Wednesday, October 26, 2011

FAQ #30: I Received My Discharge, but Creditors are Still Calling Me. What Should I Do?

Although you no longer owe any scheduled (and dischargeable) debts following your bankruptcy, it is important that you do not simply ignore a creditor’s efforts to collect a debt after discharge.

Call your attorney right away, and be sure to provide copies of any letters, bills or notices you received, or the name, business name and telephone number of the creditor or collection agency that has contacted you. Any creditor that received notice of your bankruptcy and was included on the creditor matrix cannot continue to collect any debt that was discharged. Any entity that does so is in contempt of an Order of the U.S. Bankruptcy Court.

Any efforts to attempt to collect a discharged debt are unlawful, and if the creditor’s actions are deemed to be a willful violation of the Court’s Order, the creditor can be forced to pay the debtor’s actual damages, and, in certain cases, punitive damages. As a practical matter, most cases of a creditor attempting to collect on a discharged debt can be resolved with a simple letter to the creditor, as well as a copy of the Discharge and Creditor Matrix. Additional bankruptcy litigation (and the costs associated with having to go to Court is usually not necessary.

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