What to Do if a Creditor Harasses You
You've started the proceedings to declare bankruptcy some time ago - and yet your creditors are still calling you constantly. There's not a moment's peace from these creditors: if they're not contacting you by letter, they're contacting you throughout the day, be it at work or at home. It has come to the point where you're so sick of hearing from them that you're actually considering paying them some money, just so they will leave you alone.
If you've declared bankruptcy, take heart: what these creditors are doing is actually illegal. Under the Fair Debt Collection Practices Act (FDCPA), a creditor must cease all collection activities once you've filed for bankruptcy. If they continue to harass you for payment, you and your bankruptcy lawyer can take a number of steps to protect yourself, including legal action. Some cases have even gone to court, where creditors are forced to pay for pain and suffering as a result of their debt collection abuse .
So what should you do if a creditor is harassing you? Simply follow these need-to-know tips:
- If a creditor calls you, immediately let them know that you've filed for bankruptcy. Most debt collection agencies use an automated speed dial system, which means that they might not have been updated with your information. In most cases, simply alerting your creditors that you've filed for bankruptcy is enough to get them off of your back.
- Are your creditors still harassing you? Now it's time to take serious action. Send a certified letter to the collection agency demanding that they stop contacting you (you might want to get guidance from your bankruptcy lawyer when drafting this letter). Be sure to get a notification of when they receive the letter. If they contact you again, write down the time and date, and bring it to your bankruptcy lawyer ASAP.
- Now that the creditor has shown clear intentions to violate your rights, you can take legal action. Have your bankruptcy lawyer alert the courts as to a creditor's illegal actions, and the courts can demand it stop. Once this decision has been made, you can opt to take the creditor to small claims court and sue for pain and suffering. You may need to hire a separate lawyer for this case, so be sure to include legal fees.
Be sure to protect your rights when a creditor is harassing you during bankruptcy!