court http://www.wisebread.com/taxonomy/term/11631/all en-US Deal With Your Debt or You May Go to Jail http://www.wisebread.com/deal-with-your-debt-or-you-may-go-to-jail <div class="field field-type-filefield field-field-blog-image"> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> <a href="/deal-with-your-debt-or-you-may-go-to-jail" class="imagecache imagecache-250w imagecache-linked imagecache-250w_linked"><img src="http://wisebread.killeracesmedia.netdna-cdn.com/files/fruganomics/imagecache/250w/blog-images/383476178_8fe0f5e767.jpg" alt="gavel" title="gavel" class="imagecache imagecache-250w" width="250" height="188" /></a> </div> </div> </div> <p>Collection agencies are using severe methods to go after debtors. They're going through the courts to collect. The choices are show up, pay up &mdash; or get locked up.</p> <p>First, the collection agency files a lawsuit against the debtor. (The agency should send the debtor an official notification in the mail.) If the debtor doesn't appear at the hearing, the judge can vote in favor of the collection agency (called a default judgment) then schedule another hearing to review the debtor's assets. If the debtor doesn't appear at this hearing, the judge can declare that the debtor is in contempt of court and issue a warrant for his/her arrest. Not only will the debtor have pay what is owed, but also court fines and, in some cases, bail money.</p> <p>Federal law abolished debtor's prison in 1833. However, this scenario has been appearing with increasing regularity in Minnesota, Wisconsin, New Jersey, Arkansas, Indiana, Illinois and Washington. According to the Minneapolis-St. Paul Star Tribune, in 2009, there were 845 cases of debtors being sent to prison in Minnesota.</p> <p>How can you protect yourself and stay out of jail? Follow these five steps:</p> <h3>1. Open your mail</h3> <p>When your account is months past due, your original creditor will usually sell your account to a third-party collection agency for pennies on the dollar (that way they get something for your loan balance). Then, of course, the collection agency wants to make a profit, so they start calling and sending threatening letters to scare the money out of you. If you contact the agency in writing that you want them to stop calling, by law, they should stop.</p> <p>However, if you don't respond they might decide to take you to court. In that case they <i>should </i>send you an official notice of a court hearing with a date so that you can attend and defend yourself. The notice should also have the official court address on the envelope, but sometimes (wrongly) the agency will send an &quot;unofficial&quot; letter giving you notice. Don't put your mail in a big pile or in a brown bag and assume it will go away. Open and read everything; if there is a collection notice, you will know.</p> <h3>2. Know what you owe</h3> <p>Keep track of your outstanding loans. Look at your statements and keep a file. If you are having trouble making timely payments, contact the creditor and let them know. Some creditors will offer a reduced payment/lower interest program. In the case of medical debt, most doctors and hospitals don't charge interest and will usually agree to a payment plan.</p> <h3>3. Review your credit report regularly and dispute errors</h3> <p>Checking your credit report every four to six months will show you where you stand with your debt and debt payments. (Go to <a href="http://www.annualcreditreport.com/">AnnualCreditReport.com</a>.)You can see if an account is so delinquent that it has been sold to a collection agency. It will appear above the Account History section under Collections.</p> <p>For example, it isn't unusual for a person who has been in the hospital to find medical debt in collection that he or she wasn't even aware of. (Hospitals can send dozens of bills so it is easy to miss paying a few.) Also, landlords, utilities and phone companies can come up with final charges, but you might not get the bill if you've moved. Five months later, the charge will show up as a collection item. Review each item in your report, and if something is incorrect, write to the credit bureau to dispute it. (Go to <a href="http://www.ftc.gov/">FTC.gov</a> for dispute forms.)</p> <h3>4. Show up in court if you get a notice</h3> <p>You need to appear in front of the judge to plead your case. If you don't show, then the judge will only hear the collection agency's version of the situation. When there are extenuating circumstances, you can ask the judge for special consideration and work out a compromise payment plan. Also, if you're experiencing financial hardship, bring a financial statement detailing your assets and liabilities and a cash-flow statement with your income and essential expenses.</p> <h3>5. Demand to see proof of the original debt</h3> <p>When you're in court pleading your case, ask the collection agency to show proof of your original debt. In some cases, your account has changed hands several times and the collection agency has no written legal evidence of the original loan. That may win your case right there.</p> <p>Many people are struggling with debt, and collection agencies are getting more aggressive in coming after delinquent accounts. Even if your accounts are in collection, you do have rights. (Go to <a href="http://www.ftc.gov/">FTC.gov</a> for more information on the Fair Debt Collection Practices Act or read a previous <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/laws-the-leg-breakers-don-t-want-you-to-know-about">Wise Bread article on the FDCPA</a>.) Be aware of the potential consequences of ignoring your debts, and be pro-active if you're summoned to court. Otherwise, you might be taking an expensive ride in a paddy wagon to the Big House.