By law, creditors are not allowed to contact debtors to demand payment
after a debtor files for bankruptcy. What you may not realize is this
practice is actually illegal. Filing for bankruptcy automatically gives
you rights and protection under the law from creditors contacting you.
This is called “automatic stay,” which means that they can
no longer attempt to garnish your wages, attempt to sue you, or even try
to reach you by phone, mail, etc.
Identifying Creditor Harassment
You have rights under the Fair Debt Collection Practices Act (FDCPA), which
not only prohibits collectors from trying to reach you, but will also
penalize them heavily for violating the laws.
Some of the most common ways they do this is through:
- Using threats or intimidation
- Making calls to you at odd, inconvenient hours
- Stating that they will sue you or have you arrested
- Contacting your friends, family, and neighbors
- Calling you when you have already retained legal counsel
Having a lawyer can protect you almost immediately. All correspondence
must go through the collector and your attorney. When they continue calling
you, make a note of all of their attempts. From that point moving forward,
your lawyer should handle the matter and determine whether or not the
collectors’ actions are, in fact, illegal.
What should I do if a creditor has contacted me?
Let’s say that a creditor has been calling you nonstop, attempting
to collect. Now, if that debt was accrued prior to the bankruptcy filing,
then that creditor has violated the automatic stay. You can try to explain
to the collector that you have filed for bankruptcy, as there is a likely
chance that they may not even be aware that you now have protection. The
only exception to this is if any of the debts accumulated after the bankruptcy;
these will not be protected under the FDCPA.
Not all of the correspondence will be illegal, so be sure to keep that
in mind as well. You may be able to work out an agreement, such as a payment
plan that suits your financial situation best. Doing it this way can help
you avoid facing legal troubles and prevent the harassing phone calls.
Remember that you have rights—contact Sulaiman Law Group, LTD. at (312) 313-1613.today to learn more about your options and help you
find the best solution possible.