Will Filing for Bankruptcy Stop Creditor Harassment?
Debt collectors are generally allowed to use a variety of tactics to recover the money that debtors owe, including texting or making calls, sending letters, and informing debtors of their plans to file a lawsuit. However, there are some practices that can be considered creditor harassment and are illegal. While there are a number of steps you can take to put an end to creditor harassment, one avenue is declaring bankruptcy.
Under U.S. bankruptcy law, all creditors are required to stop contacting debtors immediately when debtors have decided to file for Chapter 7 bankruptcy or any other bankruptcy option. An “automatic stay” occurs, which is an injunction preventing both creditors and collection agencies from contacting you.
The injunction states that after you’ve filed for bankruptcy, creditors are no longer allowed to:
- Send letters, emails, texts
- Call you
- Repossess your collateral
- Continue or file a lawsuit
- Place a lien on your property
- Foreclose on your home
Once you’ve filed for bankruptcy, you should be free of pesky phone calls and letters. However, the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau (CFPB) reported that between 2013 and 2015, they received more than 163,000 consumer complaints about debt collection. Creditor harassment can continue if you recently filed your petition and your creditor hasn’t been notified of the change, or if your petition failed to include your creditor. It may also persist if your debt was sold to another company that doesn’t know about your bankruptcy filing. However, in many cases, harassment can continue simply because the creditor is ignoring the law.
If you are being contacted after filing bankruptcy with regards to your debts, it’s important to call a creditor harassment attorney to determine whether you can take action.
Notable Creditor Harassment Laws
Many debtors aren’t aware of which tactics are illegal when it comes to debt collection. For instance, it is illegal for a creditor to call you after 9 in the evening or before 8 in the morning. If you are receiving a call outside these permitted calling hours, this is a violation and you may be able to take legal action.
Other illegal practices debt collectors take include:
- Calling you at work after you’ve asked them to stop
- Sharing your financial information with your family or friends
- Threatening you
- Using abusive language with you
Other Options You Can Take
If you believe you’re a victim of creditor harassment and you don’t think filing for bankruptcy is an option for you, you should consider hiring legal representation to put an end to the continuous phone calls. An attorney can speak to your creditor or debt collector on your behalf or investigate your correspondence to determine if harassment is occurring.
To have a potential claim, it’s important that you document as much as possible. You can record your phone calls, save all letters, emails, and texts, and make a note if you discover that creditors are contacting your friends, family, or neighbors.
We Are Well-Versed on Harassment LawsOur accomplished lawyers are well-versed on various laws, including the Fair Credit Reporting Act, Fair Debt Collection Practices Act (FDCPA), Illinois Consumer Fraud Act, Telephone Consumer Protection Act, and more. We strive to use this knowledge to represent consumers and protect their rights against creditors who are using unlawful tactics to collect. At Atlas Consumer Law, we have an A+ rating with the Better Business Bureau and have been recognized for our unwavering loyalty to our clients. We have years of experience in litigation and aren’t afraid to take your case to court if that’s what it takes to achieve your legal goals.
Call (312) 313-1613 to reach the creditor harassment attorneys at Atlas Consumer Law, or contact us online. Our team is well-versed on debtor rights as well as on creditor tactics. If creditors are found to be breaking the law, we can pursue justice on your behalf.