</p> <div class="field field-type-text field-field-guestpost-blurb"> <div class="field-label">Guest Post Blurb:&nbsp;</div> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> <p>This is a guest post by Hollis Colquhoun. Hollis has over 20 years of experience in the financial industry, is an Accredited Financial Counselor and co-author of <strong>Women Empowering Themselves: A Financial Survival Guide</strong>. Contact her at <a href="http://www.womenempoweringthemselves.com/">Women Empowering Themselves</a>. Here are more articles by Hollis:</p> <ul> <li><a href="http://technorati.com/blogging/article/avoid-expensive-credit-report-services-when1/">Avoid Expensive Credit Report Services When You DIY For Free</a></li> <li><a href="http://technorati.com/business/article/the-college-challenge-which-way-to/">The College Challenge: Which Way To Pay</a></li> </ul> </div> </div> </div> <br /><div id="custom_wisebread_footer"><div id="rss_tagline">This article is from <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/hollis-colquhoun">Hollis Colquhoun</a> of <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/deal-with-your-debt-or-you-may-go-to-jail">Wise Bread</a>, an award-winning personal finance and <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/credit-cards">credit card comparison</a> website. Read more great articles from Wise Bread:</div><div class="view view-similarterms view-id-similarterms view-display-id-block_2 view-dom-id-1"> <div class="view-content"> <div class="item-list"> <ul> <li class="views-row views-row-1 views-row-odd views-row-first"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/look-out-consumers-debt-collections-get-scarier">Look Out Consumers: Debt Collections Get Scarier</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-2 views-row-even"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/always-answer-the-call-expert-advice-on-debt-collection">Always Answer the Call: Expert Advice on Debt Collection</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-3 views-row-odd"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/the-best-0-balance-transfer-credit-cards">The 5 Best 0% Balance Transfer Credit Cards</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-4 views-row-even"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/8-signs-youve-crossed-from-healthy-debt-to-problem-debt">8 Signs You&#039;ve Crossed From &quot;Healthy&quot; Debt to &quot;Problem&quot; Debt</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-5 views-row-odd views-row-last"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/how-to-rebuild-your-credit-in-8-simple-steps">How to Rebuild Your Credit in 8 Simple Steps</a></span> </div> </li> </ul> </div> </div> </div> </div><br/></br> Debt Management court debt collections Fair Debt Collections Act Thu, 05 Aug 2010 14:00:07 +0000 Hollis Colquhoun 196262 at http://www.wisebread.com ‘Tis The Season To Get A Speeding Ticket! Are You Next? http://www.wisebread.com/tis-the-season-to-get-a-speeding-ticket-are-you-next <div class="field field-type-filefield field-field-blog-image"> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> <a href="/tis-the-season-to-get-a-speeding-ticket-are-you-next" class="imagecache imagecache-250w imagecache-linked imagecache-250w_linked"><img src="http://wisebread.killeracesmedia.netdna-cdn.com/files/fruganomics/imagecache/250w/blog-images/3090392251_911be4dfaf.jpg" alt="Lights Cop" title="Lights Of The Police Car" class="imagecache imagecache-250w" width="250" height="166" /></a> </div> </div> </div> <p>Yes, speeding tickets suck. And yes, they&rsquo;re also a necessary deterrent; they come not just with fines and points on your license, but insurance rate hikes. This is also the time of year when more speeding tickets are issued, and you may be more likely to get one based on a few factors.</p> <p>So, why is this time of year open season on drivers? And how could you be more likely to get a ticket? Well, there are several factors, which some police officer friends of mine recently let me in on. The most obvious is that it&rsquo;s party season, with the Holidays and New Year's. And parties mean drinking, which means bad driving. There are more cops on the roads, and more cops means more chances of getting a ticket. Simple math. But what about your own situation? What are the circumstances that put you in a higher-risk category of getting a speeding ticket? Here are some questions that will help.</p> <h2>Where do you live?</h2> <p>This is not just party season; it&rsquo;s also budget season. People in businesses everywhere are having huddled conversations with accountants and tax attorneys. And unfortunately, every state in America is also trying to balance the budget (or these days, get somewhere close to breaking even). If you happen to live in a state that&rsquo;s got way more money problems than it should have (sorry Californians) then you&rsquo;re going to be on the receiving end of some budget-boosting strategies. Enter the police force. They have the ability to create revenue for the state in the form of traffic violations. For example, the average traffic cop will cost a city about $75,000 per year in salary, bonuses, and benefits. This same police officer will make the city an average of $200,000 per year in traffic ticket fines. That&rsquo;s $125,000 in pure profit!