Our most popular blog posts of 2011

As consumer lawyers we like to know what kinds of issues are on our clients’ minds. So we took a look at our blog to see which posts got the most action. Below we run down the top five of 2011.

Can a second mortgage company sue after foreclosure? This was (by far) our most visited post of 2011. In the post we describe how second mortgage companies often wait a couple of years after foreclosure before they go after the homeowner for a deficiency judgment. They probably figure that there’s no point in trying to collect money from people who are in such dire straits. So it was no surprise, since the foreclosure crisis peaked around 2008-2009, that people were dealing with second mortgage companies two years later.

Can I run up my credit cards before filing bankruptcy? This was a popular question on the blog and in the office. And I know people don’t really mean that they want to go on spending sprees and then wipe the debt out in bankruptcy. The questions were more from people who had been living off their credit cards before coming to see us, and wanted to know whether they’d be cut off from credit right away. We advised clients to wean themselves off plastic, and to definitely avoid buying luxury goods and services before filing bankruptcy.

A debt collector is taking my paycheck–what do I do? Garnishment was a killer in 2011. You wanted to know how to get your money back from debt collectors who had taken money out of your paycheck or bank account. We told you about the garnishment exemptions. We told you about the new rule that protects federal benefits. And then we reminded you that if you file bankruptcy, any funds taken from you within the 90 days before filing had to be returned.

How much will my Chapter 13 payments be? One of our biggest trends in 2011 was a big uptick in Chapter 13 filers. A lot were people wh0 had used up every other option, and wanted to use Chapter 13 to catch up on mortgage payments. Others had heard about the magic of lien stripping and wanted to know if we could wipe out their second mortgage (for the most part, we could). But a big part of deciding whether to file Chapter 13 is to know whether the payments would be affordable. We spoke. You clicked.

The payday loan scam Finally, we told you about debt collectors who use nasty practices to collect payday loans that you probably don’t owe. We reminded you never to pay a debt collector without having the deal in writing. We also reminded you that debt collectors (even the ones collecting fake debts) need to follow the Fair Debt Collection Practices Act, and gave you some tips for stopping debt harassment.

The best part was when clients told us that they used our blog to figure out how to get out of a jam. What other topics should we be writing about in 2012? Leave your ideas in the comments.