Choosing among Tampa bankruptcy attorneys:
Be aware there are many companies advertising, both for personal injury and now Tampa bankruptcy lawyers, which are only referral services. Almost all of these have minimal or no qualification requirements for the consumer bankruptcy attorneys, but simply charge the attorneys to refer cases to them.
There are also national law firms that have recently expanded to the Tampa Bay area and hired local attorneys with limited experience who are filing huge numbers of Chapter 7 bankruptcy cases and Chapter 13 bankruptcy cases. Be sure to determine the qualifications of the attorney actually representing you in the bankruptcy court before you have any attorney represent you.
Beware of scam artists pretending to assist in avoiding foreclosure:
A report out from the National Consumer Law Center warns of scam artists targeting homeowners in foreclosure. Scams may involve someone charging fees for trying to work with the mortgage company to avoid foreclosure, and never carrying through; or purchasing the home from the owner and claiming to allow the owner to live there with reduced rent (which does not stop the foreclosure and the owner is kicked out anyway); or signing documents purporting to refinance the house that actually transfers ownership to the scam artist.
Firm Price Quote Warning:
Beware of attorneys quoting a ‘firm’ price on the phone then giving different prices at the appointments. According to a recent report, the median attorney fee charged for a Chapter 7 case is $1,500. Despite the fact that I have been board certified since 1993, longer than most of these attorney have been practicing, I try to keep our standard fee around here if there are not unusual problems, but the fee can be higher or lower depending on the potential problems and how quicking the case has to be filed, and whether there would be more problems in waiting. The fee can be paid over time, but we need it before the case can be filed. In the meantime clients can refer creditors to our office. I always try to work with the client’s to find something that works for them. I cannot give firm prices without an appointment as I take much longer to go over the situation and explain the options to clients than most other attorneys.
No Money Down Scam Warning:
No money down scam! Don’t be scammed by your own attorney. A number of bankruptcy firms are now advertising no money down Chapter 7 or 13 cases. Often, later in the website the fine print, or print that is designed to be nearly impossible to read, will say all fees must be paid prior to filing. What fees if there is no money down? Either they are trying to mislead you before you hire them, or they are requiring more money, often much more than we charge for a whole case, to be paid after the case is filed. Some even sell this debt to debt collectors as soon as the case is filed. Do you really want to be harassed for debts again as soon as the case is over?
In almost all cases you only need to pay $100 to hire us, then can refer most creditors to our office, giving you time to pay a reasonable fee for the bankruptcy over time. For Chapter 13 cases, we can often take our entire fee through the payments to the bankruptcy trustee. Don’t fall for scams by less than honest attorneys, hire someone who you can trust to look out for your best interests.