Are you a victim of creditor harassment? One of the biggest motives for filing bankruptcy may be debt collection. If you are behind on payments or large expenses are taking over your life, bankruptcy may be an option that provides relief. However, debt collection and harassment from creditors may still be hanging over your head. Don’t let creditor harassment make you feel lost or ashamed.

Having an attorney to help you through bankruptcy and debt collection may help lighten the burden. John Dunlap is an experienced attorney who has dealt with debt collector abuse and wage garnishments in bankruptcy. Call us today to receive a free 30 minute session regarding your case. 

Could Automatic Stay Help You Stop Debt Collection Harassment?

What is an automatic stay? The automatic stay is a Federal Court Order that stops your creditors from taking any further collection the moment your case is filed. The bankruptcy court will automatically stop creditors from trying to collect payments on debts that you may owe throughout your bankruptcy period. 

When you file for bankruptcy, an automatic stay stops or pauses harassment from collectors.  Creditors must stop harassing you, can’t garnish your wages, and can’t repossess your vehicle while you are in the bankruptcy process. Automatic stay has the potential to stop or pause: 

  • Vehicle repossessions
  • Wage garnishments
  • Evictions and foreclosures
  • Collector calls or letters
  • Creditor harassment

While the automatic stay covers nearly all attempts of creditors trying to collect, it may not cover certain debts. For example, if any debts are collected after the bankruptcy period has already begun, the automatic stay will not cover those debts. If you are having trouble understanding what the automatic stay will and will not cover, having an attorney assist you can be beneficial to your case. 

Stop Debt Collection Abuse

Without filing an automatic stay as part of a bankruptcy, some creditors may continue to try to collect debt from you. This can include debt collection harassment and payment due notices or threats of a lawsuit. Creditor harassment can be annoying and may cause you to feel even more lost and confused about your debt than before. Don’t become a victim of harassment and let an attorney help you put a stop it. 

Filing an automatic stay may help stop creditors from harassing you. Once it is in effect, creditors cannot file lawsuits until the bankruptcy period is over and must only communicate with your attorney. Although it may not put a stop to everything, the automatic stay may help you if you are at risk of being evicted, forclosed on, unemployed, behind on credit card payments, or any areas where creditors may be seeking payments on debts owed. Automatic stays can also help stop harassment during the bankruptcy process. 

How long the automatic stay remains in effect is dependent on the duration of your bankruptcy. However, in special circumstances the automatic stay may be lifted or dismissed before bankruptcy is discharged. Consulting with an experienced attorney about your finances and whether filing for bankruptcy is the right choice for you may help you make an informed decision.

What if collectors violate automatic stay?

Although creditors are not supposed to continue harassing you, sometimes they may. If creditors don’t stop contacting you after you have notified them, there are a few options you have when this violation occurs.

  • Notify your creditors. Some creditors may not be aware that you are filing for bankruptcy, so it is often beneficial for you or your attorney to let them know. If you notify them in a timely fashion, they may correct their automatic stay violation. 
  •  Notify bankruptcy court. If you find that creditors won’t stop harassing you after the automatic stay has taken place, you have the option of notifying the bankruptcy court. If the court finds that they are willfully contacting you, meaning that they are aware of your automatic stay and are violating it anyway, then the court may issue a penalty or fine them for doing so.

Dealing with creditors can be difficult and may leave you feeling lost. Having an experienced attorney can make it easier. John Dunlap has worked on many bankruptcy cases and may be willing to help you. We offer free 30 minutes sessions to discuss your case.