After you file for bankruptcy, it is illegal for your creditors to continue contacting you and asking for payments. The U.S. Bankruptcy Code, Telephone Consumer Protection Act (TCPA), The Fair Credit Reporting Act (FCRA), and the Fair Debt Collection Practices Act (FDCPA) all prohibit certain types of creditor behavior and are tools for consumers to use to fight back against unscrupulous debt collectors.
If a creditor breaks the law, you can contact a lawyer to pursue a case against them. Here is a closer look at how you can take action against creditor harassment.
Can Creditors Call, Text, and Email Me for Payments?
Generally speaking, creditors are allowed to contact debtors by mail, by phone, and through the internet as long as they are not engaging in prohibited behavior under the FDCPA and related laws. Prohibited acts include using abusive language, making threats or false claims, using deceptive practices, and contacting you repeatedly or at odd hours.
However, after you file for bankruptcy, your creditors must halt all contact and stop trying to collect payments from you. Your bankruptcy activates something known as an “automatic stay” that stops creditor collection efforts. Finally, you can have some peace!
If a creditor violates the TCPA or FDCPA an attorney that knows these laws can pursue them for statutory damages. Keep all letters and envelopes, record details of phone calls in logs, and save all evidence of the creditor contacting you, including emails, texts, phone calls, voicemails, and so forth. Write notes, including the date and time of each contact and exactly what happened, like “10 seconds of dead air, two clicks, followed by a person named James at ABC Financial asking me for a payment.” It could mean money in your pocket if a violation is found. The best part is that your attorney fees are paid by the creditor if they are found to have violated the law.
The law lays out penalties for creditors who don’t follow the rules. A failure to abide by the TCPA typically comes with a fine of up to $500 to $1,500 per call. An FDCPA violation is usually up to $1,000. FCRA claims vary according to the harm done to the debtor.
If I Filed for Bankruptcy but a Creditor Keeps Contacting Me, Now What?
Your attorney can also send a letter to the creditor making it clear that you have filed for bankruptcy. Seek legal help to ensure you are always protecting your best interests in any interaction you have with creditors. If they persist, your attorney can file a contempt action in Bankruptcy Court. If the creditor is found to have violated the protection you are given in bankruptcy, then they may have to pay for the attorney time their action caused.
Will I Be Awarded Money in a Case Against a Creditor?
There is no guarantee of a particular outcome in your case. But our nation’s courts tend to take violations of federal laws very seriously. A judge may have little patience for a creditor who refuses to follow the law.
Don’t let creditors intimidate you and disrupt your life. Hold them responsible for their behavior. Talk to your bankruptcy attorney about standing up to creditor harassment.
Sawin & Shea—Indianapolis Bankruptcy Attorneys
Filing for bankruptcy is not the end. It’s the beginning of a new financial life for you.
The Indiana bankruptcy attorneys at Sawin & Shea can help you get rid of overwhelming debt and advise you on life after bankruptcy. We are here for you during this life-changing process.
Please do not hesitate to call us today at (317) 759-1483 or send an email for a free consultation. We are ready to help.