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Russians were explained how to distinguish conscientious lawyers from scammers

The authorities have begun a fight against “well-wishers” who “help” write off debts

Measures to protect Russians from the so-called “debtor debtors” – lawyers, consultants and entire fraudulent companies that offer “ solve problems with debts forever,” the Central Bank of the Russian Federation and the Prosecutor General’s Office began discussing. The departments propose to amend the Law “On Advertising” to prohibit advertising of such services on the Internet. Banks support the regulator's initiative.

The authorities have begun to fight against the Photo: unsplash.com

Mikhail V., a 34-year-old electrician from Taganrog, turned to lawyers who promised to write off debts to solve problems with microloans. His story is classic: he applied to microfinance organizations several times for money “before payday”, at first he returned everything on time, and then the delays began. First, I couldn’t repay the funds on time because I got into an accident and needed to repair the car, then I took out a loan from another place to pay off the first one, then a third one to pay off the second, and now I found myself, as he himself admits, “heavily in debt.” Very soon calls began from collectors demanding repayment of the debt. Mikhail began looking for a solution to the problem and then on one of the social networks he came across an advertisement for “professional lawyers with many years of experience” who would help “solve the problem with debts.” When he came to a meeting with one of these “experienced lawyers,” he was offered, for “a small fee, only some 15 thousand rubles,” to write a professional appeal to the company where he had a loan with a requirement to make a “recalculation” and “to write off debts.” The lawyer even promised him to cancel the subsequent “accrual of interest” and even return part of the amount he had already paid. In response to the appeal submitted with such pomp, the creditor company almost immediately responded with a refusal. On the advice of the same lawyer, the man even filed a complaint with the Central Bank. There they studied it carefully, as well as the agreement concluded with the MFO, and also recognized it as unfounded, indicating that Mikhail had no right to recalculate or return the money. As a result, after a month and a half of such “submissions,” our hero was still left with debts, only he also lost his hard-earned 15 thousand rubles, which he used to pay for the work of “lawyers with extensive experience.” Now the Taganrozh resident is calling on other debtors to learn from his experience and not to contact any “debtor debtors.”

“We will solve the problems with your loans”, “We will get rid of debts forever” – such announcements can often be found on forums and social networks . However, such advertising may soon become illegal. The Central Bank of the Russian Federation and the Prosecutor General's Office are seriously discussing amendments to the law “On Advertising” with the aim of introducing such a ban.

According to the collection agency ABK, last year “debtor debtors” provided services worth about 50 billion rubles, with an average bill ranging from 15 thousand to 300 thousand rubles per procedure. As noted by Associate Professor of the Department of State and Municipal Finance of the Russian Economic University. Plekhanov Mary Valishvili, the services of “disposal agents” are most often divided into two categories. Firstly, such lawyers or companies offer to carry out bankruptcy proceedings. Secondly, they are also ready to represent the interests of the debtor in negotiations with creditors. For example, take upon yourself the collection of documents and their provision to the bank for possible loan restructuring or provision of credit holidays. However, a citizen can do all this independently without involving additional persons and unnecessary expenses.

According to Dmitry Yanin, Chairman of the Board of the International Confederation of Consumer Societies (ConFOP), the market for legal services of so-called “debtor debtors” arose due to the fact that for many years almost no steps were taken to increase the availability of legal bankruptcy for individuals. However, not all “debtor debtors” are unscrupulous. “If they offer to withdraw property, write a letter to the prosecutor’s office, or an appeal to the president, then this is a sign of fraud,” the expert emphasized. “If some law firm uses the term “debt write-off” in its advertising and interacts with an arbitration manager (although the borrower himself can find an arbitration manager who will help him go through the bankruptcy procedure), then this is not fraud.”< /p>

In addition to the legal illiteracy of debtors, people’s psychology also contributes to the popularity of debtor services. “The problem is that rarely does anyone want to hear the truth: there is no mechanism to get away with it,” says Polina Gusyatnikova, senior managing partner of the law firm PG Partners. “It is impossible to simply write off the debts of any citizen under any circumstances.”

The third feature of the situation with “debtors” is also related to the diversity of legal practice. “Some debtors can really be helped through bankruptcy procedures, others – with support in the courts, and there is no fraud here,” explains Senior Vice President of Fontvielle Investment Company Anastasia Khrustaleva. Hence the advice: in case of a critical situation with debts, you need to consult with competent lawyers. It is better to get several consultations. Here we can draw an analogy with doctors: to make a correct diagnosis, it is better to get several opinions, the expert advised.

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