"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 St. Helena, California governing the tactics that collection agencies can and cannot do.
What if I Am Owed Money in St. Helena, 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.
One thing you are allowed to do is send a written demand for immediate payment. The demand should lay out the exact amount you believe is owed, so the debtor cannot plausibly claim ignorance of that fact. If a lot of money is involved, it might be prudent to hire a St. Helena, California collections agency. If you go this route, it is critical to make sure that you hire an agency that is trustworthy, and follows the relevant law to the letter.
What if Someone Is Trying to Collect Money Against Me in St. Helena, California?
If you truly owe the money that is being sought, and can afford to pay it, you should do so. If the collection caller is behaving in a cordial manner, you should try to do the same. In any case, the worst thing you can do is ignore the issue hoping that it will go away. It won't.
However, you do have some options in St. Helena, California. First of all, you should make an effort to get in direct contact with the creditor, as opposed to the collection agency, and try to work something out. If this fails, you can tell the collections agency to stop calling you, and they typically are obliged to do so. Of course, this doesn't eliminate the debt, but it can buy you some time. You should know, however, that when you show that you are not interested in dealing with the creditors or collectors directly, they will usually resort to a lawsuit.
If you have hired a St. Helena, California lawyer to help, he or she might advise that you file for bankruptcy. If you do file for bankruptcy, creditors are immediately required to suspend all collection activities. Of course, bankruptcy is a major decision, and should not be made without the advice of an attorney.
How Can a St. Helena, California Collections Attorney Help?
If you believe that the collections agency is engaging in illegal or abusive activity, you should consult with a local attorney in St. Helena, California, as you might actually have a claim for damages against the collection agency.
If you are thinking about filing for bankruptcy, a good lawyer in California can help you with that process, too.