Creditor Harassment Chapter 13

The constant calls and collection letters from debt collectors can become overwhelming. While most debt collectors abide by the law, some will go to great length to have a debtor pay. Thankfully, the Fair Debt Collections Practice Act (FDCPA) limits what debt collectors can do.

A creditor cannot contact a debtor once they file for Chapter 13 bankruptcy and after their debts have been discharged. If they do, they are violating federal law. It’s advised you speak with a bankruptcy attorney if a creditor is harassing you.

Bankruptcy Attorney in Dallas County

Creditors will stop making contact once you file for Chapter 13 bankruptcy. This legal process grants you the opportunity to get back on top of your bills and gain financial peace. Linda Littlefield has been assisting consumers and small businesses with bankruptcy and related issues for nearly 25 years. She will hold the harassing creditor liable for their action and ensure you receive the financial freedom you deserve. 

Take advantage of a free consultation at Littlefield Law Firm. Call (972) 812-0900 to schedule a time to speak with us. We are based in Dallas but also assist clients in areas such as Plano, Heath and Kaufman.

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Illegal Creditor Practices

You will receive numerous calls from debt collectors when you get behind on bills. Their job is to collect payments or have you arrange a payment. Some creditors will go to great lengths to have a debtor pay, but the FDCPA limits their tactics.   

According to the FDCPA, the following debt collection practices are illegal:

  • Calling before 8 a.m. or after 9 p.m.
  • Using or threating to physically harm you, your property or reputation
  • Insulting you or using obscene language
  • Contacting you at work after you have told them your employer does not accept such calls
  • Contacting family or friends for any reason other than getting your contact information
  • Lying about the amount you owe
  • Threaten to take legal action if they cannot back it up
  • Publish your name along with your debt
  • Make repeated calls with the intent to harass, abuse or annoy you
  • Tell you your debt is up for sale as a way to coerce you into making a payment
  • Calling without identifying themselves

A debt collector can legally pressure you into submitting a payment. However, they cannot take any action that violates the FDCPA. Legal collection efforts a creditor may employ to pressure you into making payments can include frequent letters, mentioning legal action and repeated phone calls.

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Does Bankruptcy Stop Collection Calls?

Constant calls from debt collectors are what often push debtors to file for Chapter 13 bankruptcy. These calls and other collection efforts become so overwhelming that many debtors feel there is no way out. 

Chapter 13 bankruptcy allows filers to take advantage of the automatic stay, which is a court-ordered junction that stops all collection and foreclosure efforts. This junction takes effect immediately upon filing your case. It may take a day or two for creditors to be notified of your filing, but once they become aware, their collection efforts violate federal law.

In addition to collection calls, the automatic stay will also stop the following collection efforts:

  • Wage garnishment
  • Frozen bank accounts
  • Lawsuit from creditors
  • Foreclosure

Keep in mind; debt collectors can still make contact to collect certain debts such as owed child support or alimony, loans from a pension and fines and restitution from criminal proceedings. Creditors can petition to have the stay lifted, but the court is unlikely to grant the request.  

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What Should I Do If Creditors Continue to Contact Me?

Creditors may still make contact even though the automatic stay is designed to prevent them from doing so. They may contact you for a number of reasons, but usually, it’s because of ignorance of the law. Sometimes, though, a debt collector may deliberately violate the Bankruptcy Code.

Contact a bankruptcy attorney as soon as you can if you believe a creditor has violated the stay. An attorney can determine whether the creditor unknowing or willfully violated the laws. Keep in mind, the automatic stay generally, but not always, goes into effect when a case is filed. If this is your second or subsequent filing, your attorney may need to file a motion to initiate the junction. 

In most cases, a creditor will be required to pay attorney fees and you may be entitled to compensation for the violation.

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Additional Resources

Debt Collection FAQs – Visit the official website of the Federal Trade Commission to find answers to common questions regarding debt collection. You can learn more about what a debt collector is not allowed to do, steps to take if a debt collector sues you and where to report collection violations.

Automatic Stay | Bankruptcy Code - Follow the link provided to read the section of the Bankruptcy Code governing the automatic stay. You can find out which collection efforts the stay will stop and see which collections are not affected by the junction. The code can be read on the Legal Information Institute, an online legal resource provided by Cornell Law School.

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Bankruptcy Lawyer in Dallas

Are you being harassed by creditors? Is a debt collector knowingly contacting you after a debt has been discharged? Contact Littlefield Law Firm immediately. Linda Littlefield is a well-respected legal advocate who will ensure the harassing creditor is brought to justice.

Call (972) 812-0900 to schedule a free consultation. Littlefield Law Firm assist consumers and small businesses with bankruptcy and related issues in Dallas County, Collin County, Kaufman County and Rockwall County.  

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