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Laws protecting consumers vary by state

Consumers struggling through the continued challenging economy know the fear of losing valuable possessions as well as the stress of being unable to pay their bills. Depending upon the situation, a creditor can garnish your wages or take your car, home or other belongings. The need to stop repossession, garnishment and more is shared among many Oregon residents.

A recent news article outlines some details from a report released by the National Consumer Law Center that indicates a startling variation in different states’ ability to protect consumers’ belongings in the face of debt collectors. Known as exemption laws, each state as well as the District of Columbia does offer some protection against these actions but they are severely outdated in most cases. Many states, for example, allow people to keep two cows and an ox yet have no provisions for an automobile in basic working condition.

The difference in laws between states is dramatic. For example, the District of Columbia protects homes from being taken by creditors while the state of Washington allows creditors to have access to up to 25 percent of a person’s wages. The article did not specify the laws in Oregon but no state was given a grade higher than a B- for its ability to protect consumers struggling to make ends meet.

Bankruptcy can often be a good option for consumers in hard monetary situations. If you are facing financial challenges, you may wish to consult with an experience attorney to see what your rights in Oregon are and if bankruptcy is the best option for you.

Source: The Middletown Press News, “In some states, debt collectors can legally take your home, car and cash,” Danielle Douglas, October 10, 2013

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