Eliminating Harassment from Bill Collectors and Creditors
Birmingham Attorneys stopping Debt Collector phone calls in Sylacauga, Gadsden, Tuscaloosa, or anywhere in Alabama
There are few things more stressful than being constantly hounded by bill collectors and creditors. Many people live in constant fear of answering the phone or checking the mailbox, due to endless calls and letters from various creditors threatening repossession, legal action, and even physical harm in some extreme situations. One of the biggest advantages of filing for bankruptcy protection under either Chapter 7 or Chapter 13 is the automatic stay, which is an absolute prohibition on any action to collect while the bankruptcy proceeding is pending. The phrase “any action to collect” is interpreted broadly by the courts and prevents a creditor from taking aggressive actions like foreclosing, repossessing, or suing, as well as lesser measures like calling or sending letters in regard to an unpaid debt. Under the automatic stay, a creditor can dream of collecting a debt, but little more.
If a creditor violates the automatic stay and continues to pursue a debt after bankruptcy has been filed, the consequences can be severe. If the violation of the stay is determined to have been accidental, such as a computer-generated “Dunning letter” sent out the day after the filing, then generally the offending creditor will face no more than a reprimand or warning that such action is prohibited by the stay. However, if the violation is determined to have been “willful,” the bankruptcy code authorizes a cause of action by the debtor against the offending creditor for both actual damages (including costs and attorney’s fees) as well as punitive damages.
If you are behind on your bills and want to stop being harassed by creditors, or if you have already filed and continue to be hounded by bill collectors, contact the Birmingham bankruptcy attorneys at Parkman & White today at 205-502-2000 for a free consult.