It may seem that bankruptcy is the only option for someone drowning in credit card debt—but Wisconsin residents have many other options they can use to keep creditors at bay. One is the Fair Debt Collection Practices Act, a federal law designed to protect consumers from harassing creditors. Another is the Wisconsin Consumer Act. Next is Section 128, which allows wage earners to voluntarily consolidate their debts. The third alternative is debt negotiation, a back-and-forth communication process with your creditors, where an attorney can bring down your debt burden by as much as 75%.
The Fair Debt Collection Practices Act (FDCPA)
Under the FDCPA, collection agencies are prohibited from behaving in harassing and abusive ways during debt collection. This means they must call you during normal business hours, they cannot call you if they know you have hired an attorney and cannot make false or misleading representations. If you are experiencing abuse from a creditor, a bankruptcy attorney can advise you of your legal options under this act.
Wisconsin Consumer Act (WCA)
Under the WCA, creditors are prohibited in engaging in certain practices. The WCA is broader than the FDCPA in that it does not apply exclusively to third party collection agencies. However, the act applies to very specific transactions. Under this act, creditors may be prohibited from doing many things, including threatening criminal prosecution, threatening to disclose information affecting your reputation, using obscene language and threatening to bring a lawsuit when the creditor has no intention to do so.
Wisconsin Section 128 is a little-known program under State law that allows a resident to consolidate most of their debts into one monthly payment over a period of 36 months. Through a 128, you can avoid bankruptcy and pay off credit cards, medical bills and payday loans without interest or late fees for three years. Filing of a 128 also protects your paycheck and assets by preventing wage garnishment and attachment of property for debt collection purposes.
The goal of this method is to wipe out a substantial amount of the balance owed to your creditors. By working with an experienced attorney, it may be possible to negotiate with many of your creditors to lower the balance that is owed.
At Sapinski Law Office, S.C., we want to help you stop debt and manage creditor harassment in the best way possible, whether through Wisconsin Section 128, the FDCPA, the WCA, bankruptcy, debt negotiation, or some other option. We can evaluate your situation and help you make the right choice. To schedule a consultation at our Milwaukee area office, call (262) 782-9400.
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