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When debt collectors call after your discharge

When you file for bankruptcy in New York, all of your listed creditors are provided with a notice of your filing. They also receive notification of your discharge once you successfully complete all of your bankruptcy obligations. There are, however, occasions when debt collectors will attempt to collect a debt that was included in your discharge.

In many instances, a simple mistake is the issue. For example:

  • The notice from the court was not received
  • The notice was received, but the clerk entered your name or social security number incorrectly
  • Their previous listing for you had an incorrect spelling of your name

Whatever the reason, your debt appears to remain delinquent and may eventually be sold to third-party debt collectors or debt buyers for pennies on the dollar. This collector will not know that you filed for bankruptcy because the notice went to the bank or whoever the original creditor was. When they call or send a letter, you or your bankruptcy attorney can provide them with details of your filing, fixing the problem quickly.

Some debt collectors, however, will persist in trying to collect even after receiving confirmation of your bankruptcy and discharge. These companies usually hope that you will be so intimidated by their aggressive approach that you will cave in and pay. This persistence stems from the fact they don’t get paid until you settle the debt in full or for an amount that justifies their efforts.

If this happens, then you have the option of suing them for violating the automatic stay and discharge injunction. This is a recommended option for debt collectors who clearly know that the debt they are after was discharged in a previous bankruptcy. Every year the Federal Trade Commission receives thousands of complaints about unethical debt collection practices, and such behavior can be typical of companies that value profit over the law.

Debt buyers purchase entire portfolios of charged-off debts for pennies on the dollar, so any small amount they are able to collect represents a profit. They are more likely to persist until they get something from you or are summoned to court for violating the Fair Debt Collection Practices Act, or FDCPA.

No matter who is trying to do the collecting, or whether it is an honest mistake or a calculated attempt to get money from you, never let yourself be bullied or pressured into paying a debt that was included in your bankruptcy. If you are being harassed, then contact your bankruptcy attorney or hire a consumer attorney to help you file a complaint against the company for violating the Fair Debt Collection Practices Act, or FDCPA. If the case is decided in your favor, then you could be awarded $1,000 per violation in addition to court costs and attorney fees.

If you are being harassed by creditors or are looking for a fresh financial start, then contact the law office of Jayson Lutzky. Mr. Lutzky handles personal bankruptcy cases for clients in the Greater New York City Area. He offers free in-office consultations in his Bronx, NY office located only one block from the 4-train. Call 718-329-9500 to schedule an appointment or visit www.MyNewYorkCityLawyer.com.

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