If you are dealing with creditors and collections agents who won’t stop calling or harassing you to pay back a debt you can’t afford, it’s frustrating to say the least. You may start getting calls at all hours of the day or even at your place of work.
Fortunately, it is possible to stop these harassing calls and letters by going into bankruptcy and using an automatic stay.
What is an automatic stay?
When you file for bankruptcy, an automatic stay goes into place immediately. This stay immediately stops all collection efforts. That includes foreclosure actions, calls, letters and other contact about your debts.
An automatic stay keeps creditors away from you and asks that they contact your attorney or the court for further support collecting their debts. If they do not obey this stay, then you may be able to sue them for violating the law.
What should you do if you’re still being harassed by creditors?
In the United States, an automatic stay goes into effect immediately once you file for bankruptcy. That doesn’t necessarily mean that creditors or collections agents will know right away, though. If you get a call, you can answer it. Tell the creditor or collections agent that you’ve filed for bankruptcy. If you have an attorney you’re working with, you can refer them to the attorney for more information. You don’t have to answer any other questions or set up payment arrangements with the people who have called you.
As a debtor, you have the right to sue anyone who contacts you or attempts to sue you following an automatic stay going into effect. Some creditors may believe they have grounds to have the stay removed. If so, they can petition the court for that, but they cannot assert that they had the stay removed without evidence of doing so. Be cautious if any creditor continues to call and say you owe money when you’re already in bankruptcy.
This is a complex situation, but an automatic stay protects you. If you are still getting calls, you can take action against the collections agents or creditors who are violating your rights.