Automatic Bankruptcy Stays: How Do You Handle Creditor Harassment After You File?

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Every individual who files Chapter 7 bankruptcy receives an automatic stay during their case. But if you receive multiple threatening and blatantly abusive telephone calls, emails, or texts from a creditor during your Chapter 7 proceedings, speak to a consumer bankruptcy lawyer immediately. You may have a creditor harassment case on your hands. Learn how to handle creditor harassment below.

What Exactly Is Creditor Harassment?

With a few exceptions, an automatic stay prevents collection agencies and creditors from contacting bankruptcy petitioners about their debt, including court judgments and liens. If a creditor wishes to bring or continue a lawsuit against filers, they must ask the bankruptcy court to lift the automatic stay for them. However, some creditors don't make their requests known to the bankruptcy court. The creditors choose to call and harass debtors instead. 

Creditor harassment may include a number of things, including calling debtors multiple times during the evening hours. Some creditors may reach out a debtor's family members for payment. When confronted about the phone calls and/or letters, some creditors may claim they didn't receive notice of your filing. The lack of knowledge may be unintentional or deceptive, depending on the creditors involved. 

If a creditor's harassing calls, emails, and letters overwhelm you, take your concerns to a consumer bankruptcy attorney.

Is There a Specific Way to Handle Creditor Harassment?

A bankruptcy attorney may handle your case in many ways. A lawyer may call the harassing creditor directly and ask them to seize contacting you, or an attorney may send their request in writing. If the creditor disregards an attorney's verbal or written requests, a bankruptcy attorney may report the harassment to your trustee. 

A lawyer may not have any choice but to file a legal suit against the creditor. An attorney must provide specific evidence of the creditor's harassment, including any letters and emails you received during your automatic stay. If the creditor left voicemails or texts on your phone, be sure to provide a lawyer copies of these items as well. 

You may be able to receive monetary compensation from the creditor who violated your automatic stay. A lawyer may also request compensation for their fees as well. If you don't understand how a harassment suit works, be sure to speak to an attorney immediately. 

If you face harassment from one or more creditors and don't know what to do about it, contact a consumer bankruptcy attorney today.