We Protect Debtors And Their Consumer Rights
Being in debt creates all kinds of problems, even after debts are paid off or discharged in bankruptcy. Are you hounded by a “debt buyer” who claims you owe money? Is a creditor still harassing you after being informed of your bankruptcy? Does your credit report contain false information that needs to be corrected?
Lapas Law Offices advocates for debtors in North Carolina in consumer protection litigation. We intervene to get “bad actors” off your back and to set the record straight. In many cases, we are able to recover monetary penalties on behalf of our clients against companies that violate the law.
Creditor Harassment Before Or After Bankruptcy
From the date a person files for bankruptcy, creditors and collection agencies are subject to an “automatic stay.” This means that all efforts to collect on your debts must cease. They can’t call you or send letters demanding payment. They can’t initiate wage garnishment or repossession or other legal action, and any legal actions already underway must halt. Creditors who willfully disregard the automatic stay are subject to sanctions by the Bankruptcy Court, including monetary penalties to be paid to the debtor.
Even if you have not filed for bankruptcy, there are rules for what creditors and third-party agents can and cannot do. Under the Fair Debt Collection Practice Act (FDCPA) debt collectors may not:
- Use verbally abusive or threatening language
- Threaten to put you in jail
- Harass your employer, family members or neighbors
- Make false or misleading statements about your debts
- Use unfair or deceptive practices to make you pay
As your attorney, Mr. Lapas will make them stop and possibly force them to pay penalties. He has brought many successful actions under the FDCPA, resulting in significant recoveries. The statute allows recovery of damages for emotional distress, lost wages and garnished wages, and statutory damages (penalty) of up to $1,000, plus attorney fees.
Creditor harassment is often the last straw that drives people to file for bankruptcy. If bill collectors are pursuing legal action, it’s time to explore the benefits and protections of bankruptcy. We handle Chapter 7 and Chapter 13 cases.
Sued By A Bad Debt Buyer?
Just as mortgages are bought and sold, credit card accounts are sometimes purchased by “bad debt” buyers. These companies will purchase a portfolio of credit cards with unpaid balances which the credit card companies have given up on. These debt buyers then file lawsuits and aggressively harass the debtors to get them to pay.
Although the North Carolina legislature strengthened its consumer protection laws to drive out these predators, debt buyers still surface from time to time. Lapas Law Offices has successfully defended these claims. Typically our clients pay nothing, and we frequently recover attorney fees as well. If you have been sued by an entity that claims you have an outstanding debt, we can turn the tables on them. If they resorted to tactics outlawed by the FDCPA, the bad debt buyer may end up paying you money!
Amending Errors On Your Credit Rating
Many clients have had problems with paid-off debts that still show up on their credit record. Under the Fair Credit Reporting Act, you have the right to dispute any false or unfair item that shows up on your credit report. Two common scenarios are negotiated debt settlements and debts discharged in bankruptcy that wrongly appear as outstanding debts or late payments when someone runs your credit score. Mr. Lapas will conduct an FCRA analysis to identify any errors and demand that the credit reporting agency/agencies fix it.
You Have Rights As A Consumer
Lapas Law Offices can intervene if you are being illegally harassed by debt collectors or getting the run-around from a creditor or credit reporting company. Based in Goldboro, we handle consumer litigation cases in Wayne County and surrounding counties of North Carolina. Call 919-891-8902 to schedule a consultation or use our email contact form to give us a few details.
We are a debt relief agency. We help people file for bankruptcy relief under the Bankruptcy Code.