When consumers fall behind on their payments, they can quickly go from being a “valued customer” to feeling like a harassed nemesis. If you are being harassed by creditors and you can’t seem to get them to stop calling you, filing for bankruptcy could be beneficial for you and your family. According to U.S. bankruptcy law, normally filing a bankruptcy petition means creditors are required to cease collection efforts immediately. Referred to as the automatic stay of bankruptcy, this is one of the significant benefits of filing bankruptcy. But do creditors ever disregard the law and continue calling bankruptcy petitioners to attempt to collect on a past-due debt?
The answer to this question is yes – sometimes it may seem as though a few creditors did not receive the notice of the bankruptcy filing. Collection letters may still arrive in your mailbox. You may even receive a harassing phone call or two.
Did you already file for bankruptcy and creditors are still harassing you? First, notify them that you filed for bankruptcy and offer to give them your bankruptcy case number. In almost every instance of creditor contact after a bankruptcy filing, they somehow did not receive the bankruptcy notification or the notification slipped through the cracks. Once you tell them you filed for bankruptcy and offer them the bankruptcy case number, they will almost always stop attempts to collect on the debt.
In rare situations, creditors may be purposefully contacting a debtor during the bankruptcy process. They may do so knowing the borrower filed for bankruptcy and that their actions violate the automatic stay. While creditor harassment after you filed for bankruptcy is undeniably illegal, it does happen.
If you are being harassed by creditors after you filed for bankruptcy, and you have already notified them of your bankruptcy case number, you have options.
- Take notes regarding their behavior. As soon as your bankruptcy petition is filed with the court, you should take note of any creditor who still contacts you. Most will immediately stop collection efforts, but a couple may continue. Save the letters you receive, write down when they call and any details about the call. A paper trail of any creditor harassment post-bankruptcy filing is vital if the situation escalates.
- Get in touch with your bankruptcy attorney for help. Let them know that creditors are still contacting you and offer them your notes/the letters you received, etc. Your attorney will notify the bankruptcy courts so the court can take legal action against the creditors in violation of the automatic stay.
- If the creditors persist in their collection efforts in violation of bankruptcy law, your bankruptcy attorney may advise suing them for harassment and emotional distress.
Are you being harassed by creditors? You don’t have to live with debt collection harassment. If you need help, get in touch with the office of Kenneth C. Rannick P.C. Most bankruptcy offices in the Chattanooga area don’t have a single Consumer Bankruptcy Specialist on staff. Our office is the only office in Chattanooga with Two! We help good people through bad times every day, and we can help you, too.