Filing for bankruptcy can be a difficult decision for many people. While some people feel a stigma associated with bankruptcy, filing can often be the best financial solution when debt has reached an overwhelming level. Perhaps the biggest benefit associated with filing for bankruptcy is that harassing calls from creditors stop immediately.
When a person files for bankruptcy protection, the automatic stay is triggered. An automatic stay is a legal action that prohibits creditors from taking any further actions against the debtor, his or her possessions, and the bankruptcy estate. Any contact or attempt to collect further on your debts would be considered a violation of this stay. Unfortunately, sometimes creditors disobey this stay and continue calling. In addition to the violation of bankruptcy law, this is also considered an unfair debt collection practice under the Fair Debt Collection Practices Act (FDCPA) and can be stopped.
What Do I Do If Debt Collectors Keep Calling Me After I File for Bankruptcy?
If a debt collector has contacted you after you filed for bankruptcy, they may have violated the bankruptcy code and the FDCPA. If you are being harassed by unfair debt collection practices, you can do three things.
- Inform the creditor about the bankruptcy and ask them not to call again. When you inform the collector directly about your bankruptcy, they no longer have any excuse to continue their harassment. Sometimes the creditor is unaware of your bankruptcy due to error or negligence. They should discontinue calling and return any garnished wages immediately. Be sure to notify your attorney promptly so that we can provide notice as well.
- Your bankruptcy attorney will notify your bankruptcy court. The court will uphold your efforts to stop any unfair debt collection actions and may sanction the debt collector for any willful violations. These sanctions include imposing fines, assessing attorneys fees, and ordering the payment of damages.
- Your attorney can file a lawsuit against the collections party. If the creditor continues its harassment, you may deserve damages for your suffering due to dealing with their violation of the automatic stay. Consult your bankruptcy attorney to decide if you have a case.
Although you should never have to deal with unfair debt collection practices after you have filed for bankruptcy, you can still recover damages if it does happen. An experienced bankruptcy attorney will be able to help you stop the illegal actions by your creditors and get you the fair treatment you deserve. If you are in the process of filing for bankruptcy in Ohio, get the support of an experienced Cleveland bankruptcy attorney at Luftman, Heck & Associates. Call them today at (216) 586-6600 for a free consultation on your particular case.