</p> <p>Make no mistake, this is lucrative. Here are just <a href="http://www.trafficticketsecrets.com/speeding-ticket-facts.html">a few stats</a> I found on the kind of money this can bring in (and this is JUST for speeding tickets &mdash; this doesn&rsquo;t include any other type of traffic violation):</p> <ul> <li>Over 100,000 people a day receive a speeding ticket in this country. That equates to over 41 million speeding tickets per year.</li> <li>One in every six drivers will get a speeding ticket this year.</li> <li>The average speeding ticket costs $150.00.</li> <li>41,000,000 x 150.00 = $6,150,000,000! That&rsquo;s right&hellip;over $6 BILLION.</li> <li>The average raise in insurance costs for one speeding ticket over the course of 3 years is $900.00.</li> <li>41,000,000 x 900 = $36,900,000,000 in extra insurance money in 3 years.</li> <li>Over 95% of people who receive a speeding ticket never contest it and just pay the fine. That includes me by the way.</li> <li>The 5% who fight the ticket usually have their case dismissed and/or receive reduced charges that don&rsquo;t get reported on their driving record. (Oh, and at least 50% of the time, the officer who gave you the ticket doesn&rsquo;t show up.)</li> </ul> <h2>What do you drive?</h2> <p>AOL.com recently released a list of the top 10 makes and models of cars that have <a href="http://autos.aol.com/gallery/vehicle-traffic-ticket">increased chances of getting a speeding ticket</a>. If you&rsquo;re on it (and if you drive a Scion, you probably are) then you increase your chances of getting the ticket. Scion drivers tend to be younger, preferring the cheaper, highly-customizable car. And the Hummer &mdash; well, it&rsquo;s hard to miss one of these suckers.</p> <ul> <li>#9 (tied) Toyota Matrix: 2.64 times higher-than-average</li> <li>#9 (tied) Audi A4: 2.64 times higher-than-average</li> <li>#8 Subaru Outback: 2.66 times higher-than-average</li> <li>#7 Scion xA: 2.75 times higher-than-average</li> <li>#6 Mercedes-Benz CLS 63 AMG: 2.76 times higher-than-average</li> <li>#5 Toyota Camry Solara: 3.06 times higher-than-average</li> <li>#4 Mercedes-Benz CLK: 3.97 times higher-than-average</li> <li>#3 Scion xB: 4.03 times higher-than-average</li> <li>#2 Scion tC: 4.60 times higher-than-average</li> <li>#1 Hummer H2 / H3: 4.63 times higher-than-average</li> </ul> <h2>How old are you?</h2> <p>Hold your breath for this staggering stat. <strong>The age groups between 17 and 24 years of age receive the most speeding tickets.</strong> I know, I was shocked, too. I figured it would be retired nuns. But seriously, at this age the lack of road experience, the determination to disregard rules, and the attitude of thinking they will live forever, keeps this age group at the top of the speeding ticket pile.</p> <h2>What sex are you?</h2> <p>This one is all against men. First, men seem more willing to speed. Next, men have a harder time getting out of a ticket than women. I&rsquo;m not saying why, but just ask around and see how many men compared to women have ever been let off with just a warning. And finally, more women than men are smart enough to fight the tickets. So, if you&rsquo;re a guy, you&rsquo;ve got it all working against you.</p> <h2>And finally&hellip;are you a doctor?</h2> <p>Doctors receive the most speeding tickets than any other profession. Maybe this has something to do with emergency calls. Maybe it just goes hand-in-hand with psyche of someone who wants to be a doctor. But, whatever the reason, if you answered yes to that question, your chances of getting a ticket just went up.</p> <p>So, if you&rsquo;re a 23 year old male doctor, living in California, driving a shiny Hummer H2, I&rsquo;d say you may just be better of taking the bus for the next few weeks.</p> <p>Have a safe holiday season everyone.</p> <br /><div id="custom_wisebread_footer"><div id="rss_tagline">This article is from <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/paul-michael">Paul Michael</a> of <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/tis-the-season-to-get-a-speeding-ticket-are-you-next">Wise Bread</a>, an award-winning personal finance and <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/credit-cards">credit card comparison</a> website. Read more great articles from Wise Bread:</div><div class="view view-similarterms view-id-similarterms view-display-id-block_2 view-dom-id-1"> <div class="view-content"> <div class="item-list"> <ul> <li class="views-row views-row-1 views-row-odd views-row-first"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/as-sure-as-night-follows-day-youre-going-to-get-a-traffic-ticket-soon">You&#039;re Going to Get a Traffic Ticket Soon</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-2 views-row-even"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/do-you-know-how-to-use-a-parking-meter-serious-question">Do you know how to use a parking meter? Serious question.</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-3 views-row-odd"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/fight-your-speeding-ticket-save-yourself-some-dough">Fight Your Speeding Ticket, Save Yourself Some Dough</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-4 views-row-even"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/10-things-you-should-do-immediately-after-losing-your-wallet">10 Things You Should Do Immediately After Losing Your Wallet</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-5 views-row-odd views-row-last"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/are-your-new-tires-really-6-year-old-ticking-time-bombs">Are your new tires really 6-year old ticking time-bombs?</a></span> </div> </li> </ul> </div> </div> </div> </div><br/></br> Cars and Transportation Consumer Affairs court driving fines penalty police speeding ticket Tue, 22 Dec 2009 20:00:03 +0000 Paul Michael 4200 at http://www.wisebread.com