would someone want to forfeit their home as a first choice?

  •       Homeowner does not like the house itself.
  •       The location is no longer right.
  •       The house is no longer the right size or right type.
  •       Neighborhood or zoning degradation.
  •       Repair, renovation or structural issues.
  •       Homeowner no longer needs a house at all anymore.

Q. How does a homeowner end up at the conclusion that they must give up the house?

  • Mathematically beyond hope
  • No applicable methods to stop foreclosure
  • Exhausted all options

If you are facing foreclosure, contact us for a FREE initial consultation:



stock market up. gdp up. unemployment…….up?

By PALLAVI GOGOI AP Business Writer

(AP) – Corporate profits are up. Stock prices are up. So why isn’t anyone hiring?

Actually, many American companies are – just maybe not in your town. They’re hiring overseas, where sales are surging and the pipeline of orders is fat.

More than half of the 15,000 people that Caterpillar Inc. has hired this year were outside the U.S. UPS is also hiring at a faster clip overseas. For both companies, sales in international markets are growing at least twice as fast as domestically.

The trend helps explain why unemployment remains high in the United States, edging up to 9.8 percent last month, even though companies are performing well: All but 4 percent of the top 500 U.S. corporations reported profits this year, and the stock market is close to its highest point since the 2008 financial meltdown.

But the jobs are going elsewhere. The Economic Policy Institute, a Washington think tank, says American companies have created 1.4 million jobs overseas this year, compared with less than 1 million in the U.S. The additional 1.4 million jobs would have lowered the U.S. unemployment rate to 8.9 percent, says Robert Scott, the institute’s senior international economist.

“There’s a huge difference between what is good for American companies versus what is good for the American economy,” says Scott.

American jobs have been moving overseas for more than two decades. In recent years, though, those jobs have become more sophisticated – think semiconductors and software, not toys and clothes.

And now many of the products being made overseas aren’t coming back to the United States. Demand has grown dramatically this year in emerging markets like India, China and Brazil.

Meanwhile, consumer demand in the U.S. has been subdued. Despite a strong holiday shopping season, Americans are still spending 3 percent less than before the recession on essential items like clothing and more than 10 percent less on jewelry, furniture, electronics, and big appliances, according to MasterCard’s SpendingPulse.

“Companies will go where there are fast-growing markets and big profits,” says Jeffrey Sachs, globalization expert and economist at Columbia University. “What’s changed is that companies today are getting top talent in emerging economies, and the U.S. has to really watch out.”

With the future looking brighter overseas, companies are building there, too. Caterpillar, maker of the signature yellow bulldozers and tractors, has invested in three new plants in China in just the last two months to design and manufacture equipment. The decision is based on demand: Asia-Pacific sales soared 38 percent in the first nine months of the year, compared with 16 percent in the U.S. Caterpillar stock is up 65 percent this year.

“There is a shift in economic power that’s going on and will continue. China just became the world’s second-largest economy,” says David Wyss, chief economist at Standard & Poor’s, who notes that half of the revenue for companies in the S&P 500 in the last couple of years has come from outside the U.S.

Take the example of DuPont, which wowed the world in 1938 with nylon stockings. Known as one of the most innovative American companies of the 20th century, DuPont now sells less than a third of its products in the U.S. In the first nine months of this year, sales to the Asia-Pacific region grew 50 percent, triple the U.S. rate. Its stock is up 47 percent this year.

DuPont’s work force reflects the shift in its growth: In a presentation on emerging markets, the company said its number of employees in the U.S. shrank by 9 percent between January 2005 and October 2009. In the same period, its work force grew 54 percent in the Asia-Pacific countries.

“We are a global player out to succeed in any geography where we participate in,” says Thomas M. Connelly, chief innovation officer at DuPont. “We want our resources close to where our customers are, to tailor products to their needs.”

While most of DuPont’s research labs are still stateside, Connelly says he’s impressed with the company’s overseas talent. The company opened a large research facility in Hyderabad, India, in 2008.

A key factor behind this runaway international growth is the rise of the middle class in these emerging countries. By 2015, for the first time, the number of consumers in Asia’s middle class will equal those in Europe and North America combined.

“All of the growth over the next 10 years is happening in Asia,” says Homi Kharas, a senior fellow at the Brookings Institute and formerly the World Bank’s chief economist for East Asia and the Pacific.

Coca-Cola CEO Muhtar Kent often points out that a billion consumers will enter the middle class during the coming decade, mostly in Africa, China and India. He is aggressively targeting those markets. Of Coke’s 93,000 global employees, less than 13 percent were in the U.S. in 2009, down from 19 percent five years ago.

The company would not say how many new U.S. hires it has made in 2010. But its latest new investments are overseas, including $240 million for three bottling plants in Inner Mongolia as part of a three-year, $2 billion investment in China. The three plants will create 2,000 new jobs in the area. In September, Coca-Cola pledged $1 billion to the Philippines over five years.

The strategy isn’t restricted to just the largest American companies. Entrepreneurs, whether in technology, retail or in manufacturing, today hire globally from the start.

Consider, which powers the search engines of sites like Yahoo Travel and Aol Autos. The company was founded in 2005 with employees based in San Francisco and Serbia.

Harvard Business School Dean Nitin Nohria worries that the trend could be dangerous. In an article in the November issue of the Harvard Business Review, he says that if U.S. businesses keep prospering while Americans are struggling, business leaders will lose legitimacy in society. He exhorted business leaders to find a way to link growth with job creation at home.

