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We hope the articles below help you understand your rights as a consumer. You can scroll through the titles, or sort by Practice Area or Topic. You can also use the search feature to locate information by keyword.

Flitter Milz represents people with a variety of problems involving consumer credit and collections. If you have a particular question or believe your consumer rights have been violated, Contact Us for a no cost consultation.

6 Common Questions About Debt

Many people find themselves in debt at some point in their lives, whether it’s from student loans, credit cards, medical expenses, divorce, personal loans, or other types of accounts. Here are some common questions you may have about debt.

Will my debt ever go away?

An unpaid debt never truly goes away. After seven years, it will no longer appear on your credit report, meaning you may see an improvement in your overall credit standing. Negative marks are removed from your report after seven years while accounts that are in good standing remain forever.

Collectors can continue to collect on debts even after the listing has been removed from the credit report. Some states have a statute of limitations on debt collection. If the statute of limitation has passed, the creditor can no longer get a judgment against you. However, an unpaid debt is always owed until it’s paid in full.

What if I can’t afford the minimum payments?

Many people have difficulty making bill payments at some point or another. If you can’t afford the minimum payment on your account, don’t just skip the payment that month. Skipping a payment will make it even more difficult to catch up the following month. Creditors can also report late or missing payments to the credit bureaus, meaning your credit will take a hit.

If you can’t afford to pay your bill, contact your creditor to see what your options are. Some creditors may extend the due date or waive the late fee. If you can’t work something out with the creditor, do your best to make up the missed payment as soon as possible, including any late fees.

Can the creditor repossess my belongings if I’m in debt?

There are limits as to what a creditor can and can’t repossess when you’re behind on your payments. In some loan agreements, property or possessions are listed as collateral in the terms of the loan. This means that the creditor can repossess the property or possession if you don’t meet the loan agreement’s requirements. The most common types of collateral are vehicles in auto loan agreements or homes in mortgage agreements.

If you have credit card debt, the creditor can’t repossess the items that you purchased with credit. However, a creditor can sue you to recover money if there is no collateral listed in the agreement.

Am I responsible for my partner’s debt after we get married?

Whether or not you’re responsible for your spouse’s debt depends on the state you live in. In community property states, both spouses are responsible if the debt occurs during the marriage. In common law states, each individual spouse is generally responsible for his or her own debt.

What happens to debt when someone passes away?

Everything a person owns at the time of his or her death is referred to as their estate. The assets of the estate are used to pay off any debts. If the assets of the estate aren’t enough to cover the debts, a family member may become financially responsible depending on the type of debt.

Seek Legal Help

Flitter Milz is a nationally recognized consumer protection law firm that represents victims of abusive collection tactics.  Contact us for a free legal evaluation to determine whether your consumer rights have been violated.

Do I Still Owe Money After My Car was Repossessed?

If you’re going through financial hardship or a difficult life event, it can be challenging to keep up with your car loan payments. Your vehicle is collateral, or your pledge to a lender that you’ll repay the loan. If you default on the terms of your loan agreement, the lender may choose to repossess your vehicle. They’re not required to contact you before the repossession.

If your car was recently repossessed, you may be wondering what happens next. Do you still owe the payments that you missed on your loan? Do you still owe the full balance after your car is sold?

Continue reading Do I Still Owe Money After My Car was Repossessed?

Don’t Get Burned on Bad Credit

Checking your report regularly is the best way to ensure that your finances are healthy and that your overall credit remains in good standing. Poor credit can negatively affect your life in many ways. You can request your credit report by mail or online at

Consequences of Poor Credit

1. Higher Interest Rates

Individuals with lower credit scores and negative listings on their credit report will incur higher interest rates on new lines of credit.

2. Credit Application Denial

Poor credit can also result in loan application denial. Lenders will view you as a high risk borrower and are less likely to approve your application. This could mean you’ll have more difficulty purchasing a home or vehicle.

3. Difficulty Finding a Job

It’s becoming more common for potential employers to check an applicant’s credit before making a final hiring decision. This is especially common for jobs within banking and financial services, government, or jobs that require security clearance. Employment screening reports are also often used for trucking, nursing, food, and retail positions. Employers are required to provide you with report details if you’re denied a position as a result of the report.

4. Rental Application Denial

A lower credit score is likely to make it more difficult to rent an apartment. Landlords want to see that you can make payments on time. Poor credit can be a red flag that makes them less likely to rent to you.

5. Higher Utility Bills

A person with lower credit may experience higher utility bills than someone whose credit is in good standing. It can also make it more difficult to negotiate a cell phone contract, or result in a more expensive contract.

