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Category Archives: Stop Collection Action

Dealing with Debt Collectors

Debt collectors can be annoying and aggressive, and can quickly induce stress. As soon as the phone rings with another collection call, or you open yet another collection letter, your stomach knots and you feel instantly overwhelmed. If you could make all of your debt payments, you would. We know that.

To help you avoid more stress, here are some tips for dealing with debt collectors.

Know your rights. Debt collectors are precluded from doing certain things under the federal Fair Debt Collection Practices Act (FDCPA). And you have rights under the FDCPA. Know your rights so you can exercise them and advocate for yourself. The FDCPA applies to third-party debt collectors who are attempting to collect debts on behalf of someone else, but does not apply to original lenders.

  • A debt collector may not harass, oppress, threaten, or abuse you. 15 U.S. Code § 1692d.
  • A debt collector may not call you before 8 a.m. or after 9 p.m., local time where you’re located. 15 U.S. Code § 1692c.
  • A debt collector may not use false, deceptive, or make misleading representations in connection to collecting on a debt. 15 U.S. Code § 1692e.
  • A debt collector cannot threaten you with arrest or imprisonment.
  • A debt collector cannot threaten to take any collection action, such as filing a lawsuit or wage garnishment, unless the action is lawful and the debt collector or creditor intends to actually take such action.

If a debt collector violates the law, we encourage you to report their illegal actions to the U.S. Consumer Financial Protection Bureau and your state attorney general’s office.

Dispute the debt. The FDCPA allows you to send written requests for verification of debt within 30 days of being contacted by a debt collector. The debt collector is required to cease collection activity until it obtains verification of the debt or a copy of the court judgment and sends a copy of the verification or judgment to you, the consumer. 15 U.S. Code § 1692(g).

Stop collection phone calls. Did you know you have the legal right to put an end to collection phone calls? Under the FDCPA once you notify a collection agency in writing that you do not want to receive phone calls, they cannot legally continue to call you except under specific and limited circumstances.

Send the debt collector a letter telling them to stop calling you. If they continue to call they are in violation of the FDCPA.

Face your debt problem head-on. Stopping collection phone calls or otherwise staving off a debt collector will not address your underlying debt problem. Debt problems when ignored only get worse.

We encourage you to explore your debt relief options, such as paying off your debt, debt settlement, debt consolidation, and bankruptcy. Keep in mind that a true debt relief solution addresses your entire debt problem, not just a portion of it.

Bankruptcy stops debt collectors in their tracks. When you file for bankruptcy, all collection action against you must stop. It is illegal for creditors to attempt to collect from you after you’ve file for bankruptcy protection.

Free Bankruptcy Consultation

Here at the Law Office of Barbara B. Braziel we offer free consultations so that you can understand the protections and benefits of bankruptcy and how filing with affect you and your family. We take the time to explain the bankruptcy process to our clients. We invite you to get to know us here and read about the clients we’ve helped here.

Call us today at (912) 351-9000 or contact us to schedule a free consultation.

 

We are a debt relief agency. We help people file for bankruptcy relief under the U.S. Bankruptcy Code.

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An Overview of Debt Relief Options

When your mailbox is stuffed with overdue bills and your phone is ringing nonstop with debt collectors demanding payment, it can suck much of the joy out of life. Being buried in debt is hard. It’s scary and stressful. It may keep you up at night with worry. It may stress you out so much that you feel debilitated and try to ignore the issue.

But when you’re deep in debt the best thing you can do is face your problem head-on. A debt problem ignored will only get worse.

An Overview of Debt Relief Options

There are a number of debt relief options available. We encourage you to explore each one and choose the one that is feasible and best for you. Remember that a true debt relief solution addresses your entire debt problem, not just a portion of it. And the debt relief option best for you is reasonable and doable.

  • Paying Off Your Debt
  • Debt Settlement
  • Debt Consolidation – Taking Out a Loan
  • Debt Consolidation – Hiring a Debt Consolidation Company
  • Bankruptcy

Paying Off Your Debt

If you have adequate income and can stick to a budget tailored to quickly and reasonably paying off your debt, then this is an excellent solution to your debt problem. So long as you can reasonably afford to pay back your debt within three years, then paying it off is likely your best option. However, if paying off your debt means struggling to pay for living necessities like rent or food, paying high interest on debts for many years, and paying off debt in lieu of having an emergency savings fund―that is not reasonably paying off your debt and we encourage you to explore your other debt relief options.

