Creditor Harassment Chapter 7
Debt collectors are everyday people who are doing their job. Their calls and appearances are irritating, but most of them abide by the law. However, some debt collectors cross the line and harass debtors in an attempt to collect payments.
A debt collector is not allowed to contact a debtor once they have filed for bankruptcy and after their debt has been discharged. Doing so violates federal law and gives cause for legal action. Speak with a bankruptcy attorney today if a debt collector has been harassing you.
Bankruptcy Attorney in Dallas County
Bankruptcy stops collection efforts for most debts, but some creditors will still attempt to collect payments. You will need to take legal action if a creditor continues to contact you once they’ve been notified of your discharge or Chapter 7 filing. Linda Littlefield is an accomplished bankruptcy lawyer who is not afraid to stand up against creditors.
Our initial consultations are always free. Call (972) 812-0900 to schedule a time to speak with us. We are based in Dallas County but also assist clients in Collin County, Kaufman County and Rockwall County.
- What Are Creditors Not Allowed to Do?
- Will Bankruptcy Stop Debt Collectors?
- Creditor Harassment After Bankruptcy
- Additional Resources
What Are Creditors Not Allowed to Do?
Debt collectors will hound debtors when debts go unpaid for some time. Their repeated calls and appearances at your home are not only an inconvenience but also annoying. Some debt collectors will go as far as harassment to have you pay your debts. Thankfully, their tactics are limited by the Fair Debt Collections Practices Act.
Debt collectors can call you day in and day out, but they cannot contact you between 9 p.m. and 8 a.m. Additional illegal tactics include:
- Calling without identifying them self
- Using or threatening to use violence or other criminal means to physically harm you, your reputation or property
- Insult you or use obscene language
- Publish your name in connection with your debt
- Make repeated calls with the intent to annoy, abuse or harass
- Pursue you for debts you do not owe
- Threaten to take legal action they cannot back up
- Advertise your debt is for sale as a way to coerce you to make a payment
- Call your family, friends or employers and publicize your debt (They can call these individuals to locate you, but they cannot mention your debts)
Collectors are legally allowed to pressure you into paying debts. What they can’t do, however, is threaten or mislead you into collecting payment. This pressure can include frequent letters, daily phone calls or talking about taking legal action to secure payment.
It’s a good idea to keep records of all your communication with a debt collector. You should keep a call log that includes the date, time and notes about the conversation you had with the collector. This can be used as evidence of harassment if you take the creditor to court.
Will Bankruptcy Stop Debt Collectors?
Collection calls can become so overwhelming you feel like there is no way out. Thankfully, the United States and Texas allow debtors with certain amounts of debt to file for Chapter 7 bankruptcy and be relieved from debts and collection efforts.
Filing for Chapter 7 comes with the benefits of the automatic stay, which is an injunction that halts collection efforts by debt collectors. According to the Bankruptcy Code, the stay will take effect the moment the bankruptcy petition is filed, and creditors are notified.
The automatic stay is very broad and applies to almost all pre-bankruptcy debts, but there are exceptions. Debt collectors can still contact you and seek payments for certain debts such as backed child support or alimony, restitution from criminal proceedings and loans from a pension.
Speak with a bankruptcy attorney to find out how you could benefit from the process.
Creditor Harassment After Bankruptcy
Most creditors will stop contacting you once they catch wind you filed for bankruptcy, but some might have slipped through the cracks and not been notified of your filing. A simple phone call or a letter from your attorney will typically stop their collection efforts. For other creditors, however, it is not always as simple.
A creditor is violating federal law when they continue to try and collect debt after they’ve been notified of your discharge or filing. Bankruptcy judges take a discharge order seriously and will punish those who willfully continue illegal collection efforts.
Speak with a bankruptcy attorney if creditors are still hounding you after discharge. Legal action may need to be taken against the offending creditor. In most cases, the creditor will be required to pay your attorney fees and you may be entitled to compensation for their violation of the bankruptcy code.
Harassment or Abuse | Fair Debt Collection Practices Act – Visit the Federal Trade Commission website to read the section of the Fair Debt Collection Practices Act governing creditor harassment and abuse. You can view a list of illegal tactics and learn about false or misleading representation.
Automatic Stay | United States Code – Learn more about the automatic stay by following the link. You can find out which collection efforts the stay can halt and collections that are not affected by the junction. The statute can be read on the Legal Information Institute, an online legal resource provided by Cornell Law School.
Bankruptcy Lawyer in Dallas, TX
Do not hesitate to speak with a bankruptcy attorney if you are having trouble with creditors. You may be eligible for Chapter 7 bankruptcy, which will halt certain debt collectors from contacting you. Getting started is easy. Call (972) 812-0900 to schedule a free consultation.
We assist clients with bankruptcy and related issues in Dallas and the surrounding area such as Plano, Talty and Rockwall.