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M Caroline Cantrell & Associates PC

Additional Locations

Phone: (503) 236-9211 Fax: (503) 236-0209 View Additional Phone Numbers 8800 SE Sunnyside Rd STE 207N, Clackamas, OR 97015 http://www.bankruptcyoregon.com


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Description

This company offers attorney services, focusing on consumer bankruptcies.


BBB Accreditation

A BBB Accredited Business since

BBB has determined that M Caroline Cantrell & Associates PC meets BBB accreditation standards, which include a commitment to make a good faith effort to resolve any consumer complaints. BBB Accredited Businesses pay a fee for accreditation review/monitoring and for support of BBB services to the public.

BBB accreditation does not mean that the business' products or services have been evaluated or endorsed by BBB, or that BBB has made a determination as to the business' product quality or competency in performing services.


Reason for Rating

BBB rating is based on 13 factors. Get the details about the factors considered.

Factors that affect the rating for M Caroline Cantrell & Associates PC include:

  • Length of time business has been operating
  • Complaint volume filed with BBB for business of this size
  • Response to 1 complaint(s) filed against business
  • Resolution of complaint(s) filed against business


Customer Complaints Summary Read complaint details

1 complaint closed with BBB in last 3 years | 0 closed in last 12 months
Complaint Type Total Closed Complaints
Advertising/Sales Issues 0
Billing/Collection Issues 1
Delivery Issues 0
Guarantee/Warranty Issues 0
Problems with Product/Service 0
Total Closed Complaints 1

Customer Reviews Summary Read customer reviews

0 Customer Reviews on M Caroline Cantrell & Associates PC
Customer Experience Total Customer Reviews
Positive Experience 0
Neutral Experience 0
Negative Experience 0
Total Customer Reviews 0

Additional Information

BBB file opened: November 01, 2001 Business started: 08/22/2000 Business started locally: 08/22/2000
Licensing, Bonding or Registration

This business is in an industry that may require professional licensing, bonding or registration. BBB encourages you to check with the appropriate agency to be certain any requirements are currently being met.

These agencies may include:

Oregon State Bar
16037 SW Upper Boones Ferry Rd, Tigard OR 97224
http://www.osbar.org
Phone Number: (503) 620-0222
info@osbar.org

Washington Secretary of State
801 Capitol Way S, Olympia WA 98504
http://www.secstate.wa.gov/corps
Phone Number: (360) 725-0377
corps@sos.wa.gov

Business Management
Ms. M Caroline Cantrell, President Ms. Wendi Tibbetts, Office Manager
Contact Information
Principal: Ms. M Caroline Cantrell, President
Business Category

Attorneys & Lawyers - Bankruptcy Attorneys & Lawyers Offices of Lawyers (NAICS: 541110)


Additional Locations

  • 549 NW 2nd Ave

    Canby, OR 97013 (503) 266-0383

  • 8800 SE Sunnyside Rd STE 207N

    Clackamas, OR 97015 (360) 694-9025 (503) 236-9211

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BBB Customer Review Rating plus BBB Rating Overview


BBB Customer Reviews Rating represents the customers opinions of the business. The Customer Review Rating is based on the number of positive, neutral and negative customer reviews posted that are calculated to produce a score.

Customer Review Experience Value
Positive Review 5 points per review
Neutral Review 3 points per review
Negative Review 1 point per review

BBB letter grades represent the BBB's opinion of the business. The BBB grade is based on BBB file information about the business. In some cases, a business' grade may be lowered if the BBB does not have sufficient information about the business despite BBB requests for that information from the business.
Details

BBB Letter Grade Scale

BBB Rating Value
A+ 5
A 4.66
A- 4.33
B+ 4
B 3.66
B- 3.33
C+ 3
C 2.66
C- 2.33
D+ 2
D 1.66
D- 1.33
F 1
NR -----
Star Rating scale

  Average Score
5 stars 5.00
4.5 stars 4.50-4.99
4 stars 4.00-4.49
3.5 stars 3.50-3.99
3 stars 3.00-3.49
2.5 stars 2.50-2.99
2 stars 2.00-2.49
1.5 stars 1.50-1.99
1 star 0-1.49

BBB Customer Review Rating plus BBB Rating is not a guarantee of a business' reliability or performance, and BBB recommends that consumers consider a business' BBB Rating and Customer Review Rating in addition to all other available information about the business. If the BBB Rating is NR then only Customer Reviews are used for the Star Rating.

