Many people struggling with debt find that one of the most stressful parts of owing people money is dealing with debt collectors. Even though federal law mandates that debt collectors must treat debtors with respect, it's all too common that people report harassment, belittling treatment or other illegal actions on the part of debt collectors.
If you're ready to silence your debt collectors by filing for personal bankruptcy, take a moment to fill out this form, and we can connect you with a bankruptcy lawyer in your area for a free, no-obligation case evaluation.
Silencing Your Debt Collectors with Bankruptcy
If you dread answering the phone, checking the mail or looking at your paycheck because you're scared of coming into contact with a debt collector, you may be ready to consider filing for bankruptcy. Bankruptcy offers a variety of protections, including these:
- The automatic stay: This legal protection takes effect automatically when most bankruptcy petitions are filed. It works by prohibiting your creditors from taking any collection action against you, which includes garnishment, repossession, foreclosure and phone calls from debt collectors. The automatic stay may remain in effect for the duration of your bankruptcy case (which is generally less than six months in Chapter 7 bankruptcy and three to five years in Chapter 13).
- The debt discharge: Once your bankruptcy case is completed, you will likely receive a discharge of some or all of your unsecured debts. This means that the court will legally excuse you from responsibility for those debts. Any debt collector who attempts to collect on a debt discharged by the bankruptcy court would be breaking the law.
- The fresh financial start: Finally, bankruptcy offers filers the opportunity to start over financially, often with a better idea of how to handle financial matters. This is thanks in part to the debtor education (sometimes called "financial management") course that all bankruptcy filers must complete before they're eligible for their discharge.
Know Your Rights with Debt Collectors
Whether or not you decide to head to bankruptcy court, though, you have certain rights with debt collectors and you should speak up if they are being violated. Thanks to the Fair Debt Collection Practices Act, debt collectors:
- Can only call between 8am and 9pm local time
- Cannot call a debtor at work after they have been advised not to do so
- Cannot harass a debtor, a debtor's family or a debtor's friends to collect
- Cannot speak with anyone about a debt except a debtor and her lawyer
- Cannot contact a debtor's acquaintances for any reason except to locate the debtor
- Cannot physically or verbally threaten a debtor
- Cannot swear at a debtor or call him names
- Cannot call a debtor repeatedly with the intent to harass
- Cannot lie about their legal status or job
- Cannot threaten legal action if none is actually possible in the situation
- Cannot misrepresent the amount a debtor owes
Ask a Lawyer about Your Rights with Debt Collectors
If you think that your rights may have been violated by debt collectors or you're ready to silence your creditors by filing for bankruptcy, now is the time to consult with a bankruptcy lawyer for more information.
Bankruptcy protections can give you the financial relief you deserve. Connect with an attorney near you for a free case evaluation today.