Bankruptcy Chapter 7 & 13

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Calls and Threats
Calls can be annoying or frightening.

Calls from aggressive collection agents to your home or work are an early, common collection procedure. These calls can be annoying, and even frightening. Calls to you at work can be embarrassing and threaten your job.

 When a petition is filed under either Chapter 7, "Bankruptcy", or Chapter 13, "Debt Adjustment", an order of protection automatically stays or prohibits all collection activities of your creditors.  [11 USC �362(a)(6)]  Creditors and collection agents are no longer allowed to make any calls or other attempts to collect the debt.

What stops the calls?  See Protection from Creditors.

What if you had a prior bankruptcy within the last year?  See the Caution on the Protection from Creditors page.

What if you had a prior bankruptcy within the last 8 years?  See Who is Eligible.


What Debt Collectors Can and Can't Do

Congress enacted the Fair Debt Collection Practices Act (FDCPA) to prohibit some actions of debt collectors which were considered unfair or abusive.  A debt collector is someone who regularly collects debts owed to others.  The term includes lawyers who collect debts for their clients, but does not include the creditor to whom money is owed.  The act applies only to debt collectors (not the creditor), and only for the collection of  personal, family, and household debts, including car payments, medical bills, and credit card accounts.

Under the Fair Debt Collection Practices Act:

  • Debt collectors may contact you only between 8 a.m. and 9 p.m.
  • Debt collectors may not contact you at work if they know your employer disapproves.
  • Debt collectors may not harass, oppress, or abuse you.
  • Debt collectors may not lie when collecting debts, such as falsely implying that you have committed a crime.
  • Debt collectors must identify themselves to you on the phone.
  • Debt collectors must stop contacting you if you ask them to do so in writing.

For details, see Fair Debt Collection.

Note:  The Bankruptcy stay is much broader than the Fair Debt Collection Practices Act.  It prohibits anyone--the debt collector, the creditor, and any other agent--from contacting the debtor to attempt to collect a debt. 


This page was last revised: 02/18/09