What Can I Do If I Still Get Bills And Harassing Calls After I File My Bankruptcy?

30 May What Can I Do If I Still Get Bills And Harassing Calls After I File My Bankruptcy?

If you continue to get bills and phone calls from creditors AFTER you filed your bankruptcy petition, be sure to bring it to the attention of your bankruptcy lawyer.

I always tell my bankruptcy clients that the bills will stop coming and the phone will stop ringing with collection calls shortly after they file their bankruptcy petition. So I’m not surprised when my clients think I don’t know what I’m talking about if the calls and letters keep coming. They especially question my ability when the creditor tells them that they can�t discharge their debt, and that their lawyer has steered them wrong.

As you might imagine, this really ticks me off. I actually do know what I am talking about, at least in regard to how bankruptcy will work for my clients. The truth is that the creditors are legally prohibited from contacting my clients after the bankruptcy is filed. But sometimes they do it anyway.

I used to send the offending creditor a nice letter saying something like “please stop sending my client any more letters or phone calls”. Often, this approach didn’t work.And besides, the creditors know full well that they can’t contact my clients after the bankruptcy is filed. So why do they do it?…Because they make money.

I have sometimes learned long after the fact, that a creditor contacted my client after they filed bankruptcy, told them they still had to pay, and the client went ahead and paid the creditor. They didn�t call me to ask about it, they just paid the creditor. This is why I get so mad at creditors who just disregard the rules and violate the �automatic stay� that is imposed by the court the minute the bankruptcy is filed.

I no longer send out my “nice” letter. Now, I sue them in bankruptcy court for violating the automatic stay. I make a motion for violation of the automatic stay. In the motion I request that the Court order the offending creditor to pay damages to my client and legal fees to me for having to bring the motion. The offending creditors often respond to my motion. They say something like �well, no harm, no foul � the debtor didn�t pay us, so what’s the big deal?�

It is a big deal. Their action is a violation of the Bankruptcy law, and prevents the debtor from getting the “fresh start” that he or she is entitled to.

I love being able to help individuals and families get the burden of debt off their shoulders, save their homes, cars and marriages. I especially love forcing creditors who violate the automatic stay to pay real money to my clients. This month alone, I have sent checks to 10 clients totaling thousands of dollars. You would think that having to pay for their transgressions would stop the creditors from violating the automatic stay. Think again.

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Peter Orville is a bankruptcy lawyer in Binghamton, located in the Southern Tier of New York. He is a member and New York co-chair of the National Association of Consumer Bankruptcy Attorneys.
1Comment
  • Sofia Williams
    Posted at 17:12h, 18 May

    Hello Mr Orville:

    After filing chapter 7 back in June 2010, I am still getting phone calls on a regular basis from Chase Bank. I advised them on several occasions that I have filed bk 7 and asked them not to call me again. They continue to do so. My case was dismissed back in September 2010. I am also getting letters from collection companies. My lawyer advised them to let them know about my situation. Well, I have but I am still being harassed. What should I do? Thanks, Sofia.