Learning About Bankruptcy Proceedings

Debt Collectors Calling Post-Bankruptcy? What Should You Do?

by Seth Beck

If you've recently had your eligible debts discharged in a Chapter 7 bankruptcy, you may be relieved at the thought of no longer receiving threatening phone calls, voicemails, or letters from your creditors. However, in some situations, you may find yourself receiving these communications months (or even years) after your bankruptcy has been finalized. What can you do to quash these contacts and prevent further damage to your credit report? Read on to learn more about what causes some creditors to continue to contact you after your debt with them has been vacated.

What effect does a Chapter 7 bankruptcy have on your outstanding debt?

When your Chapter 7 plan has been approved and the court issues an order discharging your debt, you are no longer legally responsible for repayment of the discharged debts. In some cases, you may wish to keep (or reaffirm) certain types of debt, such as a mortgage or car loan. (If you don't reaffirm these loans, or fall behind in your monthly payments, you'll be required to give up your home or car to pay the outstanding balance.) 

One of the most important jobs of the bankruptcy trustee, as well as your bankruptcy attorney, is to scour all public records and credit reports to ensure that any debt held in your name is addressed in the bankruptcy filing. If a creditor does not receive notice that you are filing bankruptcy, it may still be able to come after you for payment of an outstanding loan. However, in most cases, anyone seeking repayment after a Chapter 7 bankruptcy has been approved by the court will be unable to collect on their debt. 

What should you do if a debt collector continues to call you after your Chapter 7 discharge?

Occasionally, a creditor will fail to receive notice that a specific debt held in your name has been discharged in bankruptcy. When this happens, there is a fairly simple process to formally inform the creditor and prevent future contact.

If the creditor has contacted you by phone, request that he or she send any payment demands or requests in a letter to you. When you've received the letter, respond with the date of your bankruptcy filing, the cause number, and any other information you'd like to convey. You may also want to request that any future correspondence be in writing.

Once your creditor has received information about your bankruptcy filing, he or she should be able to mark out your account as closed or "charged-off" and will cease further communication with you on the subject.