Never Ignore Your Credit Card Company

Authored by Wendy Witt, Esq.

We so understand that if you are behind on your credit card payments, you likely just can't take another phone call or nasty gram from the credit card company. You may be so overwhelmed that you're ignoring lawsuit notices as well. It does happen.

WARNING: If you put your head in the sand and ignore the credit card company or other creditors, there are dire results. In fact, you could lose your paycheck, bank account funds, house, and personal property.

We're not trying to be Chicken Little and tell you the sky is falling, but we want to convey how serious the matter is. You, absolutely, cannot just ignore the credit card company; you must take action.

What Happens When You Ignore the Credit Card Company

If you ignore the credit card company, meaning don't repay your debt, work out a repayment plan with the company, or file bankruptcy, the credit card company will sue you.

And, if you continue to ignore the lawsuit, the court will award judgment in favor of the company in the amount of your debt. If you continue to ignore the judgment, the court will garnish your wages and/or bank account, place a lien on your house and, sometimes, on your personal items.

This means you will lose everything you have until the debt to the credit card company has been repaid.

How to Stop Credit Card Company Collections

If you want to protect your money and property, you do have options; however, ignoring the credit card company is not one of them.

Here are your three options:

  • Repay the debt.
  • Call the credit card company and let them know you're having trouble paying the debt, but that you intend to do so. Work out a repayment plan and ask for penalties and interest rates to be reduced.
  • File for bankruptcy protection. If there is no way you're going to be able to pay back your credit card debt on your own, you need to consult with a bankruptcy attorney and consider bankruptcy.
    • If you file bankruptcy under Chapter 7 of the Bankruptcy Code, all credit card debts will be wiped out, meaning you'll never have to repay them.
    • If you file bankruptcy under Chapter 13 of the Bankruptcy Code, you'll have three to five years to pay back past debts, including credit card debts; and, your attorney will be able to renegotiate what you owe, meaning you may have less to pay back and penalties and interest will either be lowered significantly or eliminated altogether.

Filing for Bankruptcy Stops the Credit Card Company

The automatic stay is a huge relief for all those being hounded by credit card companies.

As soon as your bankruptcy petition is accepted by the court, the court issues an automatic stay which notifies your creditors, including the credit card company, that you've filed for bankruptcy protection and that all attempts to collect on your debt must stop immediately.

The automatic stay works extremely well, but if a collection call slips through, simply explain that you are filing bankruptcy and are represented by an attorney. The caller may ask for your attorney's name and contact information, but that's okay. They hear it every day and they won't call again.

Where to Find a Bankruptcy Attorney

We developed our attorney referral website, www.attorneys.org, to help people like you find knowledgeable attorneys who can guide them through their current difficulties and plan for their future. Of course, it's totally up to you which attorney you choose.

The site is free and private and when you contact any of the attorneys listed, you'll receive a free case evaluation. If you prefer, you can call your local bar association and ask for a list of bankruptcy lawyers or ask a loved one or friend for a referral. The important thing is that you deal with (or have your bankruptcy attorney deal with) the credit card company so you and your assets are protected.

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