When you file a Chapter 7 or Chapter 13 bankruptcy, something called an automatic stay is put in place as soon as you file. This Automatic Stay prevents your creditors from continuing to try and collect a debt from you, but unfortunately your creditors will most likely not stop harassing you and trying to collect from you the moment you file for bankruptcy. This is because it takes the Bankruptcy Court a few days to prepare your Notice of Bankruptcy and to then mail it to all of your creditors. If, however, your creditors continue to harass you after a reasonable time has passed for them to receive notice of your bankruptcy from the Bankruptcy Court, then they are most likely in violation of the Automatic Stay, provided the debt falls into one of the very limited exceptions: criminal matters, child support, alimony, taxes, certain evictions, ect.
So what should you do if a creditor is still harassing you? The first thing you should do is to let the creditor who is harassing you know that you have filed bankruptcy. You can do this verbally over the phone, or by writing. For example, you can write that you filed bankruptcy on their bill and mail it back to them. Letting the creditor know you have filed bankruptcy stops the contact in the majority of instances. These initial contacts from your creditors shortly after filing bankruptcy are generally just mistakes, which is often due to the creditor’s system not having been updated with the Notice of Bankruptcy they received. It is not yet time to be alarmed, but it is important to keep a log of their contacts with you.
If the creditor still continues to harass you, then it is time to provide your detailed log of the creditor’s contacts with you to your bankruptcy attorney. Your attorney will most likely try to stop the harassment by initially contacting the creditor and providing them with another copy of your Notice of Bankruptcy. If that does not resolve the harassment, then your attorney will let the Bankruptcy Court know and start legal proceedings against your creditor. This could lead to money damages to you.
Creditor Harassment After Bankruptcy
Once you receive your Chapter 7 or Chapter 13 Bankruptcy Discharge, creditors of your debts that were discharged are forever barred from trying to collect the debt from you, but sometimes it seems as though a creditor didn’t receive the discharge order or is simply choosing to ignore it. What you should do about a creditor continuing to harass you after having received your bankruptcy discharge is pretty much exactly the same steps you would take if the creditor were to harass you during your bankruptcy. You should initially inform the creditor of the discharge verbally or in writing. If they still continue to contact you, then you should notify your attorney who will then take the appropriate actions.
If you have filed for bankruptcy or have already received your discharge, but are still receiving harassing telephone calls and/or mailings from a creditor, contact the Law Office of David M. Goldman, PLLC today at (904) 685-1200. One of our bankruptcy attorney’s can help you properly notify the harassing creditor of your bankruptcy to stop the creditor’s harassing contacts.