Complaint Detail(s)

4/19/2015 Billing/Collection Issues | Read Complaint Details
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Additional Notes

Complaint: My complaint is with this Attorneys charges to represent me in my Chapter 13 case. After providing $2000,00 up front, and in excess of $6,600 in legal fess submitted to the Trustee for payment for a simple Chapter 13, and now an additional $700 in fees for a request of Payoff to payoff the Chapter 13 which I was told by the Attorneys staff I had to get from them. Now I am NOT able to payoff the case as planned which also prevents me from purchasing a home I have been approved for because of the additional attorney fees being tacked on! These fees are unreasonable, unethical, and unjustifiable. I have been making my payments on time and diligently for 5-years to complete this plan and now that I was prepared to pay off the balance so that I can move on and get a fresh start, I feel I am being taken advantage of and the Attorney fees are outrageous. I would never recommend this Attorney to anyone. How can you possibly justify over $8,000 in fees for a simple Chapter 13 Bankruptcy case!

Desired Settlement: An explanation of how they can legally and ethically charge over $8000 in legal fees for a simple Chapter 13, a response from the Trustee that these fees are absorbent and unreasonable, and the ability to pay this case off without any further attached fees.

Business Response: I agree, $8,000 is a lot of money for a "simple Chapter 13 case". Unfortunately, this was never a simple Chapter 13 case.

A "simple" Chapter 13 is one in which the debtor has a regular source of income, normal monthly expenses and needs to stop collection activity to allow the debtor to regroup and pay creditors what he/she can afford to pay over a three to five year period while still protecting assets and maintaining the household. Even in a simple case, there will be some changes in the debtor's circumstances which will require additional work and attorney fees. But not to the extent this case required.

This gentleman first came to my office on 9/16/2009 to discuss his financial affairs and bankruptcy options. He had an active real estate investment company with 4 properties under contract and a pending short sale. He also had property he had transferred into a trust and a vehicle with non-exempt equity. His goal was to remain in business and protect his assets. We discussed his financial affairs, his bankruptcy options, and the timing of filing his case. He paid a $2,000 retainer on 9/17/2009. Between 9/17/2009 and the date of filing, 6/18/2010, we had numerous conversations with the client, took calls from creditors, reviewed documents (including legal and trust documents and business financials)and drafted his petition and bankruptcy schedules.

The basic documents were filed with the court on 6/18/2010. The Plan and remaining documents were filed on 7/2/2010. In the interim, we gathered and analyzed additional information, drafted the remaining documents, prepared the plan and reviewed them with the client. We estimated attorney fees through this process, the meeting of creditors, and the confirmation hearing to be $4,500 as disclosed on the retainer agreement. From the $2,000 retainer, we paid the $274 court filing fee and applied the balance, $1.726, to the estimated $4,500. The difference was to be financed through the Chapter 13 Plan, common practice in the industry.

Total attorney fees and costs incurred prior to confirmation were $5,261.42, $761.42 more than anticipated. Much of the additional fees were related interaction with creditors and the trustee.

Unfortunately, the client's financial affairs changed numerous times during the course of his bankruptcy which required changes to his Chapter 13 Plan. Amended plans were filed on: 6/20/2011 to surrender his home and reduce his plan payment; 8/13/2012 to reduce his payment and extend the duration of the plan; and, on 9/18/2012 to allow him to keep his tax refunds. Each amended plan was preceded by numerous telephone conferences with the client and a review/analysis of his financial circumstances. Once the plan was prepared, it was sent to the trustee for approval, then filed with the court and mailed to all creditors. It is a time consuming process.

