When you file for bankruptcy, the first thing your attorney will probably tell you is to refer all of your creditors to the office. That’s one headache you shouldn’t have anymore.
This is why it can be so confusing and frustrating when a creditor pops up again after the bankruptcy is over and finally discharged. That’s not supposed to happen — but it still does.
The majority of creditors play within the rules, but some companies — particularly those who specialize in buying up old debts for pennies on the dollar — may not. There are a few out there that will flout the law in the hopes that they can talk a consumer into paying them to go away. They harass, cajole and even threaten debtors with collection efforts. They sometimes insist that they aren’t subject to the bankruptcy’s discharge because they were never notified.
Fortunately, bankruptcy laws protect consumers who have discharged their debts from this type of abuse. Once your bankruptcy was filed, an automatic stay goes into affect that prohibited creditors from collecting on your debt or contacting you, pending the discharge. If a creditor is properly notified that a debt was listed on the bankruptcy and that debt was subsequently discharged, the consumer is no longer responsible for that debt — even if it gets sold later. The debt may change hands, but it’s still the same debt listed in the bankruptcy.
Your protection lies in your bankruptcy paperwork — which is why your bankruptcy attorney was so insistent that you make certain every debt was listed. As long as proper notification was sent to the creditor that held the debt at the time of your bankruptcy, you have nothing to worry about. However, the creditor might. It’s a violation of the Fair Debt Collection Act to try to collect it.
If you’re being harassed by a creditor over a discharged debt, don’t let the situation distress you. A bankruptcy attorney can provide information on your legal options.