Can Creditors Contact You After You File for Bankruptcy?

When you file for bankruptcy, an automatic stay is issued. This was created to ensure that the debtors are protected from creditors. An automatic stay is also intended to stop creditors from contacting you. Unfortunately, many people find that their creditor still contacts them after they have filed for bankruptcy. There are several things that you can do about this.

What to Do if a Creditor Contacts You

Creditors receive a notice in the mail that tells them to stop contacting you. However, if you did not give the right address, then the creditor may never receive the notice. You should go to the court and verify that the information is correct. Give them the updated address if the current one is incorrect.

If everything is correct and the creditor is still contacting you, then you should contact your attorney. Your lawyer will likely send a letter to the creditor that tells them that you have filed for bankruptcy. The letter will also state that they can no longer attempt to collect debt from you, so they have to stop contacting you. If the creditor still attempts to contact you, then they can be sued for harassment.

It is also important to note that you have to list all of your creditors on your bankruptcy schedules. Many people forget to list a creditor. If you forgot to put a creditor, then you will have to update the Schedule F form. You have to pay a fee to update this form. If you intentionally did not put a creditor on the form, then that debt may not be discharged in bankruptcy.

What Determines If a Creditor Can Be Sued

There are many factors that will determine if a creditor will be required to pay compensation to you for violating the automatic stay. The creditor has to be aware that you have filed for bankruptcy and still contacted you. They also must not have taken actions to correct this after they knew that you filed for bankruptcy. Additionally, an attorney must prove that the creditor’s actions were intentional.

How Can You be Compensated for Harassment?

When creditors call, email or send mail to people who have filed for bankruptcy, this is a violation of the Bankruptcy Code. There are several ways that you can be compensated for this. For example, the creditor may be required to pay compensation directly to you for the harassment.

The court can also order the creditor to pay fines. Additionally, your creditor may have to pay for your legal fees. It is common for the court to also order the creditor to pay punitive damages. Punitive damages are not awarded to you. The main purpose of punitive damages is to further punish the defendant and dissuade them from doing the same thing in the future.

There are also state and federal laws that apply to bankruptcy cases. If a creditor is found to have violated state or federal laws, then they can be ordered to pay additional fines.