Does Bankruptcy Stop Creditor Calls?
Feb. 6, 2023
Nobody is immune to money struggles, and even the most financially responsible can be hit with an unexpected expense that can knock them off their feet. When this happens, you may feel like you’re scrambling for solutions to stay on top of your debts. And when creditors won’t stop harassing you for payment, you may feel overwhelmed.
It’s important to understand that even in these difficult times, you still retain rights under both state and federal law, and you have options available to you. Don't face your choices alone. Speak with a qualified attorney who can help you better understand your situation and your choices, and reach out to the law offices of Christopher J. Kane, P.C. Whether you’d like to file for bankruptcy or just want to know how to limit creditor harassment, Attorney Christopher J. Kane can help those in Portland, Oregon. He also serves those throughout Oregon, including Clackamas County, Washington County, Columbia County, and Yamhill County.
Defining Creditor Harassment
Chances are, if you’re behind on your credit card payments or other debt obligations, you don’t need someone calling you multiple times a day to remind you. Though this may be frustrating and annoying, creditors do have a right to contact debtors to pursue payment though there are clear legal limits on what they can and can’t do. You can’t accuse someone of creditor harassment simply because they’re calling and sending you letters. In general, this is fully permitted and the only way to really put an end to it is by paying off your debts or by declaring bankruptcy.
In the meantime though, you should be aware of what’s considered harassment, and what’s legally permitted as standard business practice:
Typically, creditors are only allowed to contact you between the hours of 8:00 am and 9:00 pm unless you give explicit permission to call outside this window.
While they are allowed to contact you at work, if you tell them that you’re not allowed to receive calls at your place of employment, they must stop.
They need to follow the Fair Debt Collection Practices Act.
One of the major federal laws that protects consumers is the Fair Debt Collection Practices Act (FDCPA). This law states that creditors are prohibited from doing the following:
using threatening or abusive language
deliberately deceiving you or misrepresenting themselves
threatening you in any way
calling you repeatedly with the intention of harassing you
If you feel a creditor is violating this law, you can and should report their actions to the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau (CFPB).
Will Filing for Bankruptcy Stop Creditor Harassment?
Filing for bankruptcy is nobody’s first choice when it comes to solving their financial problems, but under certain circumstances, this could be your best option. And, though there are other considerations to take into account before you decide to declare it, bankruptcy should give you immediate relief from creditor harassment.
Once you’ve filed your application, the courts will issue something called an automatic stay on your accounts. This means that creditors are barred from contacting you about your debts while your bankruptcy case is being processed, and it can also save you temporarily from an eviction and end wage garnishment. If a creditor ignores the automatic stay order, that is another form of creditor harassment which a bankruptcy attorney can help you handle.
While the automatic stay will provide immediate relief, it’s only temporary until your case is decided. It’s also essential to understand that not all debts can be eliminated by filing for bankruptcy. Debts like student loans, unpaid taxes, or unpaid child or spousal support payments will not be affected by this. However, most consumer debt like credit cards, auto loans, medical bills, or personal loans can be eliminated.
Do I Need a Bankruptcy Lawyer?
Although you are well within your rights to file for bankruptcy on your own, many people choose to work with an experienced lawyer, for good reason. An attorney on your side can help in many ways:
They can educate you about your options.
They can help you fully understand how the choices you make today will affect your life months and years down the line.
They can guide you through the filing process ensuring you’ve included all applicable paperwork.
They can negotiate on your behalf to set up the best possible arrangement for your financial situation.
They can help you handle any ongoing creditor harassment.
However, perhaps the best use of a bankruptcy attorney is using their expertise and experience to teach you how to rebuild your credit, avoid common pitfalls, and take precautions so as not to end up back where you started. A quality attorney should care about you as a person and really take the time to listen to your concerns and address them in a way where you feel comfortable with the entire process.
Fight Against Harassment With an Attorney’s Help
If you’re in the Portland, Oregon, area and would like to speak with a competent bankruptcy attorney about your options when facing creditor harassment, reach out to Christopher J. Kane, P.C. to schedule a consultation.