If you are facing financial difficulties and just in the process of considering bankruptcy, you are probably receiving a lot of calls from creditors. Once you officially file for bankruptcy, the creditors are legally required to stop contacting you. However, until that official declaration is made, they are free to contact you about the money they are owed. Just how frequently, and the manner in which they are allowed to contact you, is governed by law.
What to Expect
In worst case scenarios, creditors call you at odd hours, speak to your employer, and show very little consideration for financial hardship or personal issues. They want the money owed to them and they will go to any length to get it. Some creditors even threaten to take your bank accounts and your wages, or repossess your items. People who are in debt have heard just about every threat there is.
If you are receiving threatening phone calls that are making you uncomfortable or a creditor seems to behave in an inappropriate manner, there is something you can do about it. You need the support of an experienced bankruptcy attorney who can help you through the experience. A bankruptcy lawyer will tell you what creditors are permitted to do by law and will offer protection when a creditor steps over the line.
What the Law States
The Fair Debt Collection Practices Act outlines specifically what creditors are permitted to do. Creditors, by law, cannot:
- Claim to be an attorney if they are not
- Contact you before 8 am and or after 9 pm
- Publish your name onto a debt list
- Incessantly call you
Furthermore, if you state, in writing, that a creditor must stop calling you, they must abide by your request. They must also cease speaking with you directly if you tell them you are represented by a lawyer. If any of these rules is violated, it is within your legal rights to sue the creditor for damages and attorney fees.
In addition to the list of reasons a creditor must stop contacting you, contact must also cease once you file for bankruptcy. All phone calls, repossessions, lawsuits, and foreclosures also stop once you file. The type of bankruptcy you file will determine the next steps regarding the creditors.
If you file Chapter 7 bankruptcy, all dischargeable debts are cancelled. If you file Chapter 13 bankruptcy, you will be given three to five years to pay off your debts under a pre-arranged payment plan. This allows you to keep your car and your home, as long as you can make the payments. Since a plan is in place for repayment, creditors will no longer have a reason to contact you.