Debt Settlement

Debt settlement is settling your debts for less than the full amount owed.

This option most often requires a large sum of cash. Typically a debt settlement requires that the agreed upon amount be paid in full within a few days or weeks. Consider too if this option will address the entirety of your debt problem. Settling one or two debts of many does not address your entire debt problem. Further, debt settlement comes with potential tax consequences because “forgiven debt” is considered income by the IRS.

Debt Consolidation – Taking Out A Loan

The loan is used to pay off creditors. Then one payment is due on the loan each month.

If you can get a loan with an interest rate more favorable than your current debts, you can afford the monthly payment, and you can pay the loan back in a reasonable amount of time, then a debt consolidation loan may be a viable solution to your debt problems.

However, this option comes with a host of things that can go wrong. We caution you to carefully consider if taking out a new loan is in your best financial interests.

Debt Consolidation – Hiring a Debt Consolidation Company

A debt consolidation company will collect a monthly fee from you and attempt to make settlement deals with your creditors. Generally, these companies are paid by taking a percentage of your monthly payment off the top. They keep the rest of the funds until there is enough in the pot to make a lump sum payment on a settlement deal, one creditor at a time.

Honestly, what we typically see at our firm is that people make their monthly payment to the debt consolidation company, but ultimately none or only a few of their smaller debts get settled. Leaving them out all of the money paid to the debt consolidation company, and ultimately filing for bankruptcy anyway.

Filing for Bankruptcy

Filing for bankruptcy is a legal right that helps people erase debts and/or repay their debts over time. Bankruptcy can erase credit card debt, medical bills, and other unsecured debts. It can give you true relief from your debts and the fresh financial start you need.

Also, when you file for bankruptcy, all collection action against you must stop. It is illegal for creditors to attempt to collect from you after you’ve file for bankruptcy protection. This means collection calls stop, wage garnishments end, and lawsuits are halted.

Know that we are not in the business of talking people into bankruptcies they don’t need. We are in the business of helping people get out of debt and getting the fresh financial start they deserve. When you are deep in debt and considering solutions, you should explore all of your debt relief options. The best option for you and your family will depend on your specific situation.

The truth is bankruptcy is often the best debt relief option because the other options are simply not feasible or would take so many years to execute that they are economically damaging and would keep a person deep in debt for many years to come.

To further explore if bankruptcy is the right solution for you, read our articles:

How Can Bankruptcy Help Me?

We’re committed to helping people get out of debt and gain the financial freedom they deserve. We invite you to learn more about who we are here. If you live in Savannah, GA or the surrounding areas and have questions about your debt relief options, let’s meet for a free consultation.

Please reach out to us at (912) 351-9000 or contact us by filling out this simple web form. Follow us on Facebook for tips on getting out of debt!

 

We are a debt relief agency. We help people file for bankruptcy relief under the U.S. Bankruptcy Code.

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My Credit Card Company Sued Me ― What Should I Do?

If you have been sued by a credit card company it is time to face your debt problem head-on. Once a credit card company sues you they can get a judgment from the court. Once they have a judgment they have the right to take powerful collection actions against you, including garnishing your wages, levying your bank accounts, or placing a lien on your property. A judgment creditor can literally take money from your pay check or directly out of your bank account.

If your credit card has served you with a lawsuit, you have options to consider.

First, unless you know you qualify for bankruptcy and plan to file, you should not ignore the lawsuit. If you ignore the suit the creditor can get a default judgment for the full amount they claim you owe.

Even if you know you owe them money, you have the right to defend yourself. Perhaps the statute of limitations has passed for them to bring a claim. Perhaps you are in a position to settle the lawsuit before they get a judgment for the full amount claimed. You may want to hire an attorney to help you defend the lawsuit.

Second, as the suit moves forward you can attempt to work out a settlement. The vast majority of lawsuits settle before trial. Responding to the suit gives you the ability to work something out in an effort to avoid wage garnishment or bank levies, which may be devastating if you’re already struggling financially to make ends meet.