In addition to the amended plans, we filed an adversary proceeding to strip the second mortgage on his home prior to his decision to surrender the property; received and discussed his options on a motion for relief from stay by the mortgage lender; received, discussed and responded to a motion to dismiss by the trustee for missed plan payments; worked with his real estate agent on a short sale (which was not billed to the client's bankruptcy); responded to numerous calls from the client regarding credit reporting disputes, the Chapter 13 trustee's procedures, and numerous other issues; and, dealt with the trustee, court and creditors on his case.

To be paid for additional services in a Chapter 13 case, attorneys are required to submit an application for supplemental fees with an itemized statement of their charges. There must be six months between applications and fees must be in excess of $500 except for the final application which is submitted upon completion of the case.

In this particular case, several applications for services rendered over the last 4.5 years have been submitted. The client was always served with a copy of the application and itemization and given an opportunity to object to the fees. He has never formally objected to the fees submitted to the court.

When the client called for a pay off on 1/16/2015, the paralegal contacted the trustee for the information and sent it to him with an estimate of fees that will be on the final statement for services rendered between 9/27/2012 and 1/26/2015 (not for simply contacting the trustee as alleged). She did this to be sure he would not be surprised when the trustee quoted a final payoff which will include our last billing statement.

At the time of his request, the final fee application had not been prepared and submitted to the court. We are in the process of submitting an application in the amount of $762.50 to the court. It will not be marked as a final application as the client has stated he will not be paying off the case. However, he will be given the opportunity to object to the reasonableness of the fees.


This client has never been happy with our fees. He has discussed them with other attorneys and has been informed they are reasonable. We have discussed the fees and I have shown him the work that was done to incur the fees. We have also discussed his ability to use other bankruptcy and non-bankruptcy options. And, again, he was given an opportunity to raise objections with the court and/or to fire us at any time.

I am sorry he is unhappy; however, like him, I cannot and do not intend to work for free. I simply have to charge for services rendered to cover my overhead.

The applications for supplemental fees, fee itemizations and our fee agreement are of public record and can be produced if required. Please advise if you this information is needed. Thank you.



Consumer Response: (The consumer indicated he/she DID NOT accept the response from the business.)
I would like to add that when I met with ******** initially, I was very confused on what action to take regarding Bankruptcy. We talked about a Chapter 7 and a Chapter 13, the pros and cons. I agreed to a Chapter 13 although with still a lot of uncertainty about the plan and the payments.

When I realized after making several payments that my payments were increasing to over $600.00 per month, I re-visited with ******* to let her know there was no way I could afford that. She knew what my outstanding obligations were, and what my income was at that time, how could I possibly afford a payment of over $600.00 per month.

I did have a real estate LLC at the time, but was not actively doing business any longer when I met with *******. All my properties had already sold, there were no four properties under contract that I remember. The only property that I still had was the one I was living in and I had previously put it into a trust. I wanted to keep the property and discussed this with *******, but could not afford to make the payments and so I sold it on a Short Sale. There was no pending short sale on my home when I initially met with *******. The home was sold after I was already in the plan. The initial plan included me keeping my home and wiping out the second mortgage. There was never any discussion that I recall to surrender the home. In fact, I had called ******* on the phone and let her know the home had sold after I had been in the plan for some time. I even faxed her the closing documents. As of recently I called her and wanted to know why the lender was still showing up on the Trustees payment of creditors, the home was included in the plan initially as I wanted to keep it, but then sold on a short sale, you would think the creditor would have been removed from the plan.

Anyway, yes there were several amendments made to the initial plan due to the increased payment to over $600 per month, but beyond that conversations with ******* about this and that such as items on my credit report, and so on, but it was all very confusing, miss understood obviously, and the bill is on a run- away train.

