Can a Creditor Collect on a Discharged Debt?

Are you receiving creditor or debt collector calls after a bankruptcy? It doesn’t often happen, but it does happen. Nevertheless, when there is a discharge of debts after a bankruptcy, you are no longer responsible for paying the debt. So, the protection from collection calls and letters, granted when you first filed, becomes permanent.

Regardless, if you are contacted by a creditor or debt collector about a discharged debt, presume that it is an honest mistake. The person on the other end of that phone is just trying to do their job. While a bankruptcy is pending, you can refer them to your attorney. Once discharged, simply providing them with a copy of the discharge order is enough.

Still, there are consequences for contacting a person after their debts have been discharged. If collection activity continues, you have options. Needless to say, they are violating an order of the court. So, you can have your bankruptcy attorney file a motion asking for sanctions for the violation. Moreover, a judge may award you attorney fees and damages related to enforcing the discharge.

Beyond bankruptcy law, it is possible that a debt collector or debt buyer has violated the Fair Debt Collection Practices Act, which provides a different set of damages and penalties which may be available. Simply put, judges do not appreciate when a bad acting creditor ignores their decisions. So, your attorney does have a good chance of finding you peace.

With this in mind, bad acting creditors may never call. Rather, they may intentionally, incorrectly misreport the debt’s status to the credit agencies. So, it is important to check your credit report after a bankruptcy. While it may take several weeks after a discharge, a credit report update should not take an unreasonable amount of time. Any damage to your post-bankruptcy credit record may also be a violation of the discharge order.

Harris Ammerman
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