Other economists, like Columbia University’s Sachs, say multinational corporations have no choice, especially now that the quality of the global work force has improved. Sachs points out that the U.S. is falling in most global rankings for higher education while others are rising.

“We are not fulfilling the educational needs of our young people,” says Sachs. “In a globalized world, there are serious consequences to that.”


credit card offers coming back

According to the Wall Street Journal, after more than two years of tight lending, banks have begun originating more mortgages and offering customers with credit card offers.  With the economy seemingly improving in 2010, banks feel more secure to offer credit.

Recent law changes have placed limits on fees credit card issuers for charges such as late payments and frequency of interest rate increases.  Subprime credit issuers that relied on such fees to generate revenue determined that such debtors were more of a liability than a source of profits. Therefore, credit card providers have targeted borrowers with a credit score of at least 720, says John Ulzheimer, president of consumer education for, a credit-monitoring web site.

The number of credit card applications sent to potential credit card users more than doubled through November, to four billion, according to Mintel Compremedia, which tracks direct marketing data.


time to end your start-up? try plan B first.

Your new start up doesn’t always go according to plan.  Some businesses are not consistent with revenues throughout the year.  Some end up focusing on the wrong market.  Some underestimate the competition. 

If you can afford to stay around for a little while longer, and Plan A isn’t working, go to Plan B, or even Plan C.  Like a doctor tending to a patient, an owner has to quickly identify what’s obstructing the business and come up with a solution that will get the business into the black.

So what can a start up do?  According to business coach, Devon Attenbaumer, the first thing a business can do is look at its pricing.  It can be a fairly easy fix.  Is the business charging too little or even too much for its services or goods?   The business may be offering a service such as photography at a price that is too low and doesn’t generate enough revenue to cover costs.  Take it upscale and offer more than your competitors but charge a premium for the upscale service.

The point being that if the current model isn’t working, the business has to quickly move on to a plan that will work if it is to survive.

Once the bills and creditor claims start adding up, then it is time for Plan D, which would include filing for bankruptcy.


Some big names that went under in 2010

The recession creeps on and it was a tough year for some iconic brands.

A&P – East Coast grocery chain.

Affiliated Media – Newspaper publisher including the San Jose Mercury News, which I grew up reading.

Ambac – Insurer of toxic mortgage backed securities.  Maybe Ambac should have read Michael Lewis’ “The Big Short”.

American Media – Publisher of the National Enquirer among others.  Wait, Angelina Jolie, Brad Pitt and Jennifer Aniston didn’t sell magazines like they used to?  I didn’t think that story could get tired.

Blockbuster – What’s Blockbuster?  I seem to remember it having something to do with renting VHS movies.

Hummer – Giant SUV’s.

MGM – Movie studio.  Doesn’t it seem like MGM is always filing for bankruptcy, about to file for bankruptcy, should file for bankruptcy?  Well, it did.

Mercury – Part of the Ford family of cars whose most memorable model was the……………..?

Movie Gallery – Ran Hollywood Video.  See Blockbuster.

Newsweek – News magazine.  People don’t read anymore.  Well, except this blog.

Pontiac – GM car division.  It had more memorable cars than Mercury at least.

So the story would appear to be that it was a bad year for cars, print media, and movies.   Looking forward to 2011.


small business hiring doesn’t inspire confidence in a strong economic rebound

Small business in the U.S. does not seem to be hiring at too fast of a clip.  According to the Wall Street Journal, although U.S. small businesses continued to hire in November, this time adding the most jobs in a month’s time in nearly three years, according to payroll company Automatic Data Processing Inc., job growth remains modest compared with pre-recession years, and many entrepreneurs say they plan to hold back for some time to come.

Small, privately held businesses—companies with fewer than 500 employees—added a net 91,000 jobs last month, according to the ADP data released Wednesday. Though that was a sizeable jump over October’s net gain of 78,000 jobs, the average net monthly gain so far in 2010 has been just 35,000 jobs.

By contrast, small businesses in 2006 and 2007 added a monthly net average of 143,000 and 79,000 jobs, respectively, ADP’s data show.

A number of factors—including pending tax legislation, the ongoing credit crunch, and changes that owners made during the recession to stay afloat—are contributing to entrepreneurs’ restrained approach to hiring according to the Wall Street Journal.

What does this mean for consumer bankruptcy filings?  Probably more of the same. Small businesses play a major role in the U.S. economy, employing half of all private-sector workers, according to the U.S. Small Business Administration. They have also historically started adding jobs more quickly after recessions than large companies. For example, small businesses added a net monthly average of 38,000 jobs in 2003, while large businesses shed a net 22,000 jobs on average per month that year, ADP’s data show.  And the unemployment numbers are always deceiving because they do not take into account the underemployed and those who have given up looking for employment.  Add to this data the fact that the housing market still appears to be in a slum nationally and there is a recipe for continued economic hard times and more bankruptcy filings.

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The content found on the financialfreshstart Blog is not legal advice and is purely for informational purposes. The Zarcone Law Firm does not guarantee the accuracy, integrity or quality of submissions. The information provided by the bloggers on this site may not represent the opinions of the Zarcone Law Firm or its affiliates. The information contained herein is not a substitute for the advice of an attorney.

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