Third, filing for bankruptcy would put an end to the lawsuit. Filing for bankruptcy is a serious financial decision and it isn’t for everyone. Though, many people who are sued by a credit card company owe other debts and are at risk of facing more lawsuits.

If you’ve been sued by a credit card company for non-payment of your debt, it is time to consider if bankruptcy is the right debt relief solution for you. Filing for bankruptcy would put an immediate stop to the lawsuit. So long as your bankruptcy is successful, the lawsuit ends there and you will no longer be liable to pay back the credit card company who sued you and other debts would be erased.

Contact us for a free consultation. Together we’ll explore how bankruptcy can help you eliminate lawsuits and erase debts.

 

We proudly serve the people of Savannah, GA and the surrounding areas, including Richmond Hill, Hinesville, Pooler, Port Wentworth, Tybee Island, Clyo, Ellabel, Midway, Ludowici, Springfield, Pembroke, Brooklet, and Garden City.

We are a debt relief agency. We help people file for bankruptcy relief under the U.S. Bankruptcy Code.

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What Happens If I Ignore A Lawsuit From My Credit Card Company?

Hearing the words “you’ve been served” and being handed a stack of official court documents in terrifying for anyone. If you’ve been sued for not paying back a debt you may feel overwhelmed or helpless, especially when you know you defaulted on the debt. But you are not helpless, there are legal tools to get you out of debt, and our firm wants to help you so that you do not feel so overwhelmed.

What Happens If You Ignore A Lawsuit From Your Credit Card Company

If you do not file an answer, and otherwise ignore the lawsuit, the plaintiff creditor can get a default judgment against you. A default judgment gives the creditor rights to aggressive collection action, including:

  • Wage Garnishment
  • Bank Account Levy/Garnishment
  • Lien on Property

These collection actions are powerful and may be devastating if you’re already struggling financially and trying to make ends meet.

Wage Garnishment

Wage garnishment is when money is taken directly out of your paycheck before you receive it, and sent to your creditor. Pursuant to Georgia state law, O.C.G.A. 18-4-64 the judgment creditor must provide proper notice of their intent to pursue garnishment. This can be accomplished in a number of ways, including personal service, service to your attorney of record, or mail. Learn more about wage garnishment in our article Bankruptcy Stops Wage Garnishment.

Bank Account Levy/Garnish

A bank levy is when your bank account is frozen and money is seized by your creditor to satisfy the judgment against you.

Lien on Property

Creditors with a judgment or default judgment can place a lien on real property. This is an encumbrance or a claim on your property. When you sell the property you will be required to pay the judgment out of the proceeds of the sale.

Face The Lawsuit Head-On

Ignoring the lawsuit is not a solution. Once you are served, the lawsuit is in motion and it is critical that you face it head-on. You have the right to defend yourself. You may have valid defenses to prevent the creditor from getting a judgment against you.

For example, the Georgia statute of limitations may have run. There is a limit on how long a creditor has to bring legal action against you for unpaid debt. To get the case against you dismissed based on a statute of limitations violation you must face the lawsuit head-on and assert the defense.

If your only debt problem is with the lawsuit, then it is imperative that you avoid a default judgment. If you do not defend yourself the Court will set the judgment amount at the figure the plaintiff creditor asks for, plus penalties and interest that continue to accrue. You may owe less than the amount they are seeking, or you may be able to settle the lawsuit before it goes to trial.

If your debt problem is bigger than just this lawsuit, be honest with yourself about it. It may be time to explore how bankruptcy can help you get out of debt. Bankruptcy will put a stop to this pending lawsuit and prevent the filing of future lawsuits for unpaid debts that were incurred prior to filing for bankruptcy. Filing for bankruptcy can erase debts and prevent wage garnishment, bank levies, and property liens.

Contact us for a free consultation. Together we’ll explore how bankruptcy can help you stop lawsuits, eliminate judgments, and erase debts.

 

We proudly serve the people of Savannah, GA and the surrounding areas, including Richmond Hill, Hinesville, Pooler, Port Wentworth, Tybee Island, Clyo, Ellabel, Midway, Ludowici, Springfield, Pembroke, Brooklet, and Garden City.

