John CantrellMy practice focuses on representation of consumers in defense of debt collection lawsuits, including foreclosure defense, credit card collection defense, and consumer bankruptcy. Consumer bankruptcy areas in which I have particular experience include privacy violations, Chapter 13 attorney fee applications, 524(i) Chapter 13 plan language, and defense of motions for relief from stay. I also litigate against creditors for violations of consumer protection laws, including the FDCPA and the SC Consumer Protection Code. Each case has different facts, clients, attorneys, and judges involved, all of which can make a difference in results obtained for a client, even where the applicable legal issues are the same.

There are brief definitions below of my Areas of Practice. If you have specific questions or would like me to contact you regarding your situation, please contact me.

Areas of Practice

Debt Collection Defense

A major part of my current legal practice involves defending people who are being sued to collect debts. In addition to courts where attorneys normally represent people being sued for debts, such as Common Pleas or Circuit Court, I also represent people being sued on smaller debts in magistrate or small claims courts in South Carolina, primarily in Charleston, Berkeley and Dorchester counties. Although many people might be worried that they couldn’t afford to hire an attorney on small debts in the $1,000 to $4,000 range, my debt defense attorney fees make such representation feasible for most of my potential clients, and payment plans are available as well, if necessary.

There are two main types of cases where I represent clients in magistrate court debt collection cases. The first type is a credit card collection case, which is often brought by a debt buyer who is not the original creditor, but claims to have purchased the defaulted debt from the original creditor. The second type of case that I often handle in magistrate court is a collection action by a finance company, which is a small dollar lender that makes short term loans at higher interest rates, which loans are often secured by household goods.

In the event that the amount of debt being collected in over $7,500, the debt collector will then have to file suit in the county Common Pleas or Circuit Court. I also handle debt collection defense in this type of court, as well as any cases that might be brought in federal District Court, although it is more common to see such cases brought in state court.

Consumer Law

In regulatory jurisdictions that provide for this (a list including most or all developed countries with free market economies) consumer protection is a group of laws and organizations designed to ensure the rights of consumers, as well as fair trade, competition, and accurate information in the marketplace. The laws are designed to prevent the businesses that engage in fraud or specified unfair practices from gaining an advantage over competitors. They may also provide additional protection for those most vulnerable in society. Consumer protection laws are a form of government regulation that aim to protect the rights of consumers. For example, a government may require businesses to disclose detailed information about products. Particularly in areas where safety or public health is an issue, such as food.

Consumer protection law or consumer law is considered an area of law that regulates private law relationships between individual consumers and the businesses that sell those goods and services. Consumer protection covers a wide range of topics, including but not necessarily limited to product liability, privacy rights, unfair business practices, fraud, misrepresentation, and other consumer/business interactions. It’s a way of preventing fraud and scams from service and sales contracts, bill collector regulation, pricing, utility turnoffs, consolidation and personal loans that may lead to bankruptcy.

Foreclosure Defense

Foreclosure is a legal process in which a lender attempts to recover the balance of a loan from a borrower, who has stopped making payments to the lender, by forcing the sale of the asset used as the collateral for the loan.

The goal of the foreclosure defense strategy is to prove that the bank does not have a right to foreclose. The chances of success rest on an attorney’s ability to challenge how the mortgage industry operates. The strategy aims to take advantage of flaws in the system, and presumes illegal or unethical behavior on the part of lenders.



Bankruptcy is a legal status of a person or other entity that cannot repay the debts it owes to creditors. In most jurisdictions, bankruptcy is imposed by a court order, often initiated by the debtor.

Bankruptcy in the United States is a matter placed under federal jurisdiction by the United States Constitution (in Article 1, Section 8, Clause 4), which empowers Congress to enact “uniform Laws on the subject of Bankruptcies throughout the United States”. The Congress has enacted statutes governing bankruptcy, primarily in the form of the Bankruptcy Code, located at Title 11 of the United States Code. Federal law is amplified by state law in some places where Federal law fails to speak or expressly defers to state law.

Generally, a debtor declares bankruptcy to obtain relief from debt, and this is accomplished either through a discharge of the debt or through a restructuring of the debt. Generally, when a debtor files a voluntary petition, his or her bankruptcy case commences.

We are a debt relief agency.  We help people file for bankruptcy relief under the Bankruptcy Code.


Dealing with debt collectors

Are you being illegally harassed?

If you are having problems with debt collectors, watch this video to learn about your rights under the Fair Debt Collection Practices Act and state laws.

I received notice of a lawsuit; what should I do?

If a debt collector files a lawsuit against you to collect a debt, discover what to do next.

Was I served legal papers properly?

Learn about one of your key defenses. Determine if you were served papers properly.

Video courtesy of National Association of Consumer Advocates.