I once was asked to give a speech to a group of people who make their living collecting debts. One of the things I did was to go around the room and ask them what they thought made people file for bankruptcy. Most of them felt that people were simply irresponsible. I then spoke to them about what really makes people file for bankruptcy.
Usually, it’s something like a medical problem because of the enormous bills people incur when they have to go to the hospital for an emergency. Also when they have a medical problem, there is usually a loss of income
for some time and they get behind in their bills. Of course, another big reason people file for bankruptcy is the loss of a job. The loss of that income means that they can no longer pay their bills. There are also people that gradually increase their debt load ever more and ever more each year until they get to the point where they simply cannot handle the debt load. And I told them there are a lot of people who when they come to the point of retirement, realize that they’ll never be able to pay their bills, so they file for bankruptcy.
That’s not what really makes people pick up the telephone and call my office for an appointment to talk about bankruptcy. What really makes them pick up the telephone is the harassment that they get from bill collectors. It’s the constant calls morning, noon, and night, from both people and computers that drives them to pick up the phone and call me. I told them that they should have a way of determining when someone was just over the edge, and then simply leave them alone. Without the harassment, people might be able to get their affairs back into order and pay some of their bills. When they are harassed the way these bill collectors harass them, they pick up the phone and call me.
Needless to say, my speech was not well received, but it is the truth. It’s the harassment and the constant telephone calls that make them go to the computer and search the internet for a bankruptcy lawyer. Hopefully, they find my name and give me a call.