We are a debt relief agency. We help people file for bankruptcy relief under the U.S. Bankruptcy Code.

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A Creditor is Threatening Me, What Can I Do?

It is scary to reach the point where you are not able to pay your monthly bills. Within a few days of missing a credit card payment your creditor will likely begin to call you and send you letters demanding payment. It may not take long for your creditor to hire an aggressive debt collection agency or law firm to attempt to collect the debt from you.

Calls from debt collectors can quickly become distressing, but you have the right to be free from creditor harassment and threats. There are laws in place to protect you from being threatened by creditors. The Fair Debt Collection Practices Act (FDCPA) is federal law designed to protect you and stop abusive, deceptive, and unfair debt collection practices. The FDCPA only applies to third party debt collectors, not the original creditor to whom you owe the debt.

Threats of Violence

Debt collectors may not use or threaten the “use of violence or other criminal means to harm the physical person, reputation, or property of any person.” 15 U.S.C. § 1692d.

If a debt collector threatens you with violence you may have a cause of action against them for violating your rights under the FDCPA or other state and federal laws.

Threats to Sue You

Debt collectors may not threaten to “take any action that cannot legally be taken or that is not intended to be taken.” 15 U.S.C. § 1692e. They are barred from making false or misleading statements.

The FDCPA prohibits a debt collector from threatening to do something that they do not really intend to do, like file a lawsuit against you. It is difficult to know with certainly whether or not a debt collector intends to sue you. Though, there are a few indicators that signal they may be using unlawful threats.

The debt collector may not intend to sue you if the debt is small, they don’t have an office in your state, they have not retained the services of an attorney in your state, or they threatened to sue you months or years ago and have not taken any action on the threat.

If a debt collector threatens you with taking actions that they cannot legally take or are not actually intending to take, you may have a cause of action against them for violating your rights under the FDCPA.

A Creditor is Threatening Me, What Can I Do?

You can put a stop to collection phone calls. It is your right to demand that the creditor stop calling you. Under the FDCPA, once you notify a collection agency in writing that you do not want to receive phone calls, they cannot legally continue to call you except under specific and limited circumstances.

It is your legal right to stop collection phone calls. If after being notified in writing that you no longer want to receive calls, and they continue to call, they are violating your rights. Their actions may give rise to an FDCPA violation claim against them.

In our article Get Stress Relief: Stop Creditor Calls and Collection Action we share:

  • What to do to get the collection calls to stop.
  • What to write in the letter to the collection agency.
  • Plus some do’s and don’ts when dealing with a collection agency.

It is important to understand that stopping the phone calls is not a solution to your financial problems. The longer you ignore your debt problem, the worse it will get. Come meet with us for a free consultation. Together we’ll explore your options to get you out of debt.

Bankruptcy Stops Debt Collectors and Has The Power To Erase Debts

As soon as you file for bankruptcy protection, your creditors must cease and desist from all collection action against you, including:

  • Calling you or sending bills
  • Wage garnishments or bank levies
  • Suing you for unpaid debts
  • Moving forward with pending law suits
  • Repossessing your car (at least not right away)
  • Foreclosing on your home (at least not right away)

Bankruptcy is a powerful financial tool that can erase unsecured debts, such as credit card debt and medical bills. Debts that are erased in bankruptcy are gone forever. Once you receive a bankruptcy discharge, you are no longer legally obligated to pay back the discharged debts included in your bankruptcy.

Call us today at (912) 351-9000 or contact us to schedule a free consultation.

Filing for bankruptcy can help you gain financial freedom and may very well help you make today the first day of the rest of your life. For over 35-years we have proudly served the people in Savannah, GA and surrounding areas. Contact us for a free consultation on how you can end your financial struggle and gain financial freedom.

 

We are a debt relief agency. We help people file for bankruptcy relief under the U.S. Bankruptcy Code.

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You Can Stop Debt Collectors From Calling You At Work!

Are debt collectors calling you at work? Do you tense up every time you hear the phone ring because you fear it’s another collection call? Are these incessant calls making you feel harassed or embarrassed?

We strive to protect the rights of our clients. So, we want you to know two things:

You have the power to stop collection calls yourself.

