The time period leading up to filing for bankruptcy is extremely stressful, as you know. You probably heaved a sigh of relief once you received your case number and were assured that an automatic stay was in effect. Fielding constant phone calls from creditors can be unnerving and stressful – and stress can have a cumulative effect on your physical health as well as your emotional well-being. In fact, the APA (American Psychological Association) reports that stress can affect the “musculoskeletal, respiratory, cardiovascular, endocrine, gastrointestinal, nervous, and reproductive systems” of the body.
You thought the phone calls were over – and they should be. That’s why it can be especially disheartening if creditors keep calling. Who knows how to get debt collectors to stop calling after bankruptcy? How long after filing for bankruptcy do collectors keep calling? Why would such a thing even happen? There are three reasons:
- Some creditors simply haven’t yet received the message that you have filed for bankruptcy. Possibly the information hasn’t yet been processed and had the chance to filter through their system. This can be the case with small enterprises or with multi-level corporations.
- Some creditors are actively trying to take advantage of you. They may be fully aware that an automatic stay is in place, but are hoping that you don’t understand your rights and will be scared into paying something.
- You may be hearing from creditors who will not be affected by your bankruptcy. Some debts are not dischargeable:
- Student loans
- Some taxes
- Overdue child and spousal support
- Debts arising from willful and reckless acts, embezzlement, fraud, or larceny
- Any debts you did not list when you filed for bankruptcy (unscheduled debts) unless the creditor learns of your bankruptcy case.
How to stop debt collector calls after filing for bankruptcy:
- Answer the calls. You have already taken a positive step and have no need to fear phone calls from people who shouldn’t be contacting you; they are in the wrong.
- Get the name (or employee number) of the person you are speaking to and write down all details of the call, including the date, time, company involved, and what was said. Keep all documentation, including voice messages.
- Inform the caller that you have filed for bankruptcy and tell them to stop contacting you. Give the caller your case number.
- If calls (or letters) continue, contact your bankruptcy attorney. Under the FDCPA (Fair Debt Collection Practices Act), third-party debt collection agents are not allowed to contact you asking for payment once you have filed for bankruptcy. It is illegal. The bankruptcy attorneys at Sawin & Shea, LLC can answer your questions and enforce your rights. At the very least, we can make sure that all information has been updated in the company’s system, and if necessary, we can pursue legal action against those who continue to illegally harass you so that you can receive compensation for your mental and emotional stress.
What if my debt cannot be discharged?
If you are being contacted about debt that is not dischargeable, you still have rights under the FDCPA. Debt collectors are not allowed to do the following:
- Call repeatedly
- Call before 8:00 a.m. or after 9:00 p.m.
- Call without identifying themselves
- Disclose your information to third parties
- Use abusive or offensive language
- Contact you after you have provided written notification that you do not want to be contacted
- Claim to be affiliated with any governmental organization if they are not
- Misrepresent the character, amount, or legal status of a debt (in other words: lie)
- Threaten to take action which is not actually intended to be taken
- Threaten to communicate or actually communicate false credit information
What if my debts have been discharged and the creditor calls keep coming?
After your bankruptcy, your creditors will receive notice of your bankruptcy discharge order. It’s not common, but sometimes debt collectors continue to demand payments from people who have had their debts discharged. If this happens to you, follow the steps outlined above.
Don’t hesitate to contact Sawin & Shea, LLC. We can inform the bankruptcy courts of what is happening, and the courts may levy fines or penalties. If necessary, we can begin legal proceedings against the debt collector who is continuing to harass you.
A qualified legal professional knows how to get debt collectors to stop calling after bankruptcy and can help you navigate the stress of debt collectors who may or may not be obeying the law. The Indiana bankruptcy attorneys at Sawin & Shea, LLCpursue collection agencies who violate the FDCPA law, during and after your bankruptcy case. If you are struggling with creditor calls, contact us at 317-759-1483 or Send an Email for a Free Consultation. We are ready to help.