MVLS Launches Consumer Hotline

The Consumer Protection Project (CPP) aids Maryland consumers who have been sued by creditors in District Court collection actions, MVLS has recently launched a hotline (443-451-4083) to support Marylanders. CPP volunteer attorneys and MVLS staff will provide brief advice on defending against debt buyers and other consumer lawsuits such as car repossessions and bail bonds.
 
MVLS volunteer attorneys will work with consumers to discuss possible defenses, negotiate settlement agreements with creditors, and help file a Notice of Intention to Defend if appropriate. The hotline can assist with scenarios like: 
 
  • Constant calls from debt collectors
  • Management of large hospital bills
  • Landlord requests to pay for excessive damage, interests, and other fees
  • Victims of identity theft.
  • Received debt collection calls for a debt you did not incur
  • Harassment from debt collectors
  • Co-signed on a car loan and held responsible for the unpaid balance
  • Income garnishment
  • Large amount of credit card debt
  • Unpaid utility bills
  • Bail bonds contracts
  • Signed for someone on an apartment rental or a student loan and unsure if they are making payments.
  • Received a payday loan.
  • Car repossession
  • Questions about a debt
 If you or someone you know, is experiencing any of these issues, please call the MVLS Consumer Protection Project Hotline at 443-451-4083.

MVLS Volunteer Helps Maryland Woman Clear Debts

Darlene* has roots in Maryland, but lived and worked in other states. She was diagnosed with Parkinson’s disease in 2012. In 2014, she moved back to the Eastern Shore to be with family. Darlene’s debts totaled more than $40,000, and included student loans. Darlene’s income from food stamps and Temporary Disability Assistance simply could not stretch enough for her to make payments on debts she incurred while she was still working.

In 2015, she sought help from an attorney who volunteers with MVLS. MVLS provides our volunteers with bankruptcy software, and for all types of cases volunteers receive malpractice insurance, mentorship if desired, client screening, and staff support. The attorney agreed to represent Darlene pro bono if she went through our intake. We referred her back, and he was able to help her discharge all her loans through chapter 7 bankruptcy and successfully helped her get a disability exemption for her student loans.

Darlene needed relief from her financial troubles so she could focus on her health. When MVLS’ low-income clients are able to move past their legal issues, it frees them up to focus on employment, housing, child care and more. Without help from volunteer attorneys, almost all MVLS clients would go unrepresented.