You have the power to stop debt collectors from calling you at work.

We have been helping people get out of debt for decades, and for decades we have fought against debt collectors harassing our clients with unrelenting collection calls. We understand that everyone wants to pay their bills, but when you simply do not have the money, you cannot pay.

Stop Debt Collectors From Calling You At Work

To stop debt collectors from calling you at work: tell them that your employer prohibits the call.

Under the federal Fair Debt Collection Practices Act (FDCPA) 15 U.S.C. 1692(a)(3) debt collectors may not communicate with you: “at the consumer’s place of employment if the debt collector knows or has reason to know that the consumer’s employer prohibits the consumer from receiving such communication.”

This may seem too simple, but once you tell a debt collector that your employer prohibits the call, any future calls to your work would be in violation of your rights.

Considering bankruptcy but worried that your employer will find out? Read our article Will My Employer Know If I File For Bankruptcy? HERE.

When A Debt Collector “Has Reason to Know” That Your Employer Prohibits Collection Calls At Work

In many cases the debt collector “has reason to know” that an employer would prohibit collection calls. First, workplace policies prohibiting employees from taking nonemergency calls at work are not uncommon. Second, if the collector has dealt with the same employer before, they have reason to know that your employer prohibits such calls. Third, clearly for certain occupations a debt collector has “reason to know” that an employer would prohibit collection calls. It is obvious that many occupations, such as a school teacher, ambulance driver, or restaurant waitstaff, would not be allowed to receive calls on the job.

When A Debt Collector Can Call You At Work

There are two exceptions that allow a debt collector to contact you at work:

  • You give your consent for them to do so.
  • There is a court order in place allowing them to do so.

Absent these two circumstances, tell them that your employer prohibits the call and they must stop calling you at work.

Stop All Calls From Debt Collectors

You have the power to stop collection calls yourself. Under federal law, once you notify a collection agency in writing that you no longer wish to receive phone calls, they cannot legally continue to call you except under limited circumstances.

Learn how to put an end to all collection calls here!

Also, we want you to know that filing for bankruptcy immediately stops all collection action! Follow us on Facebook for more tips to stop creditor harassment and collection action against you!

Call us today (912) 351-9000 to schedule a free consultation. The Law Office of Barbara B. Braziel proudly serves the people of Savannah, GA and the surrounding areas.

 

We are a debt relief agency. We help people file for bankruptcy relief under the U.S. Bankruptcy Code.

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Bankruptcy Stops Collection Action

Are you being harassed by debt collectors? Is your phone ringing off the hook with (888) calls from creditors? When your phone rings, do you feel a surge of anxiety because you know it is another collection call?

Are you being sued for not paying a debt back? Or, do you have a default judgment against you because you ignored a law suit?  Do you need a fresh financial start?

The Law Offices of Barbara B. Braziel is committed to helping you gain financial freedom to help you make today the first day of the rest of your life. We’ve been helping people erase debt with bankruptcy for over 30 years.

Bankruptcy stops all collection action. As soon as your bankruptcy case is filed, it is illegal for your creditors to attempt to collect from you. This is because of the automatic stay. To learn more, read our article The Power of the Automatic Stay and How It Helps You.

Once your case is filed  your creditors must cease and desist all collection action against you, including:

  • Call you or send you bills
  • Garnish wages
  • Levy bank accounts
  • Sue you for unpaid debts
  • Move forward with a pending law suit
  • Repossess your car (at least not right away)
  • Foreclose on your home (at least not right away)

Bankruptcy is a powerful tool to help you. Bankruptcy does not just stop collection action. It also wipes out debts, including credit card debt and medical bills. At the conclusion of your case, most or all of your debts are discharged – they are erased forever. Your creditors can never try to collect on a discharged debt from you again.

Imagine that your phone stops incessantly ringing with collection calls. You no longer live in fear of when you’re going to get served with a law suit. Your wages stop being garnished.

Imagine the feeling of relief when you have a zero balance on all credit card debt. Picture the day you get a fresh start – a life free of the stress and anxiety of carrying a mountain of debt. Bankruptcy is a powerful tool that can give you the fresh start you just envisioned.

Follow us on Facebook to learn more about how to stop collection action and harassing phone calls!

