Collection calls and bankruptcy

By Sam Calvert, Attorney At Law |

Blog by Sam Calvert, Attorney at Law

A major benefit of filing bankruptcy is that it can lift a load of stress off of you. Before you file you may worry about judgments, garnishments, and repossessions. Often you get call after call after call from collectors. The caller may tell you that you will be sued. That may be true, but no one is going to jail just because you didn’t pay a credit card debt.

Calls should stop cold when your case is filed. This is because filing the bankruptcy creates what is call “the automatic stay”. This is, in effect, a court order which orders creditors to stop trying to collect their debt from you. Major creditors will get their notice of your filing electronically; small creditors will likely get their notice by mail, which means there is a lag of a few days between filing and the creditor getting the notice. If you are contacted in the first few days after your case is filed, you should politely tell the creditor that you filed bankruptcy, that your case number is such-and-such, and that that your attorney’s name is Sam Calvert, whose number is  320-252-4473 But after the first few days, you should not be contacted.

If a debt collector keeps calling you after the case is filed, and if they know about the bankruptcy, you can actually take them to court for violating the automatic stay (or the discharge order, once that is filed at the conclusion of the case). If you get such a call, write down the name of the creditor, write down the date and time of the call, and the name whoever is calling you (that is, if they don’t hang up on you as soon as you start asking!).

Now, there are exceptions, for instance, debts that are not discharged (recent taxes, student loans, etc.). And your mortgage company or car lender may keep sending you notice that you want—because you want to keep your house or your car.

And there is an industry that buys up old debt and tries to collect it later. If one of those writes or calls you, they may say “If you filed bankruptcy, this is not an attempt to collect a debt.” Which of course it is, but the collector will pretend they didn’t know (and it’s possible they really don’t know, because they didn’t look for the information.) In that case follow the instruction above: Politely tell the creditor that you filed bankruptcy, that your case number is such-and-such, and that that your attorney’s name is Sam Calvert whose number is 320-252-4473  This possibility is another reason to periodically check your credit report (which you can get for free from annualcreditreport.com) to make sure that old debt does not reappear on your credit report – and if something does appear, dispute it with the credit reporting agency.

If you are struggling with debt, feel free to call me at  320-252-4473  to talk about your options.

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