6. Debt Collection Contact

Negative credit listings are typically the result of late payments or accounts in default. When someone doesn’t make payments for 60 to 90 days, the account may be sent to a debt collector. Debt collection contact can be overwhelming and intimidating and can add stress to your financial situation.

Seek Legal Help

Flitter Milz is a nationally recognized consumer protection law firm that represents victims with credit reporting privacy and accuracy problems. Contact Us for a free legal evaluation of credit report errors.


Tips for Older Americans in Debt

After retirement, increasing amounts of debt can make it more difficult for older Americans to make payments on time. When a lapse in payment occurs, these accounts are often sent to collections and the borrower starts to receive contact from debt collectors.

If you or someone you know is receiving contact from a debt collector, take the following steps.

Ask the Collector to Validate the Debt

If you don’t recognize the debt or it seems inaccurate, ask the collector to provide you with a validation of the debt. Past due accounts are often sold to debt buyers making it difficult to determine the original creditor. By writing to the collector, you can request the name of the original creditor and an itemized calculation of the balance claimed, including principal, interest, late fees, etc.

Dispute Inaccurate Information

If you want to dispute the debt, you have 30 days after the debt collector’s initial contact to do so. Write to the collector and provide any documentation that supports your dispute. Request that the collector respond to your dispute in writing.

Stop Harassing Calls

Under the Fair Debt Collection Practices Act (FDCPA), debt collectors can’t threaten, harass, or abuse you in the process of collecting a debt. They can’t give you false or misleading information about the debt or place personal information on, or visible through, an envelope.

If you feel that you’re being harasses, you can write to the collector and request they stop contacting you.  The collector must stop contact with you. However, it does not make the debt go away. The collection will likely be assigned to a new agency or law firm collector.

Be sure to keep a log of collection calls noting the date, time of day, name of collector & agency, Caller ID and details of the conversation or phone message.

Seek Free Legal Help

Flitter Milz is a nationally recognized consumer protection law firm that represents victims of abusive collection tactics.  Contact Us for a free legal consultation to determine whether your consumer rights have been violated.


How a Judgment Affects Your Credit

Many people know that unfortunate circumstances in life, such as divorce, health issues, job loss or death, can result in financial hardship.  All of a sudden, accounts go unpaid, collectors call, negative listings appear on credit reports, and sometimes, lawsuits are filed.

You are a defendant in a lawsuit
Whether the default was for a credit card, auto loan, a medical bill or another personal obligation, if you were sued DO NOT IGNORE THE LAWSUIT.  After receiving a summons, as the defendant, you must inform the court of your intent to defend.  Whether you seek legal representation from an attorney or intend to represent yourself  “pro se“, you must attend the court hearing.

Default Judgment
When you fail to appear in court on the hearing date to defend the lawsuit, a default judgment will be entered against you.  This means that the judge ruled against you in non-criminal court.  You will be required to pay the damages or judgment amount.

Judgments are public court records, which means anyone has access to view the court filings.  Credit bureaus commonly obtain these records from the courthouse and list judgments on the consumer’s credit file.  Although judgments can only be listed on credit reports for 7 1/2 years from the filing date, after that time period, judgments could be re-filed, or revived, before it expires, causing a re-reporting by the bureaus for another 7 1/2 years. This varies from state to state.

Do not Ignore a Judgment
If there’s a judgment entered against you, you must address it. Even if it’s a mistake and the debt doesn’t belong to you, you will need to take action to get it resolved to avoid negative consequences on your credit report.  Judgments allow for the plaintiff to take steps, such as garnish bank accounts, place liens on property,  and in some states, garnish wages.

You have rights against the debt collector
When a creditor assigns the collection of a debt to a third party collector, the Fair Debt Collection Practices Act (FDCPA) , offers protections from a collector’s abusive collection tactics.  Whether the consumer owes the debt or not, the collector must follow the law.

Seek Legal Help

Flitter Milz is a consumer protection law firm that represents consumers against debt collectors.   Contact Us if you have received collection calls or letters.  You have rights against the collector and may be able to bring a lawsuit against the collection agency or collection law firm for violation of your consumer rights. There is no cost to you for the legal review.

How to Tell if Debt Collection by the IRS is Legitimate

You may have heard that the IRS has hired four private debt collection agencies to collect unpaid income tax.  These agencies are CBE Group, ConServe, Performant and Pioneer Credit Recovery. This means that consumers may begin receiving collection contact from these agencies.  To tell the difference between a scam and legitimate collection contact on behalf of the IRS, take note of the following key points:

You’ll only be contacted if you have unpaid income tax debt

If you’re contacted out of the blue by someone claiming to be affiliated with the IRS, but know you’ve never been contacted about unpaid taxes before, it’s not legitimate. These firms will be focusing on individuals with unpaid taxes that go back several years. Consumers will have heard from the IRS multiple times already.

