Are you being sued by a third-party debt buyer?

Have you received a letter or have been served a lawsuit over a debt you owe from a third-party debt collector? Tampa Consumer Protection Attorney Jeffrey Hakanson explains the small claims process, and what can happen if you do not appear in court to contest the debt. It is critical that you enlist the guidance of a trusted consumer protection lawyer who will defend your rights and fight any third-party debt buyers on your behalf. If you are having a problem with a creditor, contact us at (844) 511-4800 today to learn what your options may be.

Have you been summoned to a pre-trial hearing for debt collection?

Here is what you should know if you are summoned to a pre-trial hearing for debt collection.

There are several things you should know as a consumer to protect your rights in a debt collection case. In this video, Florida Consumer Protection attorney Jeffrey Hakanson explains the procedure, possible outcomes, and rights you must have protected during this process, including State exemptions such as the Homestead Exemption, Head of Household Exemption, Veterans Disability Exemptions, and more. Mr. Hakanson has experience and knowledge in defending the rights of consumers against the collection of social security benefits, social security disability benefits, and other state exemptions that do not allow creditors to garnish your wages in order to collect on debts. In some cases, you may be able to protect your home, 401k, IRA account, and other personal accounts from being subjected to garnishments.

If you are facing a pre-trial hearing for an unpaid debt, or need the consultation of an experienced consumer protection and debt relief lawyer in Florida, contact the law firm of McIntyre Thanasides Bringgold Elliott Grimaldi & Guito, P.A., today, to ensure your rights are protected. If you are having a problem with a creditor, contact us at (844) 511-4800 today.

Credit Card Debt? Be Cautious of Debt Settlement Companies

tampa_debt_settlement

Many consumers with outstanding credit card obligations notice the late night commercials offering to settle or negotiate their debts. Consumers should be wary of such organizations, as there may be hidden fees associated with such programs, and these groups cannot give you legal advice or represent you in court. In fact, the Consumer Protection Financial Bureau (CFPB) has been investigating and even fining debt-settlement companies for false and misleading practices.

If you have credit card debt that is hard to manage, schedule a free consultation with a consumer attorney at the McIntyre Firm. A qualified consumer attorney can discuss the various options available to you including bankruptcy and debt settlement. Further, if you are sued by a credit card company or debt collector, the attorneys at McIntyre Thanasides Bringgold Elliott Grimaldi & Guito, P.A. can help you as we have represented hundreds of consumers in similar cases. Knowledge is power. Be informed by contacting a consumer attorney at the McIntyre Firm and scheduling a free consultation.

My ITT Tech school closed. What Can I do about my Student Loan Debt?

how_does_Bankruptcy_workStudents from all of ITT Tech’s 136 locations were left without a school due to its bankruptcy and subsequent closure in September of 2016. If you are one of those students, what will you do about your outstanding student loan debt? Here is vital information about your debt options in the event your college goes out of business. If you have other inquiries about student loan debt, the skilled attorneys at McIntyre Thanasides Bringgold Elliott Grimaldi & Guito, P.A. are equipped to answer your questions and concerns.

Closed School Loan Discharge

One option is to apply for a Closed School Loan Discharge which, if granted, would release you from your student loan debt and reimburse you for what you have already paid toward the loan. This option is applicable to federal direct loans, Federal Family Education Loans (FFEL), or Federal Perkins Loans, but comes with specific eligibility criteria. A key date to note is May 6, 2016 which is 120 days prior to ITT Tech’s closing on September 6. This is the earliest date that you could have withdrawn from ITT Tech in order to be eligible for a Closed School Loan Discharge. If you were enrolled at the time of its closure, or withdrew on or after May 6, 2016, and did not complete the program for which you received federal loans, you may apply for 100% loan forgiveness if you aren’t transferring credits to another school for a similar program. If you were enrolled but on approved leave of absence during this time period, you would be considered eligible for this loan forgiveness option. Apply by filling out the Closed School Loan Discharge Application and submitting it to your loan servicer. You should continue to pay back your loans until you receive determination of whether or not your discharge has been granted or denied. For private loans, you must contact your loan servicer to learn of the options you have with them.

Transfer Schools

If you are interested in pursuing your education at a school that offers a comparable program to that which you were enrolled in at ITT Tech, you should discuss transferring with an advisor at your school of interest. Advisors will assess your coursework for the possibility of transferring credits and keeping you on your projected track of your educational goals. If you pursue a similar program with credits transferred from ITT Tech, you would not be eligible to apply for loan forgiveness through the Closed School Loan Discharge. However, if you transfer to a school to pursue a completely unrelated program than what you were enrolled in at ITT Tech, you may eligible for the Closed School Loan Discharge, provided you meet all of the other conditions.

Unexpectedly halting your education due to a school closure while saddled with student loan debt can be a major setback for your future plans. For a detailed review of your situation, contact a student loan debt relief attorney at McIntyre Thanasides who can review your options and help move you forward. Call us at 1-844-511-4800.

Do not ignore your student loan debt

student debtIt is estimated that U.S. student loan debt exceeds $1.2 trillion, with over 7 million individuals currently in default.  There is approximately $1.3 trillion of outstanding student loan debt in the U.S. that affects 44 million borrowers who had an average outstanding loan balance of $37,172.  It is further estimated that over 77 billion of dollars is currently in default.  Put simply – many who attend college or other professional schools are not producing the income necessary to pay their student loan debt.   In such situations, it is easy to give-up.  However, giving-up can be the worst thing you can do. The consequences of ignoring your student loan debt can be severe, including, derogatory credit reporting, garnishments of your paycheck, garnishments of your IRS tax refund, and even garnishment of your social security benefits.  The good news, there are options.  The difficult part for any consumer is navigating the various options available, fully understanding the ramifications of each, and making sure you are choosing the option that best works for you.

