A frequent question that comes to our office is can creditors harass me after bankruptcy? The answer is a resounding NO! Creditors cannot continue to harass you after the discharge of your bankruptcy case. There is a specific federal law that protects you, the consumer, from creditor harassment. It is called the Fair Debt Collection Practices Act.
The Fair Debt Collection Practices Act, aka FDCPA, was created by the Federal Government to protect people from unscrupulous collections agencies and debt collectors. Basically, the FDCPA aims to eliminate abusive practices in the collection of consumer debts, promote fair debt collection, and provide consumers with an avenue for disputing and obtaining validation of debt information to ensure the information’s accuracy.
Collections Agencies Cannot
- Call you before 8:00 AM or after 9:00 PM.
- Continue to contact you after you tell them to stop. This should be done in writing.
- Annoy, abuse or harass you or other family members. This includes abusive and profane language.
- Call you at work.
- Contact you if you have an attorney and they know it.
- Deceive you in any way such as misrepresenting that they are an attorney or law enforcement officer.
- Threaten you with arrest.
- Published your name and address on any lists.
- Contact other third parties including the media.
- Report false information on your credit report.
Protection for Whom?
The Fair Debt Collection Practices Act applies to most personal and individual debt. This includes mortgages, credit cards, medical debts, car loans, and other debts for personal or household purposes. The FDCPA does not usually apply to business debts.
The Fair Debt Collection Practices Act protects debtors from harassment by debt collectors. Accordingly, if a debt collector has violated the FDCPA, you can sue the collector in Federal Court. If successful, you can collect monetary damages. In certain circumstances, you may be able to collect damages for physical distress, emotional distress, lost wages, recover wage garnishments, and statutory damages. And you may be able to recover attorney fees and costs.
Even if you do not recover any of the damages mentioned above, the Court can give you other relief. Maybe the most important relief filing a Court complaint can provide is to make the calls, the endless letters, and the harassment stop.
If you think a debt collector or collections agency has violated the FDCPA when trying to collect a debt from you, call me. I will look at your situation and guide you in the right direction.