Interviewer: What about creditors calling and harassing people, do you get people that are just being hounded by people calling their work, at their homes, any letters?
James Logan: One of the advantages of bankruptcy is that it stops all your creditors, all your collection calls, all your lawsuits, all your garnishments and things like that automatically and instantly upon filing. A lot of times, people can’t come up with the money to file immediately, so we’ll put them on payment plans and we’ll send out letters to the creditors and that will stop the collection calls but it won’t stop the garnishments or lawsuits but it will stop the collection calls and buy them some peace of mind and then till least we get the case filed.
If Creditors Continue to Call an Individual who has Filed Bankruptcy, an Adversary Proceeding May be Filed Against the Creditor
Interviewer: What happens if you file and you continue getting calls from creditors, what could you say to them to make them stop calling you?
James Logan: I’ll send them a letter and if they continue it, we can actually file an adversary proceeding, which is a bankruptcy lawsuit, to collect damages from creditors for violating the automatic stay.
The Most Powerful Aspect of Filing Bankruptcy is the Automatic Stay
Interviewer: As soon as you file, creditors are barred by law from contacting you at all?
James Logan: Absolutely, yes. That’s the most powerful thing about bankruptcy, it’s called the automatic stay and it absolutely stops all your creditors from calling you, harassing you, sending you letters, foreclosing in your house, re-possessing your car, turning off your electric, garnishing your pay check, stopping you from getting a car registered, we get a lot of people come in who can’t get their car registered.
The State of Maryland May Withhold Car Registration in Lieu of Unpaid Parking Tickets or Insurance Lapse Violation
Interviewer: Why can’t they get their car registered?
James Logan: If you owe money to the state of Maryland, they can withhold your car registration if you got parking tickets or if you got insurance lapse violation but if you file a bankruptcy, then you can get your license renewed and your car registration renewed, so that’s another popular reason why people come to see us. Bankruptcy will also stop Baltimore Gas and Electric from turning off your gas and electric, or if it is already off, once you’d filed, they’ll have to turn it back on, and that’s another reason people come to see us.
Filing Bankruptcy May Enable an Individual to Reclaim a Repossessed Car
Interviewer: What if you have a car re-possessed and it’s just re-possessed; can you get it back if you file bankruptcy?
James Logan: We can file a chapter 13, which is the reorganization. And most of the times, we can get the car back. I have had cases where the car dealer is a smaller car dealer, that kind of buy here/pay here car dealer will fight a lot harder than if you bought your car from GMAC or one of the big car lenders. But if you have insurance on it and you have the ability to make payments, most times, we can get the car back for you.
Once a Bankruptcy is Filed it Will Stop Any Wage Garnishments on Your Paycheck
Interviewer: If you file bankruptcy , by your next pay check, you’ll get the full thing, your full amount?
James Logan: You will eventually get it all, I should say. Once the case is filed, yes, it’ll stop the garnishment. If they take money out of there, sometimes it takes a payroll department a pay period or two to figure it out . But any money they take after that, you’ll absolutely get back. In Maryland, money taken within 90-days of filing, we can generally get that money back for our clients. Sometimes, people can actually make money by filing a bankruptcy because if they end having money taken out of their pay check in a garnishment, it’ll cover whatever they end up paying us to file the bankruptcy.