When you file for bankruptcy, the automatic stay prohibits debt collectors from taking action against you. Once you obtain your discharge order, which eliminates your dischargeable debts, debt collectors are barred from pursuing collection activity against you for discharged debts. However, it is possible that a collector may try to contact you even after your discharge order has been entered. Below are a few suggestions for how to handle the collector if this happens to you:
- Don’t panic. In most cases, the debt collector has simply made a mistake that can easily be resolved.
- Review your bankruptcy pleadings to confirm that the creditor was listed in your case with a valid mailing address.
- Verify that your discharge order was entered by the court. If you are not sure whether you have received your discharge, your bankruptcy attorney or the court clerk can assist you. It is essential to keep a copy of your discharge order with your important records.
- It is important to understand that there are a few types of debt that cannot be discharged. Thus, you should confirm that the debt the collector is seeking to collect is dischargeable. The majority of consumer debts such as credit cards and medical bills are dischargeable.
- If the creditor was listed in your bankruptcy pleadings, the debt being collected was dischargeable, and you properly received your discharge order, you should contact the creditor and inform them. It is helpful you provide the creditor with a copy of your discharge order.
- It is wise to confirm your conversation with the debt collector in a follow-up letter. Be sure to mention that you provided a copy of your discharge order. Keep a copy of this letter for your records.
Taking the above steps will typically resolve the issue. However, if the collector continues to harass you, contact us for help. A debt collector that intentionally violates your bankruptcy discharge order can be held monetarily liable by a court.
Please keep in mind that every case is different. If you have questions about how to deal with a debt collector after a debt has been discharged, and would like to schedule a no-cost consultation, please contact our office by completing the form on this website or calling us at (954) 932-5377.