Filing for bankruptcy is not an easy choice to make. Thousands of Americans struggle with overwhelming credit card debt, medical expenses and mortgages. However, for some in Maryland and in many other states across the U.S., claiming bankruptcy is a way to start fresh with a clean financial slate.
If you have been involved with late credit card payments, mortgage payments or had your medical expenses sent to a collections agency, you know first-hand how difficult it can be to keep up with creditor calls. It may seem as if those collectors will never stop calling. Yet, there are ways to stop the harassment.
What is an automatic stay?
Once you file for Chapter 7 bankruptcy, an automatic stay is put in place, according to the United States Courts. The stay bans any creditors or collection agencies from contacting you regarding your debt. These agencies cannot call you or correspond with you via email or mail. Furthermore, they are unable to continue pursuing lawsuits or garnishing wages.
It is important to include all creditors in your bankruptcy paperwork, as these are the entities that are issued the automatic stay.
What can you do about creditor harassment?
Some credit agencies may go far beyond the occasional call to remind you to make a payment. The Fair Debt Collection Practices Act protects Americans from creditor harassment by prohibiting collection agencies from doing the following:
- Threatening violence
- Calling at all hours of the day and night
- Using profanities or obscene language
- Inflating a debt
- Threatening arrest
- Posing as a law firm
If you are victimized by any of these harassing behaviors, you should alert the proper authorities right away.