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22

Apr 2016

Alice Gets After Bankruptcy Car Loan at 4.76%

Posted by / in After Bankruptcy, Weekly Posts /

Alice Gets After Bankruptcy Car Loan at 4.76%

after bankruptcy car loan

In less than a year, Alice is approved for an after bankruptcy car loan on a Nissan Versa at 4.76%


Alice came to see me in March 2015.


She’d just gotten back to work after being out for over a year.  Her financial situation was so bad, she’d been living in a women’s crisis center, at very low rent

We filed a Chapter 7 bankruptcy.  Even working again, she could not afford her credit cards.  I told her filing bankruptcy was the fastest way back to good credit.  Much better than continuing to send in late and partial payments.

Good news in April 2016.  Alice just emailed me to tell me about her after bankruptcy car loan.

Here’s the rest of the story in her own words.

Hi Bob,

So as you may recall, after my bankruptcy discharge in June, three months later at the end of August I had to turn in my leased Honda.

You told me that every month I could wait for a car I would save. So I have lived without a car for seven and a half long months.

I have walked and taken the bus and the metro through the winter. And it looks like it’s paying off!

On Saturday I went to a Nissan dealer, and they were able to get me financing at 4.76% for a shiny new black 2015 Versa Note SV! Today I went back there tonight to make sure the bank had actually given final approval for the financing at that rate – I told them on Saturday that even though it was in the range I was pre-approved for, I thought it was too good to be true.

But apparently it IS true! They showed me the screen today that tells them they have received final approval, and they assured me that they have it.

Less than a year after Chapter 7 discharge, I have a new car at 4.76% – 259 a month for 72 months! (I know that’s long but this is a new Nissan with some options that should help the resale value and I plan to refinance in 6 months or a year for a lower interest rate and shorter term.)

It’s been a slog for 10 months but maybe I’m seeing the light at the end of the tunnel!

Thank you again, SO much, for everything! The world needs more of you.

Grace and peace to you,

–Alice

 

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25

Mar 2016

Narrow Escape: After-Bankruptcy Mortgage Approved

Posted by / in After Bankruptcy, Weekly Posts /

Terrance was standing outside my door when I unlocked, Friday last week.

Terrance filed Chapter 7 bankruptcy with me, January 2013.  I tell people you can get approved for a mortgage as soon as two years after your bankruptcy discharge.  Terrance got his mortgage approved two years and four months after his bankruptcy. Or he thought he did.  They told him in December, everything was fine. Last Thursday, they turned him down.  He was scheduled to close on his new house, Tuesday. He freaked.

There was a problem on Terrance’s After-Bankruptcy Credit Report

after bankrutpcy mortgage loan

In December, the mortgage company said they’d fix the problem on Terrance’s credit report. They didn’t.

When he first applied for the loan, the mortgage company told him there was a problem.  One of the debts discharged in his 2013 bankruptcy looked like it was still there.  Terrance made an appointment to see me last December; but then he cancelled.  

The mortgage company told him they would take care of it.  Turned out they didn’t.

Here’s the happy ending.

I’m one of maybe fifty bankruptcy lawyers around the country who fights all the time for my clients to fix their after-bankruptcy credit report.  Because of my experience, I knew the compliance officer at the outfit that was causing the problem. I had his phone number and email, and he was in his office that Friday morning. I got him.

By noon, we got the paper the mortgage underwriter needed, showing that debt was taken care of in the bankruptcy.  The mortgage got approved Monday.  Terrance bought his house on schedule, Tuesday.

Two Lessons

I think every bankruptcy lawyer needs to know at least a little about Fair Credit Reporting. You don’t really get your “fresh start” in bankruptcy, if your after-bankruptcy credit report is wrong.  

You should really check your credit report, with your lawyer, a couple months after your bankruptcy is over.  (And keep checking it.)  Don’t wait until you are turned down for your after-bankruptcy mortgage.

