When you file a petition for bankruptcy under any chapter, an automatic stay on collection action is issued by the court. All creditors that are listed on your petition will receive notice of the bankruptcy filing and almost all of them are required by law to stop all collection actions. This means they should not call you on the phone, send you bills through the mail or garnish your wages.
How to deal with collectors during the pendency of the proceeding
If you do receive a telephone call from a creditor, you should tell them you have filed for bankruptcy. The only question they can legally ask you after they are informed of the bankruptcy filing is the name and contact number of your attorney. End of story. Any further questions or collection action may be a violation of the law. This is true even if the debt is one that is likely not to be discharged at the conclusion of the bankruptcy proceeding.
How to deal with collectors who try to collect for a discharged debt
It is unfortunate, but some collectors may still try to collect a debt after it has been discharged in bankruptcy. Some people who are taken by surprise by the post-discharge phone call from a debt collector actually agree to make a payment. In fact, the collector who attempts to collect a debt that was discharged in bankruptcy may have violated the law.
Contact your bankruptcy attorney
If a debt collector who is listed on your bankruptcy petition attempts to collect the debt during the pendency of the proceeding, or tries to collect on a debt that was discharged, contact your bankruptcy attorney. The collector may be in violation of both the bankruptcy code and the Fair Debt Collections Practices Act (FDCPA). Ask your attorney if you have an action for damages.
The Sader Law Firm offers a free phone consultation and our experience Kansas City bankruptcy attorneys can help answer your questions about your situation.