Monthly Archives: March 2019

How do I turn in a scammer’s phone number so that they stop calling me after bankruptcy?

Short answer: report the scammer’s phone number to the FTC at 888-382-1222.

Long answer: it’s obnoxious and not very effective.

This morning I received a text message from a former client (yes, my clients can text me anytime, even years after their cases), and this is what she said:

So I have a question! We still have that 888 number calling hubby’s boss saying they are going to take legal action and ya da ya da! I called them today and spoke with someone. She said it’s from 2013 from hubby for a payday loan place, and that it can’t be included in that bk that was discharged because it was signed saying we weren’t planning filing bankruptcy and wouldn’t on that? It was included in that bk however! So is this a legit bill we need to take care of or was it included in that bk?

First, I reassured her that it was a scam. Unfortunately, after bankruptcy (or even outside of bankruptcy once the statute of limitations for debt collection has run), we still have shady collectors who sell off their bad debt to bad debt buyers. These companies will start calling you after a bankruptcy and saying that the debt wasn’t included, wasn’t discharged, and a police office is coming to your home in the next 10 minutes to arrest you if you don’t make a payment over the phone immediately.

Of course it’s a scam, but it’s still scary when you get the phone call.

When you get the call, don’t hesitate to contact your bankrutpcy attorney. He’ll tell you it’s a scam 99% of the time. It also gives you peace of mind.

The Federal Trade Commission FTC also has a great articles on this here: https://www.consumer.ftc.gov/articles/0076-phone-scams

On the FTC website, it recommends you also file a complaint with the Consumer Finance Protection Bureau CFPB either at
855-411-2372 orhttps://www.consumerfinance.gov/complaint/

Will bankruptcy clear an eviction off of my credit report?

Nope.

Bankruptcy will discharge the debt that you owe, but that eviction will stay on your credit report for 7 years.

When you file bankruptcy (either a 7 or a 13), you seek a discharge of your debts. When the debts are discharged, this means that the money you owe is wiped out and they cannot collect on you anymore. Unfortunately, sometimes they can still report on your credit. Creditors cannot report that there is any remaining balance (because the balance was discharged), but they can still report evictions.

This means that it will be much harder to get an apartment. On the plus side, after your bankruptcy, your credit score jumps and you no longer have any outstanding debt.

Before writing this, I read 8 different articles/blogs on how to get an eviction off of your credit report, and it boils down to two things (neither of which are helpful at all):

  1. Settle up with the landlord and pay off the debt. But even if you do this, he can still report the eviction on your credit unless you get him to agree to remove it, or
  2. Wait 7 years.

See, I told you those two things were not very helpful. In the end, the eviction stays on your credit, but at least we can wipe out the actual debt that you owe.

What happens to my Utah state assistance (cash assistance or diversion payment) when I file bankruptcy?

Nothing at all. It is protected.

Under Utah law, your public assistance is “not assignable at law or in equity.” Utah Code 35A-3-112. This means that a creditor cannot levy, execute, attach, or garnish your public assistance. This also means that a bankruptcy trustee cannot take it.

I have a client who just received $1,500 in diversion assistance. It is sitting in her bank account, and we want to file bankruptcy today. We can. I simply need to identify that money as state assistance and then exempt it (protect it). This way, the bankruptcy trustee and her creditors cannot demand that we turn it over.

The entire code section reads:

35A-3-112.  Assistance not assignable — Exemption from execution, garnishment, bankruptcy, or insolvency proceedings.

(1)Public assistance provided under this chapter is not assignable at law or in equity.
(2)None of the money paid or payable under this chapter is subject to:(a)execution, levy, attachment, garnishment, or other legal process; or(b)the operation of bankruptcy or insolvency law.

In other words, it is safe.

Now the bigger question comes up: what exactly is public assistance? Under this code section, public assistance refers to: cash assistance under the Family Employment Program 35A-3-302 and/or a diversion payment (which is a one-time payment under 35A-3-303).

Yes, there are other kinds of public assistance, and most of those are protected under other exemptions. As usual, I must advise you to check with your attorney if you have questions.

Do I have to catch up on car payments if I want to keep my financed car in bankruptcy?

Maybe.  

In a chapter 13, no.  When you file a chapter 13 case, you can put your auto loan into your chapter 13 plan and start making payments through the chapter 13 trustee  (more below).

In a chapter 7, 99% of the time, you will have to be current on payments eventually if you want to reaffirm and keep the loan (more below).

Chapter 13

In a chapter 13 case, you file a plan with the court.  In this plan, you start making monthly payments to the chapter 13 trustee, who then makes payments to various creditors.  Your car loan will be part of this plan.  It does NOT matter if you are current on car payments.  Even better, your payments won’t start until next month.

For example, let’s say that you file a chapter 13 today.  You stop making car payments immediately (or maybe you already stopped).  Your first chapter 13 plan payment will be due on the 25th of next month.  As of this blog, today is March 8th.  If we filed a chapter 13 today, you would start making plan payments (including the car payment) beginning April 25th.

Chapter 7

In a chapter 7 case, if you want to keep a car loan, you reaffirm the debt.  You can find reaffirmation elsewhere in the blog, but basically, you sign a new agreement to pay the same balance, interest, and payments on your car.  99% of the time, the creditor will NOT let you reaffirm unless you become current on the car loan.  That doesn’t mean that you need to be current on the day you file your chapter 7, but in the next 2-3 months, you need to catch up on those missed payments.

If you are behind 2-3 months into the chapter 7, they will definitely repossess the vehicle, and you will  not be able to reaffirm.