My Promise

I promise to fight for you to make your after-bankruptcy credit report right, for as long as five years.  You can read more about that, here. 

Most bankruptcy lawyers will have nothing to do with after-bankruptcy credit reports; and sometimes it makes a enormous difference.​             

 

     

                             

 

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06

Mar 2016

Global Client Solutions Pays Us $1500.

Posted by / in Before Bankruptcy /

Global Client Solutions got $61.50 from C H and pays up $1500.

C H, like many of my bankruptcy clients, tried to “settle” her debts before talking to a bankruptcy lawyer. She paid $1,133.48 to Global Client Solutions as part of a debt settlement plan, before she realized NONE of the money was going to settle her debts.

Global Client Solutions handled the “dedicated settlement account” Credit Advocates Law Firm set up for C H. Global, in fact, handles the settlement accounts for more than 400! different debt settlement operations.

Global Client Solutions logo

The CFPB says Global Client Solutions handles the “dedicated settlement accounts” for more than 400 debt settlement outfits. According to the FTC, if the debt settlement outfits are charging illegal fees, Global can’t help but notice.

We sued Global for $3400.44–three times the money she lost, under the Virginia Consumer Protection Act. Global replied they had only gotten $61.50 out of that $1,133.48–claiming “the remaining $1,071.98 was assessed by Credit Advocates Law Firm.”  (We’re suing Credit Advocates, too.)  

I pointed out that the Federal Trade Commission telemarketing rule says these debt settlement “law firms” cannot charge ANY fee until they have actually settled some debts. (The fact that they do is one reason these debt settlements rarely work. So much money goes to fees, there’s no money to pay the creditors, even if they want to settle.  Which they often don’t.)

The Consumer Finance Protection Bureau has gone after Global, saying that since their business is handling these debt settlement accounts, and their own records show they are paying “law firms” fees that are not yet earned, they are equally guilty in violating that law.  (You can read more about that, here.)

I repeated what the CFPB said, back to Global’s legal department.  (I also pointed out that we had sued them twice before.)

Then Global came back with a check for $1500. I got $750 of that, and C H got $750.  So C H has not quite gotten all her money back. Yet.

We are suing five other outfits who had their finger prints on this deal. I hope C H will end up getting back three times what she lost–that’s what Virginia law says she should get.

PS  So who else are we suing for C H?

Credit Advocates Law Firm, LLC is the name of the outfit that was taking money out of the Global account.  Their website is gone.  (I found them, though, on the Wayback machine, here.)

Credit Advocates said they were also the Law Firm of Adela Estopinan.  Adela Estopinan seems to be licensed as a lawyer in Florida.  

The people who put C H in touch with Credit Advocates used two names.  They called themselves Cornerstone Legal; and they also called themselves Fast Track Debt Relief.  Both of those still have active websites; and Cornerstone either copied or just took over the Credit Advocates website.  (See here, the SEO title for Cornerstone is Credit Advocates?!)

Referring people from one outfit to another seems to be standard in the debt settlement world.  I guessing because they each want to claim, like Global tried, that somebody else actually got the money.

They are all due to make their first court appearance in Fairfax on April 12, 2016.  I’ll let you know who shows up.

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06

Feb 2016

Delbert Services Can’t Hide Behind Indian Tribe

Posted by / in Weekly Posts /

Delbert Services Can’t Hide Behind Indian Tribe law–4th Circuit

Delbert Services is a debt collector, collecting bad debts for the internet payday lender, Western Sky.

Western Sky has been shut down for a couple years.  Their “payday loans violated a host of state and federal lending laws.”   Delbert Services has rocked along, collecting those ?illegal? loans.

Delbert Services got sued for illegal debt collecting by James Hayes and Debera Grant, in Richmond, Virginia. Delbert able persuaded a Judge in Richmond to send the case to arbitration.  (Arbitration, among other things, forfeits the right to a jury trial, found in the Seventh Amendment to the constitution.  It also stops “class actions” where two or three people sue on behalf of everyone who has been scammed in the same way.)  