You’ll receive a notice in the mail first

The firms acting on behalf of the IRS won’t begin with phone contact. You should receive a letter from both the IRS and the debt collection firm prior to being contacted by phone.

They’ll only ask you to send payments directly to the IRS

Anyone who asks you to remit payment anywhere other than directly to the IRS is illegitimate. Never provide personal financial information like a credit or debit card number over the phone.

They still have to follow the Fair Debt Collection Practices Act

Working with the IRS does not mean the firms are exempt from complying with the Fair Debt Collection Practices Act (FDCPA). Among other regulations, debt collectors are not permitted to:

  • Threaten or harass you
  • Discuss your debt with anyone other than you
  • Tell you incorrect information about the debt
  • Contact you after 9pm or before 8am, unless you request that they do so

Questions about Debt Collection?

Flitter Milz is a nationally recognized consumer protection law firm that represents victims of abusive debt collection tactics.  Contact Us for a free legal evaluation.

How Increased Interest Rates Will Affect You

What does it mean when the Federal Reserve increases interest rates and how will it affect your overall financial well-being?

Rate increases by the Federal Reserve may impact auto loans, mortgages, savings accounts, credit cards and refinanced loans. Unfortunately, if you carry a balance on that credit, you’ll most likely see your monthly payments increase. Paying off your credit balance with each statement will not only help you avoid an increase in monthly payment amounts, it will also help to improve your overall credit score.

If you can’t afford your monthly payments and your account goes into default, it may be sent to a third party debt collector. Debt collectors must follow specific guidelines when they contact you about your debt. The Fair Debt Collection Practices Act  is the federal law that outlines violations to a consumer’s rights by abusive debt collectors. You may request the collector provide validation of the debt and a detailed itemization of the amount claimed.

Negotiate a Payment Plan

You may also be able to negotiate a payment plan with the collector. Charges like interest and late fees could be removed from the balance when negotiated. If the collector is willing to agree to a payment plan, be sure to get the agreement in writing.  This letter should detail payment terms including the monthly payment amount, payment due date, total of payments and total balance owed.  Be sure to make your payments as agreed.

Settled Debt and Tax Implications

If you settle a debt consisting of $600 or more in principal — the actual loan amount, not interest or fees — for less than the full balance owed, there could be income tax consequences.  If you have questions concerning tax on a settled debt, be sure to seek advice of an accountant or tax advisor.

Seek Legal Help

Flitter Milz is a nationally recognized consumer protection law firm that represents victims of abusive debt collection tactics.  Contact Us for a free evaluation of collection letters and phone calls that you have received.  Whether or not you owe the debt, the collector must follow the law.

Why You Shouldn’t Co-sign a Loan

When friends or relatives can’t secure a loan on their own, they may ask you to help by co-signing. A co-signer is often required for someone to secure a loan if they have poor credit history, or a lack of credit history.

Deciding whether or not to co-sign on someone else’s loan is a personal decision. However, there are some red flags to be aware of, and it’s important to understand that co-signing carries significant risk without much reward. Here are five signs to look for if someone asks you to co-sign a loan.

1) The person in need of a co-signer has a history of late payments

Individuals often need a co-signer when their own credit has too many negative marks to secure the credit on their own. Generally, this means that they have had difficulty making payments on time in the past and their credit has taken a hit as a result.

If you know that the person making the request has recently struggled with timely bill payments, it may not be a good idea to co-sign. If payments are missed, you’ll be liable to repay missed payments immediately and risk having to pay the full loan balance if the co-borrower defaults.

2) You anticipate needing a loan of your own in the upcoming months

Co-signing also affects your debt-to-income ratio. Even though you’re not the primary borrower, the loan will appear on your credit report. You’re liable for the payment of this loan, so it could affect your ability to secure a loan of your own. Before you co-sign, consider your current financial situation and whether or not you’ll need your credit for your own purposes.

3) You don’t have backup savings in case anything goes wrong

If the primary borrower misses any payments, you’re liable for those payments as the co-signer. Co-signers need to monitor the status of the loan and make sure all payments are made on time. They should also have backup funds in case the primary borrower lapses in payments.

4) You’re worried about your own credit

If you have concerns about how co-signing will affect your own credit, it’s probably not a good idea. If the primary borrower defaults, this could harm your credit, and it can be difficult to rebuild.

5) Your instincts are telling you not to do it

Plain and simple: if you have a bad feeling about it, don’t co-sign. It’s likely not worth the worry and risk, especially if the primary borrower has a troubled credit history.

Seek Legal Advice

Flitter Milz is a consumer protection law firm that pursues matters against lenders, debt collectors and the credit bureaus.  If you have co-signed a loan and the primary borrower has defaulted, it’s possible that a repossession has occurred, collectors are contacting you, or your credit has been affected.  Contact Us for a no cost consultation to discuss whether your consumer rights have been violated.

