Filing for Bankruptcy Puts a Stop to Harassing Debt Collectors

For many Americans, the troubling state of the economy has left them with depleted bank accounts and an inability to keep up with their bills. When people cannot make timely payments, debt collectors eventually become involved. Often, the practices employed by these collectors are distressing and illegal. Americans who are faced with a seemingly never-ending stream of harassing phone calls from creditors would be wise to consult with a skilled bankruptcy attorney to ensure their rights are being protected.

Often, the most effective way to stop creditor harassment when you are unable to pay your bills is to file for bankruptcy protection. Upon filing, bankruptcy law requires creditors to stop all efforts at collecting debts. Therefore, creditors should not be contacting you to repay your debts after you have filed bankruptcy and the automatic stay goes into effect.

Nevertheless, not all creditors and debt collectors abide by the laws outlined in The Fair Debt Collection Practices Act and the Texas Deceptive Trade Practices - Consumer Protection Act.

Holding Harassing Debt Collectors Accountable

The FDCPA outlines specific practices that are considered unlawful by debt collectors under any circumstances. Generally, debt collectors are prohibited from engaging in behavior that is meant to "harass, oppress, or abuse" a person. Specifically, the law forbids:

  • Violence, or the threat of violence
  • Profane language, or other language meant to abuse the individual
  • Publication of the names of debtors
  • Harassing phone calls, meaning calls that are made "repeatedly or continuously"

In addition, creditors and debt collectors are required to abide by the automatic stay and cease contacting debtors once they have filed for bankruptcy. In some cases, lenders have employed lethargic practices, and do not have automatic alerts in place to inform debt collectors once an individual has filed for bankruptcy.

When a debt collector continues to make harassing telephone calls after bankruptcy has been filed, the bankruptcy court could sanction or penalize their improper behavior by awarding damages to you. Creditors are prohibited from willfully violating the automatic stay. Under bankruptcy law, a willful violation occurs when a creditor continues to attempt to collect payment on a bill after it becomes aware of your bankruptcy filing.

In such cases, it is critical to be aware of your rights and hold the harassing debt collectors accountable. If creditors are harassing you or otherwise violating the FDCPA, a knowledgeable bankruptcy attorney will be able to protect your rights. If you have already filed for bankruptcy and creditors continue their harassing practices, you should take action. It is best to keep a record of the phone calls and save bills and voicemail messages you receive after filing for bankruptcy. Then, a Dallas bankruptcy attorney will be able to advocate on your behalf, stop the harassing behavior and often help you receive just compensation for the violation.