"Collections" is the process by which creditors try to get nonpaying debtors to pay the money they owe. There are a huge number of laws in Berkeley, California governing the tactics that collection agencies can and cannot do.
What if I Am Owed Money in Berkeley, California?
If you are owed money and the debtor refuses to pay, you have some options at your disposal. However, you must tread lightly when it comes to collecting your debts. Creditors and collectors are governed by specific consumer protection laws. Violating these laws can hurt your chances of recovering what you are owed, and even subject you to civil or criminal penalties.
The law blocks creditors from engaging in any form of violence against the debtor in an attempt to collect. It additionally bars them from using abusive language or contacting third parties about the debt owed by the debtor.
You may, however, send a written demand for timely payment. The demand should lay out precisely how much the debtor allegedly owes. If there is a large amount of money involved, it may be worth it to hire a Berkeley, California collections agency, which will probably take its fee in the form of a percentage of the debt collected. You should do some research on different collections agencies in your area, to make sure the one you hire is trustworthy, and meticulously follows the law.
What if Someone Is Trying to Collect Money Against Me in Berkeley, California?
If you truly owe the money being sought, and you are able to pay it, you should of course do so. If the collection caller is behaving courteously, you should do the same. Even if the caller doesn't behave in a polite manner, you should resist the urge to respond in kind, and ask to speak with a supervisor, or simply end the conversation. Whatever you do, you should never ignore the issue. This will not make the problem go away.
Your best option in Berkeley, California might be to contact the creditor directly, and try to work out some type of new repayment plan. The earlier you do this, the more receptive to your ideas the creditor is likely to be. If this isn't successful, you can demand that the collectors stop contacting you by phone, and they will typically be obliged to do so. Of course, this doesn't make the debt go away, and you should only take this route if you are ready to defend against a lawsuit from your creditors, since demanding that they stop contacting you usually leaves them with no other option but to sue.
If you have hired a lawyer in Berkeley, California, they might advise that you apply for bankruptcy. Of course, whether or not this is a good idea depends strongly on the facts of your specific case, so you should not do so unless an attorney has reviewed the facts and determined that bankruptcy is a possible solution.
How Can a Berkeley, California Collections Attorney Help?
If you think that a collection agency is engaging in unlawful tactics, you should call a local Berkeley, California attorney, as you might have a claim for damages against the creditor or the collection agency.
Also, if you're considering applying for bankruptcy, a seasoned attorney in California can tell you if this is a good option, and, if it is, help you through the process.