Know your rights

Q. Can I be arrested for not paying my credit card bill? The debt collector said he is sending the police out to my house if I don’t promptly pay.

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Q. I owe a lot of money and can’t seem to ever catch up with my payments. I am constantly harassed by debt collectors. I have been told that even if I file bankruptcy, I will still owe my student loans. Is this true? They are one of my largest debts.

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Q. I just bought a present to give someone for Christmas. The store told me that if she didn’t like it she could exchange it, but that there were no returns. I decided not to buy it because I was afraid she wouldn’t like it and it was a small store without a lot of selection. Is it legal for a store to not allow you to return a gift and get a refund?

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Q. I signed a lease with my friend that does not end until February. She is now getting married and wants to move out and have her name removed from the lease. Even though my credit is good and I can afford the rent, the landlord will not remove her name. What can we do to get her name off the lease? She is having trouble renting another apartment.

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Q. I defaulted on a retail jewelry contract in Florida in 2003 for a total of $1,721. I am suddenly receiving phone calls from a debt collector threatening to have me served court papers to sue me. He says the debt now is just under $6,000 with interest. He told me unless I make arrangements immediately, I will also owe lawyer’s fees and court costs when they sue me. He said if I pay $500 right away, he would make it all go away. This sounds like a scam to me. Can they sue me 12 years later?

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Q. Three weeks ago, I was fired from my job. My employer still has not given me my last paycheck. He says I will get it in about a month. Help.

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Q. I received an item in the mail that I did not order. I called the company and they told me I either had to return it at my expense or pay for it if I kept it. It doesn’t seem fair that a company can force me to spend money to return something I don’t want and did not order.

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Q. Am I entitled to a paid leave when I have a child? My employer has told me any leave will be without pay.

A. Under the Family and Medical Leave Act, you may be entitled to up to 12 weeks leave, depending on the size of the company and how long you have worked there. The law, however, does not require that the leave be with pay. All you may be legally entitled to is an unpaid leave.

 

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Q. I rent a small house. I have made all my payments on time; my lease has one more year until it ends. My landlord told me the house was being foreclosed this month and I will have to move. This doesn’t seem fair. How soon do I have to leave?

A. A foreclosure terminates your relationship with your landlord pursuant to the laws of the state of Texas. This means that your lease is terminated at the time of foreclosure. (The only exception is Section 8 leases, which may remain in force.)

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Q. I was married about 10 years ago. Shortly after we married, my spouse left me. I have not seen or heard from him in almost eight years. Two years ago, I fell in love with a wonderful man who asked me to marry him. I said yes, and we had a simple ceremony. Am I now married to both men? Does my second wedding invalidate my first? I never told my husband that I was married before.

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