CONSUMER LAW / DEBT COLLECTION
Southwest Virginia Legal Aid often partners with other legal aid organizations in order to expand access to legal assistance for the people of our region. The link below is designed to give you some guidance with regard to bankruptcy. Keep in mind that your situation may be unique and there may be other factors regarding your situation that are best discussed with an attorney.
Two partners that we collaborate with are the Virginia Poverty Law Center (VPLC) and Central Virginia Legal Aid Society (CVLAS). These organizations have created a guided online interview to help you decide whether you should contact an attorney about filing bankruptcy. After answering a series of questions about your situation, you will receive a worksheet recommending whether you should file bankruptcy now, and if so, why or why not. The worksheet also will explain which type of personal bankruptcy you could be eligible to file, Chapter 7 or Chapter 13. And if it recommends you should not file bankruptcy now, it will explain when you may want to consider filing bankruptcy if your situation changes. If you are eligible for civil legal aid based on your answers, the report will suggest a civil legal aid program that may be able to assist you with your bankruptcy.
After completing this online interview, you may still have questions about your situation and whether or not bankruptcy is the correct course of action for you. If so, please contact us at 1-888-201-2772 or follow the instructions on this website in order to fill out an online application.
Legal Aid does not file a bankruptcy unless doing so will stop or prevent the foreclosure of a house, stop or prevent the repossession of a mobile home or vehicle, stop or prevent the garnishment of wages or bank accounts, or allow the person who is filing to regain their Virginia drivers license. We will not file a bankruptcy just because you are being harassed by creditors.
There are a few things that you can do on your own that will relieve some of the debt collection against you and help you make an informed decision about filing bankruptcy: Bankruptcy - click on this link to read legal information about the different types of Bankruptcy.
You can stop collection agencies from harassing you by phone or by mail. The federal Fair Debt Collection Practices Act prohibits collection agencies from contacting you once you request them, in writing, to stop. Use this Sample Debt Collection Letter to create a letter (either handwritten or typed) and mail one of those letters to each of the collection agencies that are contacting you.
Request a copy of your Credit Report. You can get your credit report free only once per year by visiting this website: Annual Credit Report or by printing and completing this form: Annual Credit Report Request.
Once you have your credit report, you should review it closely to be sure that each entry is correct. If you are ready to file for a bankruptcy, the credit report can help you with information you will need to file your bankruptcy.
My Rights as a Debtor - click on this link to read legal information about Debt Collection.
OTHER CONSUMER ISSUES
Legal Aid can advise and perhaps represent you not only with debt-related issues, but with warranties, home solicitation sales, used car purchases, payday loans, and other types of consumer problems.