Once you’ve filed for bankruptcy, the court issues something known as an “automatic stay.” This bars your creditors from taking further action against you unless the bankruptcy court specifically allows it. That doesn’t always stop the harassment immediately, however.
There’s generally a short window of time between the issuance of the automatic stay and when your creditors receive the official notice from the bankruptcy court. It may also take several days for a notice to get into whatever database the debt collectors are using to make their calls. That means that you may still get phone calls from creditors who legitimately aren’t aware that you’ve filed bankruptcy.
Unfortunately, you may also get phone calls from some debt collectors who are completely aware that you’ve filed for bankruptcy. These are the debt collectors who will try to wring one last payment out of you if they can. Their hope is that you’re uninformed of your rights and willing to agree to some kind of payment just to get them off your back.
There is an easy method to handle both situations:
1. Make certain that you know your bankruptcy case number, which is printed at the top of your paperwork.
2. Have your attorney’s business card, a notebook and a pen available.
3. When a debt collector calls, ask for the creditor’s name, contact information and the amount of the debt involved.
4. Write this information down in your notebook because it may be important later.
5. Inform the debt collector that you’ve filed for bankruptcy. Give him or her your case number and your attorney’s contact information.
6. Although you shouldn’t have to say it, you can reinforce the message that it is unacceptable to call you again by telling the debt collector that all other calls need to be directed to your attorney.
7. Note anything else the debt collector says, particularly if he or she threatens you or continues to try to convince you to pay.
Under the law, a creditor who is notified of your bankruptcy must immediately stop collection action. If he or she doesn’t, the law gives your attorney the right to sue the creditor. Your notes will help prove that the actions were deliberately in violation of the law and help you keep track of any debt collectors who call more than once.
For more bankruptcy advice and assistance, contact an attorney today.
Source: FindLaw, “What to Expect When Filing for Bankruptcy,” accessed May 17, 2017