It’s actually amazing to think that after going through a bankruptcy, completing the paperwork and the process, making sure that all creditors and collectors are listed, and receiving a discharge that one might still-years later-get a collection notice from a collection agency about an old debt. Even if someone does not file a bankruptcy but rather pays the debt, we have experienced instances wherein after the debt is paid, a notification of owing the debt is received from a collector! Or, more commonly, people find themselves in situations where they can no longer pay their bills due to an illness or loss of income and they begin to receive annoying collection calls and letters.
If you have experienced a similar situation, you are not alone. There are certain guidelines regarding debt collections as well as contacting a person following a bankruptcy filing and if creditors or collectors violate these guidelines, they can be sued-and that may result in a monetary recovery for you.
If you have been contacted by a creditor or collector following the discharge of your bankruptcy petition (even if a Bond and Botes firm did not represent you in the proceeding that has been discharged), we may be able to help you in bringing an action against that creditor/collector for violating the discharge order that was entered to protect you from these actions following your discharge.
Additionally, even if you have not filed a bankruptcy case, the Fair Debt Collections Practices Act safeguards you, the consumer, against certain types of collection practices. You should be aware that the contact must be from a collector (also known as third-party debt collectors) not the original creditor (i.e. ABC Collection Agency, not Chase Bank or Discover Card). Also, collection attorneys representing an original creditor, who regularly collect debts, are liable for FDCPA violations.
However, there are other debts that are NOT covered by FDCPA regulations. These include business debts, traffic/parking tickets, municipal fines, unemployment overpayments and child support orders. Our attorneys can advise you as to which of these debts can be handled in bankruptcy cases.
We can help you in understanding your rights in these two is very important arenas and meeting with one of the knowledgeable attorneys at Bond and Botes is very important for your peace of mind. Please visit our website for additional information on this topic or call the Bond and Botes office nearest you to schedule a free appointment to meet with an attorney to advise you of your rights.
Suzanne Shinn is a shareholder of several of the Bond & Botes Law Offices throughout Alabama and Mississippi. She holds a Bachelor of Science from the University of Alabama, Birmingham, and a Juris Doctorate from the Birmingham School of Law. She joined the Bond & Botes team in 1992 as its first associate attorney and has been helping clients navigate the bankruptcy process ever since. Read her full bio here.