We are here to help you get out of debt and gain the financial freedom you deserve. Call us today at (912) 351-9000 or contact us via the web to schedule a free consultation.

For over 30-years we have been helping people in Savannah, Richmond Hill, Hinesville, Pooler, Port Wentworth, Tybee Island, Clyo, Ellabel, Midway, Springfield, Pembroke, Brooklet, Garden City, and Ludowici Georgia get out of debt through bankruptcy.

 

We are a debt relief agency. We help people file for bankruptcy relief under the U.S. Bankruptcy Code

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The Power of the Automatic Stay and How It Helps You

As soon as you file for bankruptcy, all collection action against you must stop.

The automatic stay puts an end to collection phone calls, a mailbox stuffed with overdue bills, law suits, wage garnishments, and any other debt collection action against you. The automatic stay is powerful.

The automatic stay is a provision in the U.S. Bankruptcy Code that makes it illegal for creditors to attempt to collect on debts from a person who has filed for bankruptcy protection. There are only a few exceptions to the automatic stay.

 

The Automatic Stay Begins As Soon As Your Bankruptcy Case Is Filed

As soon as you file for bankruptcy your creditors must stop calling you, billing you, or taking any measures to attempt to collect money from you. Any repossession or foreclosure action must stop immediately as well.

 

The Automatic Stay Is Effective For the Life Of Your Bankruptcy Case

With few exceptions, the benefits of the automatic stay remain in effect throughout your bankruptcy case. At the conclusion of a successful bankruptcy, you receive a bankruptcy discharge. The bankruptcy discharge is a court order that says your debts are discharged. This means you are no longer personally liable to pay back your debts. Once you have your discharge, your creditors cannot legally attempt to collect any discharged debts from you, and the automatic stay is no longer necessary.

In rare cases the bankruptcy judge will lift the automatic stay at the explicit request of a creditor. In such cases, the creditor must file the appropriate paperwork and you must be given the opportunity to fight it.

 

Creditors Must Cease and Desist from All Collection Action

The automatic stay is a powerful right granted to debtors. Once you file for bankruptcy protection, your creditors are not allowed to:

  • Call you or send you bills
  • Garnish wages
  • Levy bank accounts
  • Sue you for unpaid debts
  • Move forward with a pending law suit
  • Repossess your car (at least not right away)
  • Foreclose on your home (at least not right away)

 

Exceptions to the Automatic Stay

There are a few rare exceptions to the automatic stay. These exceptions are enumerated by Congress in the U.S. Bankruptcy Code. The automatic stay exceptions include family law proceedings relating to divorce or parenting, collection on ERISA-qualified pension loans, IRS tax audits, demands for tax returns, or assessment of tax liabilities. However, the IRS must cease and desist from collection action for tax debts while the automatic stay is in effect.

 

The Automatic Stay Does Apply to Co-Debtors In Some Instances

The automatic stay may apply to other people who may have co-signed a loan with you.

If you have a loan or line of credit with someone else, the creditor is not allowed to continue collection action against an individual co-signer without court approval in most instances.

Note that if you file a joint bankruptcy petition with your spouse, the automatic stay will stop tax collection action against both of you. However, if only one spouse files for bankruptcy, collection action by the federal or state government for tax debt may legally continue against the non-filing spouse.

 

What Happens If A Creditor Violated the Automatic Stay

Any continued collection action against you is a violation of federal law. If you’ve filed for bankruptcy and a creditor continues to attempt collection, or even contacts you to attempt settlement, contact your bankruptcy attorney immediately.

Make sure to keep excellent records of the dates, times, names of people with whom you spoke, and any other evidentiary support. You may be able to make a recovery against a creditor who willfully continues to violate the automatic stay.

Follow us on Facebook to learn more about how to stop creditor harassment!

We are here to stop creditor harassment, get you out of debt, and help you gain the financial freedom you deserve. Call us today at (912) 351-9000 or contact us via the web to schedule a free consultation.

The Law Offices of Barbara B. Braziel proudly serve people in Savannah, GA and the surrounding areas.

 

We are a debt relief agency. We help people file for bankruptcy relief under the U.S. Bankruptcy Code.

READ MORE