Are You Haunted by a Repossession on Your Credit Report?

Just when you think you’re getting your finances in order and want to apply for a new line of credit, a vehicle repossession from long ago can come back to bite you. What happens after your vehicle is repossessed, and how does it affect your credit report and credit score moving forward?

What happens after the sale of your car?

1) Collection

Once the lender sells a repossessed vehicle, you’ll receive a letter that includes the vehicle’s sale price and any remaining balance owed on the loan. This letter is called a deficiency notice.

The lender may proceed with collection of the deficient balance through their collection department. However, the lender will often assign the collection of any deficient balance to a debt collector, and the borrower will begin to receive calls and/or letters from them.

Whether you owe the deficient balance or not, collectors must follow the Fair Debt Collection Practices Act when they contact you about debt. Borrowers have rights, whether the balance is owed or not.

2) Lawsuit

After a period of time, the lender may choose to file a lawsuit against the borrower for the deficient balance. If the lawsuit is ignored by the consumer, a default judgment will be entered against the consumer.

Judgments can be dangerous! Bank accounts can be attached. Wages can be garnished. Property can be seized. Judgments can be listed on the consumer’s credit reports and impact the ability to be approved for new credit.

If you have been sued, contact a qualified consumer protection attorney to discuss your rights.

3) Credit Reporting

Vehicle repossessions negatively affect your credit report and lower your credit score. They can remain on your report for seven and a half years after the original delinquency date. The negative reporting could impact existing accounts by increasing interest rates or decreasing credit limits. The repossession could also affect your ability to be approved for new credit, whether you’re applying for a new credit card, car loan, or mortgage.

Negative credit information may also impact your ability to be promoted or hired for a new job or get approved as a tenant for an apartment. The Fair Credit Reporting Act offers consumer protection for the accuracy, fairness, and privacy of reported information. You can get a FREE credit report every twelve months from Transunion, Experian, and Equifax.

Steps to take

If you are haunted by negative reporting from a vehicle repossession, take the following steps:

  • Gather your car loan and repossession documents
  • Gather all correspondence that the lender sent AFTER the repossession
  • Gather all collection letters received for collection of a deficient balance
  • Obtain current credit reports from Transunion, Experian, and Equifax
  • Gather supporting documents such as:
  • Loan Denial Letters
  • Account statements showing interest rate increases
  • Account correspondence stating credit limit reduction

Seek Legal Advice

Flitter Milz is a consumer protection law firm that pursues matters against the credit bureaus for inaccurately reporting information.  Contact Us for a FREE case review.  We will evaluate whether your rights have been violated by the lender, debt collector or credit bureau.

What to Do If You’re Sued for a Car Loan Deficiency

Vehicle repossessions are worrisome and stressful enough, but what happens when the lender files a lawsuit against you after the repossession? Learn about what a deficiency lawsuit is, and what you should do if you’re being sued.

Auto Loan Deficiencies

When auto loan lenders repossess a car, truck, motorcycle, boat, or other vehicle, they sometimes sue the borrower for the deficiency. The vehicle is considered collateral according to the loan agreement, but the sale price after repossession often does not meet the total amount owed on the loan. The deficiency is the amount leftover after the lender has sold or auctioned your vehicle.

For example, let’s say you still owe $20,000 on your auto loan and the lender sells or auctions the vehicle for $15,000. The deficiency amount that you are still required to pay would be $5,000.

The Fair Debt Collection Practices Act

A qualified consumer rights attorney can evaluate all collection contact for compliance with the Fair Debt Collection Practices Act.  If the collector’s tactics have violated the law, you can sue the collector, even though the deficient balance may be owed.


Deficiency Lawsuits

A qualified consumer rights attorney can evaluate all collection contact for compliance with

After trying to collect, the lender may initiate a lawsuit to recover the deficiency amount. If you have received a summons for a car loan deficiency, do not ignore it.

You still have an obligation to the lender for the deficient balance, even if you don’t have the vehicle. If you disregard a summons to appear in court, the case will proceed without you and a default judgment could be entered against you for the balance of the debt.

Judgments are dangerous. Once the lender gets a deficiency judgment, wages or bank accounts could be garnished, or liens could be placed on personal property.

Seek Legal Help

Contact Flitter Milz, a consumer rights law firm, to discuss your rights. You may be able to negotiate a settlement or payment plan with the lender.

Remember, repossessions and judgments carry negative weight on your credit report. Your credit score could drop, affecting your ability to obtain a new car loan or any new credit. As well it could impact your existing credit by lowering the amount of available credit or increasing the interest rate.