Debts can come in a variety of shapes and sizes. When you file for bankruptcy, you probably have already had calls from collections agencies. For many people, collection agency calls can start to feel like harassment. If you receive calls from a law firm, you may start to wonder if that is appropriate. Can law firms serve as their own debt collectors?
Legal Regulations for Debt Collection
A law firm can serve as its own debt collection agency. Now, this does not mean that the law firm can follow its own rules. There are federal and state laws in place to protect people from creditors. The law firm has to send a collection letter. This letter must state the debt clearly and explain that they are acting as the debt collector.
These rules are in place to keep collections agencies from posing as lawyers to scare consumers. Sometimes, a collection agency may use a lawyer’s letterhead to frighten a consumer. Then, when the consumer looks into it, he or she discovers that there are no attorneys assigned to the case. No one can pretend to be an attorney to contact a consumer.
An attorney, however, can be involved in the collections. He or she may be assisting a creditor in collecting a debt or he or she may be collecting debt for him or herself. The letter you receive should never be confusing. If you find it confusing or believe that it may be breaking regulation, you can always have a lawyer look at the letter.
Bankruptcy Rules for Debt Collection
Lawyers have to follow the same rules during a bankruptcy. In bankruptcy, after you file, the collections agencies are no longer allowed to harass you. The same goes for the law firm. While you are going through the bankruptcy process, you do not need to make any payments and you do not have to deal with harassing phone calls or letters. Attorneys may collect debts on their own behalf, but this does not mean that the normal rules for debt collection do not apply to them.
Law firms are allowed to communicate with you in an attempt to collect a debt. If you file for bankruptcy, however, those letters and calls should cease immediately. Law firms have to abide by the same rules as any creditor. If you receive collection letters from attorneys regarding any past debts, contact a debt collection lawyer in Tampa, FL for a consultation. He or she can help you understand what a law firm can and cannot do.
Thanks to The Law Office of Michael A. Ziegler, P.L. for their insight into bankruptcy law and debt collections.