"Collections" is the process by which creditors attempt to get nonpaying debtors to pay the money they owe. There are a large number of laws in Santa Barbara, California governing the tactics that collection agencies can and cannot do.
What if I Am Owed Money in Santa Barbara, California?
If somebody owes you money and is refusing to pay, you have various options at your disposal. However, in doing so, you will be governed by very strict consumer protection laws that govern the collection of debts. Breaking these rules can hurt your chances at successfully collecting, and might even expose you to civil liability.
For example, it should go without saying that creditors are not allowed to use threatened or actual violence when trying to collect. They are also not permitted to use abusive language to the debtor, or contact a third party about the debt.
Creditors may, however, send written demands for timely payment, along with an invoice that clearly lays out exactly what the debtor owes. If the debt is substantial, it might be worth it to hire a Santa Barbara, California collection agency, which usually gets paid through a percentage of the debt collected. You should make sure, however, that the agency is trustworthy, and hasn't been cited for violations of consumer protection laws.
What if Someone Is Trying to Collect Money Against Me in Santa Barbara, California?
If you truly owe the money that they are trying to collect, and are able to pay it, doing so would be your best option for ending the collections calls. Of course, this is not everybody's situation. When dealing with collectors, you should try to maintain the high ground by behaving in a calm and civil manner. In any event, you should never ignore the problem, as this usually makes things worse.
Fortunately, you have some options in Santa Barbara, California. First of all, you should try to contact the creditor directly, and see if something can be worked out. If this doesn't work, you can demand that the collection agency stop contacting you by phone. When this happens, they are not permitted to contact you further. This, of course, doesn't make the debt go away, but if the calls are becoming unbearable, it might buy you a little bit of time. Usually, when this happens, the creditor gives up on extra-judicial collections, and files a lawsuit against the debtor.
If you have hired a lawyer in Santa Barbara, California, they might advise that you file for bankruptcy. Of course, whether or not this is a good idea depends heavily on the facts of your specific case, so you should not do so until an attorney has reviewed the facts and determined that bankruptcy is a possible solution.
How Can a Santa Barbara, California Collections Attorney Help?
If you think that a collection agency is engaging in unlawful tactics, you should call a local Santa Barbara, California attorney, as you might have a claim for damages against the creditor or the collection agency.
If you are thinking about filing for bankruptcy, a good lawyer in California can help you with that process, too.