Vehicle repossessions are unfortunately quite common as many people are still struggling to gain a foothold in the unsure economy. Falling behind on vehicle payments can occur for a variety of reasons, with medical hardship and job loss as two of the biggest contributing factors. You should contact your friendly neighborhood bankruptcy lawyer who will help you.
How Your Vehicle Can Survive the “Repo Man”
Contrary to popular belief, repossessions can happen even if you’re a single day late on a car payment. While the amount of time varies depending on the lender, falling behind on car payments is risky because banks and finance companies are often trying to squeeze as much out of consumers as possible. Bill collectors are usually paid a commission based on a percentage of what they collect, so they have a very strong incentive to either obtain payment or repossess the vehicle. But that’s just the beginning of the collections process; just because they got their vehicle back doesn’t mean you’re off the hook. Repossessions usually involve all kinds of extra fees tacked on along the way in addition to the remaining balance of the vehicle after it’s auction (which is virtually always less than market value). You might expect the collections efforts to get even more intense.
Debt collectors are notorious for bending the rules and being unethical, with upwards of 130,000 complaints filed against them with the Federal Trade Commission in the last year. The truth of the matter is that bill collectors have one goal: to collect. They rarely (if ever) inform consumers of their rights under federal law and the options available to them. Scare tactics are often used instead because the consumer’s best interest is not really that important to a bill collector. If no payment is made a lawsuit can be filed and a wage garnishment can be applied to the debtor.
That’s why it’s important to speak with an experienced bankruptcy attorney as soon as you know there’s an issue. Filing for bankruptcy will stop repossessions and other collection activities immediately. In fact, in most cases you can maintain possession of your vehicle through the bankruptcy process! Of course, in some cases it isn’t worth keeping a car if it’s unneeded. In those cases, a voluntary surrender in bankruptcy means you give the vehicle back to the lender, but the debt can be wiped out completely (including any fees they’d love to tack on).
If you’re behind on your payments, contact the bankruptcy team at the Lincoln Law to learn about your options and come up with a plan of action in the event you can’t catch up on your payments. Facing repossession and other collection tactics can be frightening, but with the power of the bankruptcy code on your side, it doesn’t need to be. By choosing an experienced bankruptcy law firm, you can protect your valued property and stop debt collectors in their tracks.
Do I Need A Lawyer To File Bankruptcy?
If your financial struggle is causing you to consider filing for bankruptcy, you might be wondering if you must hire a lawyer to represent you.
The Risks with a Lawyer
While technically there is no requirement to hire a lawyer, it is important to recognize that the rules governing bankruptcy, called the Bankruptcy Code, are extremely complicated. A bankruptcy petition listing your assets, debts and other pertinent information is at least 35 pages long (and often longer). Errors in the petition could result in a dismissed (or unsuccessful) case or even loss of property you thought you would otherwise keep. It’s also important that all the information is prepared properly and accurately, because information perceived as misleading could land you in jail for fraud or perjury.
Qualifications of Bankruptcy Attorneys
Attorneys go to school for several years to obtain a juris doctorate degree. With their J.D. behind them, they take on the challenge of their state’s bar exam – if they pass, they are licensed to practice law in that particular state. However, since bankruptcy laws are written by the U.S. Congress, lawyers also need to familiarize themselves with the federal bankruptcy code specifically, which isn’t generally a focus on the bar exam. But even once all of these obstacles have been overcome, it’s important to remember that not all lawyers are the same – experience and focus in bankruptcy matters tremendously.
Our Recommendation for Bankruptcy
Although it’s not technically required, it’s most definitely prudent to hire a bankruptcy attorney who is extremely knowledgeable and experienced to assist you along the way. A relatively small expense earns you years of legal experience and the understanding of the bankruptcy code. Do some investigation about the attorneys you are considering working with. Are there complaints about them on government or review websites? You can also check county court records to see if the lawyer has ever been arrested or charged with a crime. One of the best resources for finding a trusted lawyer is simply ask your friends and family members if they know someone who can help you. But ultimately you’ll want to meet whoever you are considering working with to ensure they are knowledge, trustworthy and considerate of your goals.
Free Consultation with a Bankruptcy Lawyer
If you have a bankruptcy question, or need to file a bankruptcy case, call Ascent Law now at (801) 676-5506. Attorneys in our office have filed over a thousand cases. We can help you now. Come in or call in for your free initial consultation.
8833 S. Redwood Road, Suite C
West Jordan, Utah
84088 United States
Telephone: (801) 676-5506
Which Bankruptcy Clears all Debt?