Know Your Rights

Smart Debt Tips for 2012

It is a new year and a good time to make a fresh start. The past few years have been a financial strain for most Americans. Let's start the new year on a positive note.  Here are a few smart tips for avoiding financial stress, improving your credit, and protecting yourself against abusive debt collectors.

First, pull your credit report.  You are allowed a free credit report from each of the three credit bureaus every 12 months.  Look at Experian, Equifax and Transunion reports carefully.  If there is an error or errors, dispute your credit report errors by writing a letter to the bureau reporting the error.  This letter must be sent certified mail with receipt.  To see step-by-step disputing instructions, check out our website or call 888-822-1777.  Speak to an attorney today!

Second, do not co-sign on a loan that is not yours.  When you co-sign on a loan, the bill becomes your debt.  Lenders will count this debt as yours and go after you if the other co-signer can no longer pay. 

Third, educate yourself on your rights as a consumer.  If you have debt collectors calling you, learn what debt collectors can and cannot do.    Some simple things you can do to protect yourself:
 • Save all voicemails from collectors or creditors;
 • Keep a log of the calls from creditors or collectors that detail the date, time and identity of the caller;
 • If you dispute the debt, send a letter in response to the to the collection agency's collection letters, mail the letter certified mail and keep copies for yourself;
 • Unsure what is legal and what is not? Check out our website for a free case review or call one of our attorneys today at 888-822-1777!

Fourth, if you get sued for a debt, do not ignore the lawsuit.  Do not miss the court date.  By missing a court date, you are digging a deeper hole for yourself.  Show up to court, be prepared and try to settle your case.  If you are interested in having legal representation in that lawsuit, contact our website or call us for a free case review at 888-822-1777. 

Fifth, think twice before making a big purchase.  Applying for a car loan or a department store credit card permits the lender to pull your credit report.  This might cause your credit score to drop a few points.  Then, once you make that purchase and it is financed, the account becomes a new trade line on your credit report.  You must be mindful to make those payments on time.

Sixth, think three times before buying a used car.   Used cars are typically purchased "as is."  There is no guarantee that a used car will not incur repair bills.  The older the car gets, the more it is susceptible to breaking down.   With a used car being sold "as-is," you never know what you will get.  You can check the vehicles repair history by pulling a car fax report, but that is no guarantee that your newly used car will run repair -free.  Be smart and careful when buying an older vehicle. 

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