Hi, my name is Jay Lutzky. I’m an attorney
working in the Bronx and I’ve been working in the New York City area for the past 31
years helping individuals facing financial problems. Some clients have asked, “Can I
avoid bankruptcy by working with debt consolidation agency and a credit repair firm?” Many, many
of these debt consolidation agencies are not regulated, they’re problematic, they’re scams
and should be avoided. As far as a credit repair firm, there is no such thing as repairing
credit. People are misled constantly by these firms. You should look at the New York State
Attorney General’s website to see which one of these companies are being investigated,
and which companies have had actions taken against them. Before you consolidate the debts
and work with an agency, speak to a bankruptcy lawyer. You can consolidate debts in a Chapter
13 bankruptcy and get protection by federal court and federal law. As far as credit repair
repair is concerned, after bankruptcy the creditors have to put a zero balance on all
your debts, if they don’t, you could actually sue the creditors and debt collection firms
under the Fair Credit Reporting Act. And, if they do things improperly, you can sue
them under the Fair Debt Collection Practice Act. There are many protections in the law
and you should consult with an attorney before you speak to non-attorneys trying to seek
quick remedies. Please don’t pay attention to those ads on TV and radio: “Come to us,
we’ll save you money, we’ll consolidate your debts.” Be aware that many of those companies
are not working in your best interest and are just seeking money for themselves and
many, many clients come in after they speak to these companies in worse shape prior than
speaking to them and seeking their assistance. Thank you.