Author Archives: James Michel, Consumer Defense Lawyer

Fighting back on behalf of borrowers needing help with Debt Collectors, Student Loan Repayment and Forgiveness Plans, and all other Debt Relief, including Chapter 7 and Chapter 13 Bankruptcy.

The Taxman Cometh, Even in Debt Resolution

      The old adage about the certainty of taxation is also true in debt relief. When a creditor cancels a debt, the Internal Revenue Service considers that to be taxable income. It’s also called “debt forgiveness income.” As discussed in a previous post on Debt Settlement, if you agree to settle a debt…

Yes, It IS Possible to Undo a Default Judgment!

The caller on the other end of the line had a question: “Can you do anything about a default judgment?” “Of course you can,” I responded. “It’s called a motion to vacate or set aside a default judgment, and I file them all the time.” The caller explained that he had just spoken to two…

Should You Settle with a Debt Buyer?

Let’s say you’ve just been served with a debt collection lawsuit. The company suing you is a debt buyer, a company who claims it purchased the right to enforce a debt you ran up on a credit card or other credit account. You’re being sued for about $7500. But you’ve read on the Internet or…

Why You Should Get Student Loans Out of Default

A person once asked me why he should get his student loans out of default. He could live with the amount being garnished from his paycheck, and he figured he had to pay the loans anyway. The problem is he wasn’t only paying the loan. By allowing the collection agency to collect while in default,…

Fresh Start in the New Year

New Year’s Resolutions? Even with the best intentions, often the first thing we find are the same old obstacles. What’s standing in your way before you can take the next step? Have you taken a moment to see what making a Fresh Start might mean? Maybe it’s scrapping what hasn’t worked and focusing on what…

A Time to Pause and Reflect

          Winter Solstice has come and gone. December 21 was the shortest day of the year for those of us living north of the equator. We will now get a little more sunlight each day, until Summer Solstice comes next June. It’s also the time of year for Winter Holidays, of…

Collection Defense in the San Francisco Bay Area

You may be one of the people finding out that a debt collection lawsuit has been filed against you in California Superior Court. This may be an old debt, lately purchased from the original creditor, and the debt buyer may think there is a chance to collect against you. Do not ignore lawsuits! Plaintiffs can…

Stop the Collection Calls

Some folks in the San Francisco Bay Area are surprised to get multiple telephone calls in one day from debt collectors in other parts of the country, including from other time zones. It’s extremely annoying to be harassed with multiple calls, repeatedly having to explain that the debt isn’t yours (mistaken identity or you’re a…

Your Rights in Dealing with Debt Collectors

Whether your debt is student loans, credit cards or medical bills, you have the right to be treated with dignity and respect. Both Federal law and California law regulate how debt collectors may deal with you in trying to collect consumer debt. Even if you owe a debt and are unable to pay it, you…

Are My Student Loans Private or Federally-Guaranteed?

Many people who call us have questions about their student loans and repayment programs but they don’t yet know which of their loans are private bank loans and which are federally guaranteed. The best way to find out is to go to the National Student Loan Data System website (NSLDS) provided by the U.S. Department of…

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