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After Bankruptcy

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16

Feb 2013

After bankruptcy–bills, calls and illegal harassment

Posted by / in After Bankruptcy / 7 comments

After bankruptcy, you might get a call or a bill on a debt that was discharged in your case.  Trying to collect a discharged debt during or after the bankruptcy is a violation of the bankruptcy stay–while your case is open–or bankruptcy discharge, once your case is closed.

Don’t get upset, but do take action.

Most judges don’t want to hear about problems “that could be fixed with one phone call,” so I have a benefit of the doubt policy–three steps.

Step one:  Tell the creditor you filed bankruptcy.  You want to say, I filed bankruptcy; you cannot contact me, call my lawyer, Robert Weed, at 434-993-5101.  You can say that on the phone, or write it on the bill and mail it back.  That solves most of these problems.

Mistakes happen and most of these contact are just mistakes.  Don’t be paranoid, but do keep notes!

Step Two:  If you get a second contact, email your paralegal.  Let them know that you told the creditor to call us and now you’ve gotten another contact.  If it’s a letter, scan and email the letter if you can.  If it’s a call, the phone number and person’s name if any.

If a creditor contacts you a second time, email your bankruptcy paralegal. AJ@robertweed.com, brenda@robertweed.com, ileana@robertweed.com, laura@robertweed.com, lori@robertweed.com, valerie@robertweed.com, or vanessa@robertweed.com. She will give the creditor a second warning

Your paralegal will contact the creditor and let them know they are about to be in trouble.  If there’s another call or bill, we’ll sue.

Step Three:  If the creditor keeps up after two warnings, we drag them in front of the bankruptcy judge. This is illegal harassment!  Even the most patient judges (and our judges here are pretty patient), will be mad at a creditor who contacts you three times after the bankruptcy.

We don’t get a lot of money in Virginia when we sue on these.  If they call or bill you when your case is open, the judge can award emotional damages and punitive damages for violating the bankruptcy stay.  Once the case is closed, about all you can get is attorneys fees for violating the discharge.  (In other words I get paid, you just get the creditor to stop.  The Fourth Circuit says you don’t get anything for being harassed or annoyed–only if you can’t sleep or throw up or something.)

Do the creditors always get the benefit of the doubt?    No, they don’t.  Our biggest exception is if you get a smart remark when you tell them to call your lawyer.

“Bankruptcy only covers the principal -this is for interest.”

“Our bank didn’t accept your bankruptcy filing.”

“Your lawyer filed the wrong kind of bankruptcy.”

If you get a smart remark like this, write it down and contact your paralegal right away.  They get to explain that BS to the judge without a second warning.

Do you always sue?  Laws, like locks, remind honest people to stay honest.  They don’t do much for criminals.  Sometimes, usually but not always on a payday loan, your debt ends up with a debt collector that’s part of “digital organized crime.”

These people know what they are doing is illegal and don’t care.  You can often tell them by their outrageous threats.  ”The sheriff is bringing a warrant around to your house tomorrow.”  And they often want you to make a payment–right away–by a service that’s hard to trace like Western Union Quick Collect.

The FBI might be able to find those guys–I won’t be able to.  The best you can do, is file a complaint with the Federal Trade Commission.    That might eventually get them shut down.

 

 

 

 

 

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Robert Weed has helped twelve thousand people file bankruptcy in Northern Virginia. Robert Weed is a frequent panelist and speaker at the meetings of the National Association of Consumer Bankruptcy Attorneys. He is one of Northern Virginia’s most experienced personal bankruptcy lawyers. As an expert on changing consumer bankruptcy laws, Robert Weed has been interviewed on local and national TV and quoted in newspapers across the country.

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7 comments
  • FSSK Law

    February 21, 2013, pm28 12:12 PM
    01

    Great blog here, Robert, and good advice for fending off the doggedly persistent creditors who will eventually drive you mad. It’s important for those who’ve gone through bankruptcy to understand their rights, and how the bankruptcy stay/discharge work.

    • Robert Weed

      February 23, 2013, pm28 3:57 PM
      02

      FSSK

      Thanks for your encouraging words!

  • Alex

    April 5, 2013, pm30 4:59 PM
    03

    This article was awesome!! Thank you. Being fairly new to the bankruptcy arena I am constantly trying to gather as much information as possible to try and keep myself headed in the right general direction. Spending some time on this post has actually given me a lot of great points to think about. In my recent research I have also been able to find some pretty useful information related to this topic when I Googled the credit locker university. Thanks again!

    • Robert Weed

      April 6, 2013, pm30 9:46 PM
      04

      Alex:

      Thank you for your kind words.

  • edward richardson

    August 8, 2013, pm31 9:34 PM
    05

    i got discharged 7 months ago on a chapter 7 and i discharged a home in md that was through BAC and everyday i get phone calls wanting to know what i am going to do to make my payments i told them and sent a copy of my schedule and discharge paper work they keep calling there is no recourse for me that i would get compensated.

    I also have voice mails of them trying to collect.

    • Robert Weed

      Robert Weed

      August 8, 2013, pm31 11:05 PM
      06

      Ed:

      Time to sue! Time to sue! Time to sue!

      For my clients, I promise that when this happens, I’ll sue. And I do–Bank of America (is that your BAC) is one of the worst offenders on this. You need a bankruptcy lawyer who stands behind his work. Time to sue!

  • Robert Weed

    Robert Weed

    January 7, 2014, pm31 9:22 PM
    07

    Here is the 4th Circuit saying that you should talk to your lawyer–and your lawyer should go to the bankruptcy judge–if you are “justifiably concerned” that you “might” need to defend yourself “from future collection efforts.” http://robertweed.com/wp-content/uploads/2014/01/Fina-Decision.pdf. The bill collectors “apparent attempts to comply with the law are irrelevant.”

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