There is nothing I can do about her fees, what is done is done. A lot of what she claimed in her response is not completely accurate as I mentioned above. At this point I do not want to have any contact with her because my bill will continue to increase, I just want to get the plan paid off and move on.

It is unfortunate and seems unethical what I have been charged to this point, whether it be a lack of communication and understanding on my part, or something else. My concern is the fees will continue to add up, such as the response to this claim, the letter I received from her today in regards to this matter, etc.

I only wish there could have been more clarity on what the plan, fees, and payments were initially as I obviously either were oblivious to it all or really did not understand what was happening.

Business Response:

Pursuant to our conversation, this response to *** ********* rebuttal is being sent directly to you via email.  As discussed, I filed a response prior to the deadline given in your notice of March 11, 2015; however, it was either lost in or deleted by the system.

 

Attached is a copy of the Client Intake Form Mr. ******* completed and brought to our initial meeting on 9/16/2009 and a copy of the Bankruptcy Court Docket listing all documents filed during the course of his case.  Also attached are the three Applications for Supplemental Fees that were  filed by our office.

 

The Intake Form is submitted to show that Mr. ******* was actively self-employed when he first came to our office in September 2009. See comments on Page 3 under PLEASE LIST BELOW ANY SPECIAL CONCERNS OR ISSUES YOU WOULD LIKE TO DISCUSS.  There he states: “My business is still active….I currently have 4-properties under contract… I do not want to lose my vehicle and want to continue to invest in real estate….Would like to keep my house…that is now vacant…and have second mortgage wiped out…move into now, and resell in a year or so….”   

 

At the time of the initial consultation, Mr. ******* was residing in an apartment in Salem (Page 1) and the house he wanted to move into, strip the second mortgage on and resell, had been transferred to a Trust (Page 5). In addition, he was behind on the house payments (Page 5) and wanted to see if he could get the  loan modified.  We discussed his current financial condition and his bankruptcy options: Chapter 13 to protect the equity in his vehicle, strip the second mortgage,  better protect his business and pay his income taxes; Chapter 7 if he wanted to walk from the property, risk liquidation of the vehicle and possibly the business and work directly with the taxing authorities to pay the taxes.  We also discussed what needed to be done prior to filing his case – i.e. move back into the house, negotiate with lender on loan modification, find sources of income to fund a feasible Chapter 13 plan.   We worked with Mr. ******* as needed between September 16, 2009 and June 18, 2010, the date of filing.  Attorney fees for these services were included in the  fees estimate through confirmation,  $4, 500.00,  as discussed below.

 

The Court Docket is attached simply to show Mr. ******* that his case really was more complex than he seems to remember.   As is evidenced, in addition to preparing and filing the petition, plan, schedules, other routine documents and attending several hearings,  we prepared and filed  four amended  chapter 13 plans, an adversary proceeding, and  the documents necessary to sell the property. We also  responded to a motion for relief from stay,  a motion to dismiss for missed plan payments and objected to the proof of claim of the mortgage holder after the property was sold.  Plus we prepared and filed various other documents as needed and required by the Bankruptcy Code and  Federal and Local Bankruptcy Rules.

 

The docket also reflects the Applications for Supplemental Fees that were filed with the Court, attached.  As previously stated, all fees must be approved by the court before they are allowed to be paid by the trustee from plan payments  and are subject to review and objection by the trustee, debtor, and all creditors. There were no objections filed by any party to the requests for supplemental fees in this case.   Again,   Mr. ******* retained our office with $2,000.00 on September 17, 2009.  From the retainer, we paid the court filing fee of $274.00 and applied the difference, $1,726.00, to the estimated fee through confirmation, $4,500.00.   The actual charges through confirmation were $5,026.00 - $526.00 more than projected.  That amount is include in the 10/4/2011 application.  Applications for Supplemental Fees were filed as follows:  

 

-          10/4/2011 in the amount of $2,969.98  for the additional $526.00 mentioned above and services rendered from confirmation, 9/1/2010 through 9/19/2011;

-          9/27/2012 in the amount of $936.64 for services rendered between 10/4/2011 and 9/21/2012; and,

-          2/17/2015 in the amount of $762.50 for services rendered between 9/27/2012 and 2/15/2015. 