At the McIntyre Thanasides Law Firm we have formed a student loan law practice group devoted to helping consumers who need guidance in addressing their student loan dilemma and taking back their future. Contact us today to learn more.

Behind on Car Payments? Bankruptcy can help!

car_payments_bankruptcyMany consumers find themselves in a tough position when they fall behind on their monthly car payments. Once a payment is 30 days past due the collectors begin to call. Repossession companies begin to look to repossess the vehicle around 45-60 days from a payment default. A consumer with limited income is confronted with difficult choices – you need your car to get to work, but you also need to put food on your table (not to mention all of life’s other daily expenses).

Bankruptcy allows consumers a number of options to deal with late car payments. Once a bankruptcy case is filed, an “automatic stay” is invoked, meaning that the repossession company must stop attempting to secure the vehicle. In the case a chapter 13 bankruptcy, a consumer may file a plan where the past due amounts are cured over a period of time while the monthly payments are made going forward. Alternatively, many consumers take advantage of bankruptcy rules that allow the consumer to pay the amount the vehicle is worth when the case is filed, rather than the amount that is owed on the vehicle. This may be accomplished in a chapter 7 or chapter 13 bankruptcy, and provides huge relief where a consumer owed a lot more than what the vehicle is worth.

We encourage you to contact a qualified consumer bankruptcy attorney at the McIntyre Thanasides Law Firm to fully understand the relief that is available. The McIntyre Thanasides Law Firm represents consumers throughout West Florida and the Tampa Bay area. Contact us today to get started.

Are You Being Harassed for Credit Card Debt?

Harassed for Credit Card Debt

Being harassed for credit card debt can feel like a merciless series of interrogations. If you’re facing late mortgage payments, student loans, past-due bills or more, dealing with persistent calls from debt collectors usually adds to the mounds of already existing stress.

The Federal Debt Collection Practices Act (FDCPA) has rules in place prohibiting debt collectors from harassing, oppressing or abusing you while contacting you about debts.

We care about your wellbeing in times of debt. Our skilled attorneys at McIntyre Thanasides Bringgold Elliott Grimaldi & Guito, P.A are trained and able to give you the assistance you need when dealing with credit card debt harassment.

In addition to consulting with a trusted lawyer, here are a few steps you can take to protect yourself from credit card debt harassment.

Contact the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau (CFPB)

You can submit an official complaint through the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau (CFPB) reporting the harassment you are facing and giving details of your negative experience. The CFPB will then forward your complaint to the company responsible for harassing you, demanding a response within 15 days and aiding you in taking action to end the harassment. To submit a complaint, click here.

Send a cease communication letter

If debt collectors call you non-stop, especially for credit card debt, you may draft a strongly worded cease communication letter demanding them to stop contacting you while you work to pay off your debts. This course of action is most beneficial when debt collectors call you while at work, which could put your job in jeopardy.

Keep full records of your communication

As in most legal cases, documentation is key! Whenever you’re communicating with a debt collector, keep a well-rounded record of your conversations, emails or letters exchanged. Be sure to save any and all voicemails, too. By keeping a trail of your experiences with debt collectors, you have a better chance of pinpointing where and how harassment takes place, giving you the tools you need to put it to a stop.

If you face harassing phone calls, letters or emails from demanding debt collectors, we at McIntyre Law Firm are here to help. Call our consumer protection lawyers; Jeff Hakanson and James Elliott today at (844)511-4800.

Tonya Pitts on Real Estate Unplugged

Recently, Tonya Pitts, a Sarasota consumer rights attorney, appeared on the Real Estate Unplugged Show with Kay Winefordner. Real Estate Unplugged is a weekly radio show that can be found on WSRQ (106.9 FM and 1220 AM) in Sarasota. The interview can be found here.

During the interview Pitts touched on a number of topics of pertinent to consumers and gave sage advice for anyone dealing with debt or debt collectors. The following topics were covered during the interview:

  • What Pitts does as a consumer right attorney: Pitts discusses in detail how she defends clients in situations involving credit reporting, debt collection, foreclosure and bankruptcy.
  • Consumer right when dealing with debt collection agencies: Unfortunately, many people aren’t aware that they actually do have rights when dealing with debt collectors. For instance, if a debt collector sues you to reclaim a debt, you can countersue them. If they have done something that’s in violation of your consumer rights, your likelihood of winning the case increases.
  • How it is determined that a debt collector has violated your rights: Pitts gives tips for determining if debt collection agencies are in violation and discusses how she defends her clients’ rights in these cases.
  • Tips for dealing with debt collection agencies: Did you know that you can tell a debt collection agency to stop calling you? You can. Pitts gives those and other tips to quell the aggravation of dealing with debt collection agencies.
  • The bankruptcy process: Pitts demystified the bankruptcy process by explaining step by step what happens when she works with clients.
  • How to keep lawyers on task when talking with you: Pitts even gave a little advice on preventing lawyers from charging you when not talking about your case.

If you are facing a bankruptcy, foreclosure or the harassing tactics of a debt collector, contact the consumer rights attorneys at McIntyre Thanasides Bringgold Elliott Grimaldi & Guito, P.A. Their personal and precise approach will give you the results you need. Contact them today at 844-511-4800.