You are protected under the Bankruptcy Protection Act if a creditor tries to collect on a discharged debt.
The relief you will have after your bankruptcy is discharged is huge. Just imagine going from one day not knowing how you are going to pay your bills to the next day having several of your debts wiped clean. This relief is substantial for most people, but sometimes creditors try to collect on debts that have already been discharged.
If this happens to you, don't worry. Sometimes the attempt to collect from the creditor is simply a fact of the creditor not being informed of your bankruptcy yet. In that case a lot of times you can just contact the creditor, let them know of your bankruptcy, and then they will just drop it.
If the creditor is not so nice and keeps trying to collect the debt, it is actually a violation of the Bankruptcy Protection Act. In her book, Bounce Back From Bankruptcy
, Paula Langguth Ryan lays out what you should do if the creditor tries to collect the debt.
She says to send the following letter to the creditor:
[City, State, Zip]
Re: [Your Social Security number and Account Number]
On [date], I received a [letter or phone call] from you attempting to collect on the above referenced debt.
On [date of discharge], this account was discharged under bankruptcy, [bankruptcy case number]. I trust that you will update your records to show that this debt has been discharged under bankruptcy and is no longer an outstanding debt. I also trust you will notify all credit bureaus that this debt was discharged under bankruptcy.
Enclosed are a copy of my final discharge papers and a copy of my bankruptcy schedule showing your debt listed. As you know, any attempt to collect on a discharged debt is in violation of both the Fair Debt Collection Act and the Bankruptcy Protection Law.
Any further contact from you regarding collection of this debt will be brought to the attention of the bankruptcy court as evidence of your violation and I will exercise my right to bring suit against you and recover damages of $1,000 or more for each incident, as is my right. I thank you in advance for your help in clearing up this matter and I trust that you will not attempt to collect this debt again.
cc: Federal Trade Commission
6th & Pennsylvania Avenue, NW
Washington, DC 20580
This letter lets the creditor know that you are well aware of your rights and it shows that you mean business.
If you have any questions don't hesitate to contact us to find out more or schedule a free consultation.
Source: Bounce Back From Bankruptcy, page 68-69