 

To avoid losing the attorney/client privilege, the itemizations attached to the applications do not include the context of our conversations or interactions with Mr. *******; however, it does reflect the extent of the contact between attorney/client, trustee and creditors as well as the work done thereafter.    As is apparent, most of the attorney fees in this case were incurred between 9/16/2009 and 9/11/2011, a period of time when *** ********* life was in flex.  During that time, Mr. ******* did struggle financially.  According to my notes, he was part time employed; had roommates and a partner that were not contributing to the household as he originally hoped, and he was have a very difficult time deciding  how he wanted to proceed.  Between 12/06/2010 and 6/20/2011, I have documented 7 conversations between myself and Mr. ******* in which we discussed changes or potential changes in his finances and his options to continue with the Chapter 13, convert to a Chapter 7 or dismiss the case and refile later (12/6/2010; 12/20/2010; 1/17/2011; 2/14/2011; 2/25/2011; 6/06/2011; 6/20/2011).  All of those entries are reflected on the itemization attached to the Application for Supplemental Fees.  In addition, the line item for 8/23/2011 reflects a conversation **** *****, another bankruptcy attorney, had with Mr. ******* and a conversation between Mr. ******* and me regarding his options.  

 

Once *** ********* life stabilized,  the attorney fees were minimal.  As reflected on the Court Docket,  between 10/4/2011 and 9/21/2012 we prepared and filed the notice and order required to sell his house and an amended Plan to reduce his plan payment from $600.00 to $234.00.  Mr. ******* states I should have known he could not afford to pay $600.00.    According to my notes, Mr. ******* hoped to complete the Plan as quickly as possible.  The Bankruptcy Code requires a  minimum of 36 payments.  A 36 month Plan in his case required a $600.00 month payment.    When it became obvious that he was unable to make the higher payment, he requested the Plan be amended and the payment reduced.  Prior to his request, we had several conversations about his ability to reduce the payment.  He was reluctant to do so as it would extend the Plan. 

 

The Application for Fees dated 2/17/2015 is a minimal amount incurred over the last couple years.  The bulk of those fees are, again, incurred in response to conversations with Mr. *******.

 

Mr. ******* raised one other issue in his rebuttal that I would like to address.  That is the issue of his lender still showing up on the Trustees payment of creditors after it was sold.  I have no control over how the trustee keeps his records; however, I suspect the trustee is prohibited from removing creditors from his records.  He has to account for every penny he receives and disburse during the life of the case.  So, naturally, the lender will be reflected in the trustee’s records even when the lender is no longer being paid.  The trustee stopped making payments to the lender when relief from stay was granted.  That was further made a part of the record when we filed an objection to the lender’s proof of claim.

 

Mr. ******* may not have fully understood how a Chapter 13 works; however, it is not because he was not supplied information.  As is evidenced, we spent a great deal of time responding to him through  numerous conversations and correspondence.  Plus he received copies of all documents, his Plans, the Order Confirming Plan, talked with the trustee at the Meeting of Creditors and received correspondence from the Court and trustee.  All of which lay out the expectations of a debtor in Chapter 13.  He also discussed his options/case with another attorney.  He also alleges he did not realize he had, or did not understand he had, other options.  Again, those were explained many times to him.  I think perhaps he was so caught up – or perhaps fighting so hard to overcome – other issues in his life that he was oblivious to it all.  However, that does not mean or even excuse his allegations that we wronged him.  There was certainly nothing unethical about our handling of his case, nor is there anything unethical about our request to be paid for services rendered.

***SUPPORTING DOCUMENTS REDACTED BY BBB***


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