Personal Bankruptcy Laws For Dummies
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If you're facing personal bankruptcy, you've probably heard from debt collectors. A debt collector's job is to get you to pay their client's debt, and they can be very inventive in finding ways to motivate you to do that. Debt collectors, however, are bound by laws, just as you are. What debt collectors can't do include the following:

  • Call you early in the morning, late at night, or at any other unreasonable time or place.

  • Harass you.

  • Contact you at work if your employer prohibits personal calls.

  • Threaten you.

  • Tell anyone (other than your spouse, lawyer, or cosigner) that you're in debt.

  • Bug you once you've told them to bug off.

If a debt collector breaks the rules, you have options: First, tell them you know what the Fair Debt Collection Practices Act is and how to use it. Then, use it by filing a complaint with the Federal Trade Commission, Correspondence Branch, 600 Pennsylvania NW, Washington, D.C., 20580.

About This Article

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About the book authors:

James P. Caher, a practicing attorney with 30 years of experience, is a nationally recognized expert on consumer bankruptcies and authority on the Bankruptcy Abuse Prevention and Consumer Protection Act of 2005.
Jim coauthored, with his brother John, Debt Free! Your Guide to Personal Bankruptcy Without Shame (Henry Holt, 1996) and two highly regarded books for lawyers: Discharging Marital Obligations in Bankruptcy (LRP, 1997) and Discharging Credit Card Debts in Bankruptcy (LRP, 1998).
In addition, Jim has published scores of articles for bankruptcy professionals and is frequently called upon to analyze and interpret the complicated provisions of the 2005 bankruptcy law. He was labeled the “online guru” by a national legal weekly because of his regular appearances on the Internet as an expert analyst on bankruptcy law. Jim also serves on the editorial board of the American Bankruptcy Institute.
Jim graduated from Niagara University and then earned his law degree from Memphis State University Law School, where he was a member of the Law Review and recipient of the American Jurisprudence Award for Excellence in the field of debtor-creditor relations. He filed his first consumer bankruptcy case shortly after graduating in 1975. Jim lives and practices in Eugene, Oregon.

John M. Caher is a legal journalist who has written about law and the courts for most of his 25-year career.
Currently the Albany bureau chief for the New York Law Journal, John previously was state editor and legal affairs reporter for the Times Union of Albany, New York. His legal reportage has won more than two dozen awards, including prestigious honors from the American Bar Association, the New York State Bar Association, the Erie County Bar Association, and the Associated Press.
John coauthored, with his brother Jim, Debt Free! Your Guide to Personal Bankruptcy Without Shame (Henry Holt, 1996). He is the author of King of the Mountain: The Rise, Fall and Redemption of Chief Judge Sol Wachtler (Prometheus Books, 1998). In addition, John was the principal writer assisting former U.S. Treasury Secretary William E. Simon in preparation of his memoirs. Mr. Simon’s autobiography, A Time for Reflection, was published in 2003 by Regnery.
John is a 1980 graduate of Utica College of Syracuse University, where he received his bachelor’s degree in journalism, and a 1993 graduate of Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute, where he earned a master’s degree in technical communications/graphics. John lives in Clifton Park, New York.

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