Submitted by Rachel R on Thu, 05/02/2013 - 12:30pm
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If you are experiencing financial problems and are unable to pay your bills, you are no doubt familiar with the constant late notices and phone calls from creditors. In fact, one of the most stressful parts of being in debt is creditor harassment.
Once you fall behind on your bills, creditors begin sending bills through the mail on a frequent basis. When you are still unable to pay the bills, the phone calls begin. Your phone ends up ringing so much you are afraid to even answer. Your mailbox is stuffed full of past due notices on a daily basis. Creditors call at all hours of the day, be it early in the morning or late in the evening. They also begin calling at your place of employment. Not only is this inconvenient, it’s downright embarrassing. No one wants to explain why a debt collector is calling at work.
To make matters worse, many of these debt collectors can be abusive and harassing when they call. They often use outrageous debt collection tactics that are beyond unscrupulous. Many people experience creditors calling them foul names, telling them they are worthless for not paying their bills on time and even threatening them with a stint in debtor’s prison. Even though United States eliminated debtor’s prisons under federal law in 1833, the threats still make an impact. So, what can you do to put an end to creditor harassment?
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If your finances are upside down and you are unable to pay your bills, the absolute worst thing you can do is to do nothing. When you are in over your head, your first step toward a fresh start is hiring an experienced North Carolina bankruptcy lawyer. Once this is done, you can let your creditors know you have retained an attorney and intend to file bankruptcy. Give the creditor your attorney’s information and, most of the time, creditors will stop calling you. Keep in mind, however, until your bankruptcy is officially filed with the court, creditors can still contact you.
The very moment you file for Chapter 7, Chapter 11 or Chapter 13 bankruptcy protection, all creditor harassment and collection efforts MUST stop. Once filed, you have full legal protection under bankruptcy laws.
When filing for bankruptcy, part of the process is disclosing all of your creditors. They will receive a notice via mail or email saying that you have filed for bankruptcy protection. An automatic stay is then placed on all your creditors and they can no longer contact you or continue collection efforts. That means no more nasty letters or abusive phone calls. It all stops.
After you have filed Chapter 7, Chapter 11 or Chapter 13 bankruptcy, if a creditor happens to call you, you must let them know you have filed and give them your case number. It doesn’t happen very often, but if a creditor continues to call you after you have filed:
Remember, it is illegal for creditors to contact you and continue with collection efforts after you file for bankruptcy. If they choose to disregard the law, you can actually file charges against them.
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So, if you are wondering when creditors will stop harassing you, the answer is…as soon as they are informed you have filed for bankruptcy. If you are being harassed on a daily basis by creditors, do yourself a favor and speak with a trusted North Carolina bankruptcy lawyer. Find out if filing bankruptcy can give you a fresh start!
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