Bankruptcy eliminates an individual’s obligations to pay any debts the court discharges. After successfully filing for bankruptcy, you were likely looking forward to the relief that comes with living debt-free and getting your financial life back on track. Unfortunately, the harassing calls from creditors and demand letters still haven’t stopped. What can you do?
Once a bankruptcy court discharges a debt, the discharge permanently bars the debt collector from trying to collect the debt. However, despite these protections, not all creditors will abide by the law. While some collectors may genuinely be unaware of your bankruptcy status, others will continue to try to get you to pay your debt to make a profit. If creditors still won’t leave you alone after filing for bankruptcy, here’s what you can do to stop it.
Understanding the automatic stay
As soon as you file for bankruptcy, an automatic stay goes into effect. An automatic stay prohibits creditors and debt collectors from collecting your debts after filing for bankruptcy or while your bankruptcy case is pending. Under federal law, creditors can’t:
- Call you
- Send letters, texts or emails
- Foreclose on your home
- File or continue a lawsuit
- Place a lien on your property
- Repossess your collateral
If creditors are acting in violation of your discharge, you can have your attorney contact them formally or informally to demand that they stop all collection activity. If they still refuse to stop harassing you, you may ask the court to order the creditor to pay for any damages you suffer from their harassment.
What debts can creditors continue to call about?
As you may already know, filing for bankruptcy won’t discharge all of your debts. A creditor can continue their collection efforts for any of your obligations that aren’t released by your bankruptcy. Generally, debts that aren’t discharged include:
- Student loans
- Overdue child support or alimony
- Income taxes for the last three years
- Any debts for fines and restitution in a criminal case
Bankruptcy should be a real fresh start for those struggling to repay their debts. If you are unsure whether or not a creditor has a right to call you, contact your bankruptcy attorney to have them help you determine whether they are violating your rights.