20 Jul How Do I Stop Creditor Harassment Prior to Filing My Bankruptcy Case In California?
Frequently, debtors are harassed by creditors prior to the filing of their bankruptcy case. Is there a way to prevent creditor harassment and contact in California? Can a debtor stop all future communications from the creditor?
If the debt is for consumer purposes (for personal, family, or living expenses), then there are effective ways to end all creditor communications. Under the Rosenthal Fair Debt Collections Practices Act, all consumer creditors must cease all future communications with a debtor if any of the following takes place:
1) The creditor is notified that the debtor is represented by an attorney with respect to the debt;
2) The creditor is sent a written “cease and desist” letter signed by the debtor instructing the creditor to no longer contact the debtor; or
3) The creditor is sent a written notice that the debtor “refuses to pay” the debt.
If the creditor makes any additional contact with the debtor after the forgoing, then it has broken the law and is subject to statutory penalties of up to $1000 per act, actual damages, attorney fees, and costs. This law is virtually a strict liability statute so there is really no defense the creditor may assert. Essentially, if one can prove the creditor had notice of any of the forgoing, and something as simple as a billing statement arrives after notice, then it broke the law and must pay damages,
Moreover, if the creditor is also advised that the debt is “disputed,” the creditor must report that fact to any credit bureaus it reports to, otherwise it’s a separate violation, and again subject to statutory penalties, actual damages, attorney fees, and costs. Its not uncommon for creditors to continue to report the debt not as disputed and break the law monthly after such notice.
So if you are contemplating Bankruptcy, and your creditors are harassing you for payment, simply put a quick end to it by retaining competent legal counsel. Chances are, most creditors will immediately obey the laws and end the communications, and the few that do not, will end up paying you damages, which will very likely pay for the entire bankruptcy filing process!
Written by Michael G. Doan
Bankruptcy Law Network (BLN)
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