Frequently Asked Questions

Our goal is to provide you with a relief from credit collection harassment and abuse and other financial difficulties. Read more about our FAQs or call us with your questions.

What happens if a credit collection company sues me?

You should immediately contact a lawyer if you have been served with court papers.  You have a limited time to respond to lawsuits and if you do not answer the complaint the credit collection company may be able to get a judgment against you.  With a judgment, credit collection agency could garnish your wages or bank accounts.  If you’re in West Virginia or Pennsylvania, contact Hinkle Law and we can help you.

Can credit collection companies call my family members?

Generally, credit collection agencies may only call a family member, who doesn’t live with you, one time to ask for location information only.  They are absolutely not allowed to discuss the debt with your family member or any third party.  However, if a credit collection agency leaves a message on the voicemail or answering machine of third-party you should document it right away. This could be a violation of state and federal credit collection laws.

Can credit collection companies call me at work?

A credit collection company cannot call you at work if you have told them you cannot take calls at work. If you are receiving credit collection calls at work, you should write down as much information as possible about the phone call.  Then you should tell the credit collection company that you are not allowed to take calls at work.  If they call again, document it and save any messages.  Any calls received after you’ve told them not to call may be a violation of state and federal credit collection laws.

Will my bankruptcy filing be published in the local paper?

While we are not aware of any newspapers that publish consumer bankruptcy info, all bankruptcy information is public record and could be published.  Again, we’ve never seen this happen for non-businesses.  Also, if someone wanted to get information about your bankruptcy they would have to go out of their way to find the information.  However, all creditors have to be notified about a bankruptcy.

Can bankruptcy stop a foreclosure?

Like all other collection actions, foreclosures are stopped when a bankruptcy is filed.  How long the foreclosure will be stopped is another story and it depends on the type of bankruptcy you file.  Many of our clients who want to keep their homes, opt to file a Chapter 13 bankruptcy which allows them to stop the foreclosure and repay their past due payments.  Other folks who need to file bankruptcy for other reasons may file a Chapter 7 bankruptcy in order to delay a foreclosure.  This can allow them time to move or make other arrangements with their home lender.

Can bankruptcy stop a wage garnishment?

Yes. Many consumers mistakenly believe that they have no rights once their wages are garnished.  Even if a garnishment has already started, you can stop it with a bankruptcy and in some cases you may be able to recover a portion of the wages already garnished.  In addition, under most state laws, there are limitations on how much your wages can be garnished.  In West Virginia, if your wages are below a certain level, you may be able to stop a garnishment by filing an Affidavit of Exemption with the Court.

Can I keep my car if I file bankruptcy?

Whether you can keep your car in bankruptcy depends on several factors. In almost all cases your vehicle is protected when you file bankruptcy. There could be some exceptions to that rule so it’s important to talk to a lawyer. Most people have heard a common bankruptcy myth that you can only keep one car if you file bankruptcy. Like most myths it’s not true. You can keep as many cars as you want depending on their value and where or not you are making the payments.

Can bankruptcy get rid of all types of debt?

While bankruptcy can get rid of most debt, there are a few types of debts that bankruptcy cannot discharge. The common non-dischargeable debts include student loans, most taxes and alimony or child support. There are others but these three are the most common. Most consumers use bankruptcy to get rid of credit cards, medical or hospital bills and other debts that have been turned over to credit collection companies.

Can bankruptcy stop credit collection harassment?

Yes. Bankruptcy can stop all collection actions including credit collection harassment. In fact, many of our clients come to use seeking relief from the relentless phone calls they receive from credit collection companies. However, you don’t need to file bankruptcy to get relief from credit collection. There are several state and federal laws that govern credit collection and you have rights under those law as well.

What are the different chapters of bankruptcy?

There are actually several types or chapters of bankruptcy with Chapters 7, 13 and 11 being the most common. At Hinkle Law, we focus our practice on consumer or non-business bankruptcies. For consumers, Chapters 7 and 13 are the most common types of bankruptcy.