Creditor Harassment is a real and serious issue for thousands of financially burdened debtors around the country. While debt collection is legal, harassment by collection agencies and creditors is not. Debt collectors are notorious for harassing debtors, violating the Bankruptcy Stay and attempting to collect debts already discharged in Bankruptcy. Several laws have been enacted that are specifically aimed at curbing illegal collection practices and safe guarding the interest of debtors including but not limited to Bankruptcy laws, Fair Debt Collection Practices Act (FDCPA), and Federal Telephone Consumer Protection Act (TCPA). Under these laws:
1. A debt collector (a third party collecting a debt on behalf of the original creditor or a debt buyer who bought a debt in default) may not attempt in any way (via letter, phone calls, emails, etc) to:
a. Collect a debt listed in your Bankruptcy petition after you have filed for Bankruptcy, or
b. Collect a debt discharged in your Bankruptcy
2. A creditor or debt collector may not:
a. Call your cell phone after receiving Notice of Bankruptcy using an automated dialing system. Most debt collectors and creditors use an automated dialing system to place calls.
b. Call a residential line after receiving a Notice of Bankruptcy using an artificial or prerecorded voice to deliver a message.
Bankruptcy filers are frequently the victims of abusive collection practices and commonly have a claim under FDCPA, TCPA and/or Bankruptcy laws against the creditor or debt collector. Favorable resolution of these claims strongly dependent upon Bankruptcy filers: (1) retaining all written communication received from creditors after the Bankruptcy filing; (2) keeping track of any and all phone calls received from the Creditor after the Bankruptcy filing; (3) saving all voice-mails received from a debt collector or creditor after the Bankruptcy filing. Creditors and Debt Collectors in violation of the FDCPA, TCPA and Bankruptcy laws may be liable for:
1) Statutory damages up to $1,000 PLUS attorneys’ fees under the FDCPA
2) $500 per violation under the TCPA
3) Actual damages and attorneys’ fees under Bankruptcy code.
If you feel that you are a victim of the above described practices, please contact me at (317) 721-9214 for a free consultation.