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LEGAL TERMS

401(K) PLAN

A deferred compensation savings program in which employees invest part of their wages, sometimes along with employer contributions, to save on taxes. No income ... (more...)
A deferred compensation savings program in which employees invest part of their wages, sometimes along with employer contributions, to save on taxes. No income taxes on the amount invested and any earnings are due until the employee withdraws money from the fund.

SECURED DEBT

A debt on which a creditor has a lien. The creditor can institute a foreclosure or repossession to take the property identified by the lien, called the collater... (more...)
A debt on which a creditor has a lien. The creditor can institute a foreclosure or repossession to take the property identified by the lien, called the collateral, to satisfy the debt if you default. Compare unsecured debt.

COLLECTION AGENCY

A company hired by a creditor to collect a debt that it is owed. Creditors typically hire a collection agency only after they have made efforts to collect the d... (more...)
A company hired by a creditor to collect a debt that it is owed. Creditors typically hire a collection agency only after they have made efforts to collect the debt themselves, typically through letters (called 'dunning' letters) and telephone calls. Collection agencies are regulated by the federal Fair Debt Collection Practices Act. Unfortunately, too many collectors ignore this law.

COLLATERAL

Property that guarantees payment of a secured debt.

DISPOSABLE INCOME

The difference between a debtor's current monthly income and allowable expenses. This is the amount that the new bankruptcy law deems available to pay into a Ch... (more...)
The difference between a debtor's current monthly income and allowable expenses. This is the amount that the new bankruptcy law deems available to pay into a Chapter 13 plan.

PREFERENCE

A payment made by a debtor to a creditor within a defined period prior to filing for bankruptcy -- within three months for arms-length creditors (regular commer... (more...)
A payment made by a debtor to a creditor within a defined period prior to filing for bankruptcy -- within three months for arms-length creditors (regular commercial creditors) and within one year for insider creditors (friends, family members, and business associates). Because a preference gives the creditor who received the payment an edge over other creditors in the bankruptcy case, the trustee can recover the preference (the amount of the payment) and distribute it among all of the creditors.

TRUTH IN LENDING ACT (TILA)

A federal law that requires credit and charge card companies to disclose interest rates and other information about an account. It also requires lenders to disc... (more...)
A federal law that requires credit and charge card companies to disclose interest rates and other information about an account. It also requires lenders to disclose the terms of a loan, including the total amount of the loan, the annual interest rate and the number, amount and due dates of all payments necessary to repay the loan. The TILA requires additional disclosures and places many restrictions on mortgages.

ABUSE

Misuse of the Chapter 7 bankruptcy remedy. This term is typically applied to Chapter 7 bankruptcy filings that should have been filed under Chapter 13, because ... (more...)
Misuse of the Chapter 7 bankruptcy remedy. This term is typically applied to Chapter 7 bankruptcy filings that should have been filed under Chapter 13, because the debtor appears to have enough disposable income to fund a Chapter 13 repayment plan.

CONSUMER CREDIT COUNSELING SERVICE (CCCS)

A national non-profit agency that, at no cost, helps debtors plan budgets and repay their debts. One major criticism of CCCS is that each office is primarily fu... (more...)
A national non-profit agency that, at no cost, helps debtors plan budgets and repay their debts. One major criticism of CCCS is that each office is primarily funded by voluntary donations from the creditors that receive payments from debtors repaying their debts through that office. Despite this criticism, most CCCS counselors provide clients with thorough and neutral advice.

SAMPLE LEGAL CASES

Komarova v. National Credit Acceptance, Inc.

... This lawsuit arises from the efforts of defendant National Credit Acceptance, Inc., to collect a consumer debt from plaintiff Anastasiya Komarova that she did not owe. ... The plaintiffs there, like plaintiff here, were pursued for payment of a credit card debt they did not owe. ...

Dey v. Continental Central Credit

... K. Dey appeals a judgment of dismissal entered after the court sustained without leave to amend the demurrer of Continental Central Credit (Continental) and ... et seq.) Dey contends he stated a cause of action based on a fee defendants charged him to collect a debt he owed a ...

Liceaga v. Debt Recovery Solutions, LLC

... Despite her pleas to the agency that she was a victim of identity theft and had no Sprint account, they appear to have disbelieved her and ultimately reported her "default" to several credit reporting agencies, without advising that the debt was contested, thus harming her credit ...