Hayes and Grant appealed.

The Fourth Circuit, on February 2, 2016, threw out the arbitration.  That allowed Hayes and Grant and the rest to go ahead, for the class and in front of a jury, in Richmond.

The Fourth Circuit said arbitration is almost always allowed–but not here.  Why?  The arbitration agreement said the only law that applied was the “laws of the Cheyenne River Sioux Tribal Nation.”  Three Judges of the Fourth Circuit said that was B.S.  Western Sky (and Delbert Services) “may not flatly and categorically renounce the authority of the federal statutes to which it is and must remain subject.”

This goes beyond Virginia

The Fourth Circuit are the big judges between us the the Supreme Court for Maryland, Virginia, West Virginia, North Carolina, and South Carolina. Last fall, a judge in North Carolina protected Western Sky and Delbert, telling Thomas Brown and Monica Johnson that they had to bring their complaints to the Cheyenne River Sioux Tribe.  This new decision should get Thomas Brown and Monica Johnson out of Eagle Butte, SD  (population 619) and back in front of a jury in North Carolina.

This goes beyond Western Sky and Delbert Services

One of my clients, Jim J, had an internet payday loan with an outfit called American Web Loan.  The interest rate on that loan was illegal under Virginia law–and Jim paid it off according to what could have been legally charged.  But a debt collector, Admin Recovery, kept chasing him.

2-6-2016 1-40-29 PM  American Webloans

American Web Loans says they can violate state and Federal laws, because they are only covered by the law of the Oteo-Missouria Indians.

Like Western Sky, American Web Loan hides behind Indian tribe law: the Otoe-Missouria Tribe of Indians.  

I’ve been dragging my feet on whether it made sense for Jim to go after Admin Recovery–and be forced to fight it out in tribal court in Red Rock, OK, population 293.  Now that the Fourth Circuit has come down on our side, we’re going ahead.  

 Seventh Amendment Jury Trial

 Personally, I think the Seventh Amendment is kind of the forgotten amendment in the Bill of Rights.  Every American has a right to trial by jury in Federal court, when more than $20.00 is at stake.  But Congress, and the Supreme Court, has said over and over that businesses can take away that right in the fine print on their consumer agreements. If you could give up your other rights in fine print, we wouldn’t have any rights at all.  It’s time for the elected officials who talk defending the constitution to defend the Seventh Amendment.                                             

 

 

             

 

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28

Jan 2016

Chapter 13 in Virginia–A New Nightmare

Posted by / in Chapter 13, Chapter 13 Bankruptcy, Weekly Posts /

Chapter 13 in Virginia–A New Nightmare

The Bankruptcy Judge in Norfolk just made chapter 13 in Virginia even more dangerous.  And last night one bankruptcy judge in Alexandria hinted that he agrees.

 

Chapter 13 bankrutpcy in Virginia--Tidewater at this court house

The Bankruptcy Judge in Norfolk is in this Federal Courthouse

The issue came up the the case of In re Marlene Evans.  Ms Evans made her bankruptcy payments to the Chapter 13 Trustee for five years.  According to her plan, she had paid about $4500 toward $23,000 in debts, and the rest of it was supposed to be discharged–gone.

Not so fast, said the Chapter 13 Trustee, Clint Stackhouse.  The Trustee said, you paid me, but you are behind with your mortgage payments. And sure enough, Ms Evans admitted she was about ten months behind on the mortgage.

That means, argued the Chapter 13 Trustee, you didn’t keep all your promises–you paid me, but not the mortgage.  And you promised to do both.

The Judge, Stephen St John, agreed.  Even though she had paid what she promised toward the $23,000–mostly credit cards, personal loans and payday loans–they are allowed to start chasing her again, when the bankruptcy was over. Why, because she fell behind with the mortgage payments.

This doesn’t seem fair.

