Myths about Debt Collections and Bankruptcy
As a consumer, you have the right to be informed. Often debt collectors will tell you incorrect things about debts and bankruptcy – they are your enemy – they can not give you legal advice. Debt collectors can be intimidating. You need to know the truth when dealing with them.
Debt Collectors Can be Questioned
Debt collectors don’t like it when consumers ask questions about the debt they are trying to collect. They will tell you that you have no legal right to ask questions and that they do not have to prove that you owe the debt they are trying to collect. This is not true. You have the legal right to request verification and the debt collector must prove to you that they have not only the right to collect the debt but that they are authorized to do so in your state.
Debt Collectors Cannot Harass
No matter how much you owe or how past due your debt is, a debt collector cannot harass or treat you unfairly. Some common, but illegal tactics used by debt collectors will include:
- Threatening you with jail time or criminal prosecution
- Threatening to sue on a debt past the statute of limitations
- Threatening to take harsh collection tactics
- Calling your neighbors or family members
After individuals have hired the firm, I or the paralegals take all collection letters and calls for them. Clients are instructed to tell debt collectors that they have retained me as their attorney. Under the Fair Debt Collection Practices Act, once you have hired an attorney, debt collectors may only contact your attorney to collect a debt. Once a bankruptcy case is filed, those creditors can no longer attempt to collect from you, and you are discharged from their debt. When you have a discharge order from a federal bankruptcy judge, that order prevents creditors whose debts were discharged from ever attempting to collect that debt from you.