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Creditor Harassment Before Bankruptcy

February 22, 2013

Creditor harassment is a prime reason that motivates people to seek bankruptcy assistance. Telephone calls at home and work, threatening letters, lawsuits, garnishments, and bank seizures can make your life miserable. When enough is enough, call an experienced bankruptcy attorney and get some relief! Once you file a bankruptcy petition, all creditor harassment including all legal action, must stop immediately.

The Fair Debt Collections Practices Act (FDCPA) is a federal law that protects consumers from creditor harassment. Part of this law prohibits third party collectors from directly contacting you after you have retained an attorney to deal with your debt, which includes a bankruptcy attorney. An original creditor, like Capital One, is not a “third party collector” and does not fall under the FDCPA. A collection agency or an attorney hired by Capital One is a third party collector, and cannot continue to call or write you. Third party collectors must call your attorney, although any legal action can continue until you file your bankruptcy case.

Creditor harassment could continue even after you hire a bankruptcy attorney. The likely reason for this is that the creditor has not received any information that changes your status. Informing the creditor that you have retained an attorney is generally sufficient to stop the harassment. Tell the creditor, “I’m filing bankruptcy, call my attorney!” and give the caller your bankruptcy attorney’s name and telephone number. Original creditors usually stop telephone contact after this for fear of violating the bankruptcy automatic stay. Third party collectors know that by law they can no longer call you.

Once your bankruptcy petition is filed, the clerk of the bankruptcy court will send notices to all of your creditors informing them of the bankruptcy automatic stay. Contact your attorney immediately if you are contacted by a creditor after your bankruptcy case is filed.

Hiring a bankruptcy attorney can provide temporary relief from creditor harassment. Filing bankruptcy and obtaining a discharge of your debts guarantees that you are no longer legally liable for the discharged debts. Any further contact from a discharged creditor violates the federal court order and subjects the creditor to sanctions for contempt of court. If you need this powerful legal protection from creditor harassment, contact an experienced bankruptcy attorney today!


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