It doesn’t seem fair.  Ms Evans paid what the credit cards were promised–why does she have to pay them again?  Since she admits she’s behind on the mortgage–well, everybody has always agreed that the mortgage company can come after her for that.  And if she can’t work it out, she’ll lose her house.  But why do the credit cards get to hide behind the mortgage company?

And it happens a lot in Chapter 13

People often finish Chapter 13 a few months behind on their mortgage.  That’s because Chapter 13 budgets are very tight.  In Northern Virginia, where the cost of living is real high, they are very, very tight.  So after four years of the Chapter 13 trustee draining every available cent from your budget, towards the end, you may need a $2500 car repair.  And skipping the last couple mortgage payments seems like the only way to do that. Figuring when the Chapter 13 payment is done, then there’s money to catch up the mortgage.

That strategy is now officially a disaster, at least in Tidewater, and maybe in all of Virginia.

The Judges in Alexandria

Last night was the annual dinner of the Bankruptcy Judges and the bankruptcy lawyers.  The Judges got to talk for an hour, and Judge Robert Mayer brought this up.  He didn’t say he agreed (Judges are supposed to tell you what they think–except when you are in court in front of them.) But he did say that “most courts around the country” that have decide this, have all decided the same way.  

UPDATE: Ms Evans Loses Her Appeal

A US District Court Judge in Norfolk, today on January 13, 2017, agreed with the bankruptcy judge. (You can read it here. Evans v Stackhouse.)  It’s now the law in Virginia. If you finish your Chapter 13, and pay the credit cards all your promised, but fell behind on your mortgage, your bankrutpcy is tossed out. The credit cards are allowed to start chasing you all over again.

What’s the lesson? Avoid Chapter 13

Here are some disadvantages of Chapter 13, compared to Chapter 7.  

1.  If your income increases after you start paying, the Chapter 13 trustee will want more.

2.  If you inherit money while you are in Chapter 13,  that money goes to the Chapter 13 trustee.

3. In many cases, the bankruptcy trustee takes your refund.

4. It’s worse on your credit than Chapter 7.

5. Less than half of Chapter 13 filings succeed.

6.  And now, you can complete your payments and still not get a discharge, if you slip behind on your mortgage payments.  

 

hank hildebrand chapter 13 trustee

Tennessee Chapter 13 trustee Hank Hildebrand says Chapter is a “complex, expensive, unproductive system.”

If there’s any way, you want to avoid Chapter 13.   

Hank Hildebrand, Chapter 13 Trustee in the Middle District of Tennessee, and one of the nation’s most frequent speakers on Chapter 13 issues describes Chapter 13 as a “complex, expensive and unproductive system.”  

One more darn thing.

Just had a ruling from the 11th Circuit.  Suppose during the Chapter 13, you are injured in a car accident.   If you go ahead and sue for your injury, without first telling the bankruptcy court, you forfeit your right to sue for that injury.  

Chapter 13 is Anti-family

Client, two years into Chapter 13, asked me today if getting married will affect his Chapter 13 plan.  Well, it might. If the spouse is working, too, the trustee can claim that the increased family income is a substantial, unforeseen change, and ask that the payments be increase.

The members of Congress of the Judiciary Committee, who care about family values, could support a change in the law that blocks the trustee from arguing that.

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24

Jan 2016

Woodbridge Bankruptcy Lawyer 100 Five Star Reviews

Posted by / in Weekly Posts /

Thanks, Woodbridge!  This week brought our one hundredth five star review.

I’m Woodbridge bankruptcy lawyer Robert Weed.  And I’m happy to announce we now have one hundred five star reviews from Woodbridge bankruptcy clients.

I’ve been a bankruptcy lawyer in Northern Virginia since 1993, helping fourteen thousand people get a fresh start in bankruptcy.  (More than any other Manassas or Woodbridge bankruptcy lawyer.)

I’ve had an office in Prince William County for twenty years.  There are three reasons I have happy clients.  The first is, I’m good at what I do. Second, I have great staff. The third is, bankruptcy really works.

