Walnut Creek, California (EastBayDaily) — Bankruptcy is complicated and scary , which is why Walnut Creek bankruptcy attorney Michael Primus, assists clients in need of financial relief. Although there are many facets to bankruptcy, Primus would like to offer advice on one issue: what to do if a bill collector makes contact after a bankruptcy.
1) Make sure the bankruptcy was discharged. A discharge is a permanent court order forgiving debts. Obtaining a discharge is the goal in a bankruptcy. If unsure whether a discharge was obtained, contact the lawyer or the court clerk where the bankruptcy was filed. If not discharged, creditors are entitled to collect the debt.
2) Know if the debt is dischargeable. The most common examples of dischargeable debts are credit cards and medical bills. If the debt was non-dischargeable then the creditor is still entitled to bill the person after bankruptcy.
3) Refer to the bankruptcy papers to verify each debt was listed with a valid address. If the creditor was not listed, the debt can be non-dischargeable, which means the creditor is entitled to send bills. In some cases, a Chapter 7 bankruptcy filing can be amended.
4) Give notice. After receiving a discharge, of a dischargeable debt that was listed with a valid address, the creditor is in violation of the law. The next step is to call the creditor and orally inform them of the bankruptcy case number, date filed and court. Get the name and address of the person spoken to and follow up with a confirmation letter with the same information. Keep a copy of the letter. This usually resolves the problem.
"If your debt was dischargeable, you have called and sent a confirming letter, and you are still being billed, it's time to think about going to court," Primus said. "A creditor that willfully violates the bankruptcy discharge can be held in contempt, ordered to pay damages, including attorney fees, or both. Additionally, collecting on a debt discharged in bankruptcy will violate the federal law (Fair Debt Collection Practices Act) and/or similar laws in most states. If the first four steps have been taken, actually going to court is very rare, so you should not assume it will be necessary."
For more information about any of Michael Primus’ services, call 925-948-8874, view him on the web at http://www.michaelprimus.com, or visit one of his three office locations in Walnut Creek, Antioch or Hercules.
About Michael Primus, Attorney at Law
Anyone considering bankruptcy should call the Law Offices of Michael J. Primus for a private counseling session. Bankruptcy allows honest but unlucky individuals or couples to have their debts reduced or forgiven entirely. There are several kinds of bankruptcy cases but Chapter 13 and Chapter 7 bankruptcy are the most common. Michael Primus has 18 years of experience as a bankruptcy lawyer.