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Pittsburgh Legal Issues Blog

The deflation of a once prominent manufacturer

Takata, a Japanese equipment manufacturer struggling since a scandal erupted nearly a decade ago over airbag ruptures, announced that it would file for bankruptcy. The defects were tied to 11 deaths and more than 180 injuries in the United States alone.

The recall itself stumbled out of the gate was poorly implemented and only created confusion and frustration for vehicle owners.

Is crowdfunding a valid option to bankruptcy?

Not all money problems that lead to bankruptcies are a result of financial irresponsibility. In far too many cases, unexpected setbacks like divorce or job loss create crisis. However, one catastrophe seems to create the most serious financial shortfalls.

Health problems. Studies show that an estimated 62 percent of individual bankruptcy filings in the United States were the result of medical costs.

Stop creditor harassment with an automatic stay

If you're like most Pennsylvania residents suffering from debt problems, you're probably also getting harassed by creditors. This can create a great deal of psychological turmoil in your life, and in the lives of your loved ones.

Creditor harassment seems to know no bounds. Once your credit card company sells your debt to a collection agency, for example, the agents of the company will call your work, your family members and even hunt down your cellphone number. Try to change your numbers and obscure your contact details, and somehow -- as if by magic -- they still manage to find you.

A Supreme Court ruling distinguishes creditors and collectors

Debt collection is a significant moneymaker. A third of the industry’s $11.4 billion-dollar revenue comes from companies that buy delinquent debt from original lenders and take on the collection duties.

Since the enactment of Fair Debt Collection Practices Act (FDCPA) in 1977, collectors were forbidden to use abusive, unfair or deceptive practices. While the business of collections has evolved, it is also an industry that continues to top complaints to state attorneys generals and the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau.

The war between brick-and-mortar and mouse-and-keyboard

As online shopping grows in prominence, retail stores are trying to find ways to preserve both their brick and their mortar. They face and increasingly difficult, if not impossible task of replicating the convenience of purchasing pretty much anything without a customer having to leave their house.

Retail outlets are trying to offer the next best thing to buying necessities in your pajamas. Purchases on their websites can be picked up at conveniently located retail shops.. Whether the customer wants one item or several, store employees can do the shopping for them and have bags full of merchandise waiting for them.

Medical debts: What you owe may not be what you owe

Most debt is created by consumers buying goods and services up front. One swipe of a credit card is all it takes to make a purchase.

Medical costs are the exception to that rule. Care and treatment occur before a bill is paid, let alone sent to the patient. In addition, consumers lack knowledge of the costs prior to, during and following treatment from a doctor.

Credit card crash: 3 tips for getting out of credit debt

Credit card debt piles up quickly. Perhaps you lost your job or needed to purchase a new furniture set and now don't have the hours earned enough to pay the debt. Maybe you put medical bills on your credit cards but are in over your head in debt thanks to high interest rates.

Whatever the reason is for your debts, there is a way forward. These three tips can help you eliminate your credit card debt, so you can become financially stable once again.

A Supreme Court win for debt collectors

In a decision that many see as a setback for consumers and their advocates, The US Supreme Court ruled that debt collection companies could not be sued for trying to recover years-old credit card debt from people who filed for bankruptcy.

Consumer groups who opposed the 5-3 ruling claim that debt collectors unfairly mislead people into repaying old debts when the law does not require them to.

Bankruptcy is a common but unexpected side effect of cancer

Getting diagnosed with cancer is a frightening experience. No matter your age, job, or financial situation, it's never an easy thing to cope with. For those with good medical insurance, the financial implications of cancer won't seem obvious at first.

However, given how the body reacts to chemotherapy and radiation treatments, you may end up missing a lot of work or even quitting your job. Each round of treatment can cost hundreds or thousands of dollars, which can quickly exceed your maximum coverage. There's also the potential for surgeries, which force you to miss work and are also expensive.

21st century outfoxing

In a high-tech world, debt collectors continue to evolve. Their focus is singular: increase payments through any means necessary. The latest “means?” Cutting-edge technology.

The “good ol’ days” of sending letters and ringing phones are quickly being replaced by strategies that not only save money, but also allow them to get around the Fair Debt Collection Practices Act (FDCPA).

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