Financial and consumer debt

Dealing with debt can be stressful and overwhelming, but legal remedies are available to help you. Ignoring your debt can make the problem worse. Creditors can sue you if you do not pay your bills. If they win in court, they can try to take your property, including your house and bank account.

In Pennsylvania, creditors can only take your wages for debts that are student loans, child support, taxes, or the result of damage to an apartment or house you rented. You will not be jailed for failing to pay your debts, except for unpaid court ordered child support, spousal support, alimony, and some municipal taxes.

Creditors who call or write you at work are violating federal law. It is also against the law for a creditor to make abusive phone calls; call you more than once a week; call you in the middle of the night or at other odd hours; or threaten you with going to jail.

Bankruptcy is a federal court procedure that wipes out certain debts. You can wipe out credit card debts, utility bills, back rent, or medical bills. You cannot wipe out other debts, such as taxes, criminal fines, student loans or child support. In addition to getting rid of past debt, you can also declare bankruptcy to protect your house or car.

Resources:

Credit Report: For free copies of your credit report, we recommend www.annualcreditreport.com.  They will send you a free copy of each of your three credit reports once a year.

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