Five stars for Woodbridge Bankruptcy lawyer Robert Weed

There are two reasons one hundred Woodbridge bankruptcy clients have given us five stars. I’m good at what I do. And bankruptcy really works.

Are you nervous if bankruptcy really works?

Like most people, you’re wondering if bankruptcy can really help.  That’s natural.  I can tell you nearly everyone feels nervous at the thought.  And much better after they’ve made the plunge.  Listen to these Woodbridge bankruptcy clients.

Vanessa C, in her five star Google review said,  “Anybody going through bankruptcy deals with all kinds of emotions and experience anxiety & fear & worry. Valerie takes the time to listen & is reassuring and walks you through step by step making the whole process so much easier.”  

Susan F left us a five star Google review, “I felt very guilty about going the bankruptcy route but realized I had no other options. The staff, specifically Valerie made everything very easy for me.  I am now glad I made the decision to go through with the bankruptcy.”

Brian gave us five stars and added, “I was extremely nervous as to the thought of going through bankruptcy.  The team at his office makes you feel at ease.”

If you don’t believe your neighbors in Woodbridge, believe Donald Trump

Donald Trump wouldn’t be a billionaire if he hadn’t, “used the chapter laws, the bankruptcy laws to [his] own benefit.” He adds,Came out great … I’m glad I did it. Four times I’ve taken advantage of the laws. . . .I used the laws of the country to my benefit.”  (You can read more in USA Today.)

Several years ago, I calculated that Trump’s fourth business bankruptcy got rid of twice as much debt as all twelve thousand people I had helped put together.  

How About the Supreme Court?  “A new opportunity in life.”

Do you still think bankruptcy is some kind of punishment because you can’t pay your debts.  The official US Courts website says the exact opposite.  The purpose of bankruptcy is to help you.  

A fundamental goal of the federal bankruptcy laws enacted by Congress is to give debtors a financial “fresh start” from burdensome debts. The Supreme Court made this point about the purpose of the bankruptcy law in a 1934 decision:

[I]t gives to the honest but unfortunate debtor…a new opportunity in life and a clear field for future effort, unhampered by the pressure and discouragement of preexisting debt.

Local Loan Co. v. Hunt, 292 U.S. 234, 244 (1934).

Do you need a new opportunity in life?  That’s what my Woodbridge bankruptcy lawyer office is here for.  

And the Federal Reserve?  “Sharp boost” in your credit score

What’s the number one reason people drag their feet before talking to a bankruptcy lawyer?  For most people, it’s their “credit.”  

Now if your credit score is over 700, bankruptcy will hurt it.  But if slow payments and high debts have dragged your credit down, filing bankrutpcy will help you.   Two different studies by Federal Reserve banks, both came to the same conclusion.  

“The individuals who go bankrupt experience a sharp boost in their credit score after bankruptcy.”  

 That’s from a February 2015 study sponsored by the Federal Reserve Bank of New York.

 “Credit scores start to recover immediately after the bankruptcy filing.”

926.713335634307

“The individuals who go bankrupt experience a sharp boost in their credit score after bankruptcy.”

 That’s according to an August 2014 study sponsored by the Federal Reserve Bank of Philadelphia.  

 Bankruptcy gives you a new start five ways.

1.  Creditors can’t call or bill you.

2.  They can’t take you to court or garnish you.

3.  Your credit score will improve.

4.  You’ll sleep better.

5.  You’ll be smarter.

 Read More Reviews?  See the Smiles

Still wondering?  All together, we have more than seven hundred five star reviews.   You can see them here and here.  When you read the reviews, you can see the smiles.  

I love being a Woodbridge bankruptcy lawyer, because I can help almost everyone I see.”

If you want to make an appointment, use our Get Started Now email box. Or call 703-335-7793, our main switchboard.  Contact us today and sleep better tonight.

 

 

 

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                               

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NORTHERN VIRGINIA BANKRUPTCY LAW OFFICES