Posts

Showing posts from June, 2016

Frequently Asked Questions About Student Loan Forgiveness and Discharge

Are you struggling torepay student loans? Are you consideringpersonal bankruptcy but recognize that it can be difficult to receive a bankruptcy discharge for your hefty student loan balance? If you owe a substantial amount of money in student loans, you might be wondering if there are any other options to have your loans forgiven, canceled, or discharged. Generally speaking, if most of your loans are private, you are going to have a more difficult time having your loans forgiven than if most of your debt involves federal student loans. However, the good news is that many borrowers may be eligible for federal student loan discharge or forgiveness, and a number of them do not even know it. So, in what situations can you apply to have your federal loans forgiven, canceled, or discharged? According to afact sheet from Federal Student Aid, an office of the U.S. Department of Education, the following represent some frequently asked questions about qualifying for student loan forgiveness. Type…

Overdraft Fees, Consumer Debt, and Bankruptcy

Do overdraft fees ever add up to such an extent that consumers have to considerfiling for personal bankruptcy? According to arecent article in TheWashington Post, “the country’s largest banks have increased the amount they collect from consumers in overdraft fees . . . just as regulators are considering whether to issue rules that would rein in their use.” Are overdraft fees and related charges really such a big problem? How much do overdraft fees actually cost consumers? To better understand the harm that overdraft fees can cause, it is important to look at some of the recent research reported by the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau (CFPB) in the article in The Washington Post. Increase in Overdraft Fees Collected by Banks Do banks often unfairly charge consumers overdraft fees? According to the article, the CFPB has been looking into “how banks levy overdraft fees on customers who bounce checks or withdraw more than they have in their accounts using debit cards or automated teller…

FTC List of Banned Debt Collectors Grows

In order to protect consumers fromdebt collection scams andunfair debt collection practices, the Federal Trade Commission publishes alist of banned debt collectors. As the website explains, these debt collection companies and people “are banned, by federal court orders, from participating in the business of debt collection.” These bans resulted from lawsuits against the debt collectors, and consumers can visit the website in order to see a complete list, as well as the accompanying cases and court orders. But the publication of this list was not the FTC’s final step in protecting consumers from fraudulent debt collection schemes. Arecent article on the FTC blog reported that the federal agency has gone onto ban “hundreds of mortgage assistance and debt relief operations,” too. What is the difference between banned debt collectors and banned mortgage and debt relief companies? In short, the former are attempting to collect money from debtors, while the latter claim to be helping debtors…

Student Loan Debt Mistakes to Avoid

If you are a recent college graduate and are looking atstudent loan repayment options, or if you are currently in repayment, it is important to know about common consumer mistakes that can end up costing you substantially in the long run. As most residents of the Chicago area know, it is difficult, but not impossible, to have student loans discharged inpersonal bankruptcy. As such, you should think carefully about how you handle your student loans and the repayment options available to you. According to arecent article from CNBC News, the following are mistakes that student loan borrowers often make. Mistake #1: Missing Regular Payments on Your Student Loans Last year, the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau (CFPB) reported that approximately seven million student loan borrowers were in default. Many college graduates are leaving the university with tens of thousands of dollars in student loans. As the article suggests, when you are dealing with such a significant amount of debt, it mi…

Suing Debt Collectors and Proving Harm

Strength of Federal Consumer Protection Actions In recent years, the Federal Trade Commission (FTC) and the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau (CFPB) have been working to shut downdebt collectors that violate the Fair Debt Collection Practices Act (FDCPA). For instance, the FDCPA makes clear that debt collectors are not permitted to call at any time of the day, and they are not allowed to call you at work if you tell them you cannot receive phone calls there. In addition, collection companies cannot make statements that mislead you or give you false information about debts that you might (or might now) owe. In many cases, the government agencies have been successful when it comes to holding debt collectors accountablefor unfair debt collection practices, as arecent article in the Los Angeles Times explained. Indeed, that article made clear that the CFPB, developed by the Obama administration, has helped to create a “consumer protection legacy defined by aggressive agency.” But what ha…

Dealing with Credit Card Debt During Retirement

For America’s aging population,consumer debt is a serious problem. As many Chicago residents know, a substantial portion of the country’s unpaid consumer debt has arisen from costly medical bills, as areport from CBNC pointed out, and many of those patients facing seemingly insurmountable healthcare costs are at or nearing retirement age. In addition to hospital bills and healthcare fees, many of America’s seniors are also dealing with the fact that they lost much of their savings during the recession and do not have as much income for retirement as they expected. In some cases, Americans aged 65 and older simply do not have enough to live on with retirement savings and Social Security checks alone, according to arecent article in Bankrate.com. What happens when these seniors start relying on credit cards to pay for monthly bills and essentials? How Seniors Amass Credit Card Debt Most of us assume that, by the time we reach the age of retirement, we will have enough money saved that we …