Bankruptcy Discharge Violations

Protecting Your Discharge

You’ve completed a Chapter 7 or Chapter 13 bankruptcy case, and you’re ready to move forward. With the mistakes or crises of the past behind you and the debt that was plaguing you wiped out, it’s time to rebuild your finances and your credit. But, some creditors and debt collectors don’t play fair.

If you’re getting collection calls and letters about discharged debt, or you’re still seeing a discharged debt listed with an outstanding balance on your credit report, it’s important to know your rights

What is a Bankruptcy Discharge Violation?

Your bankruptcy discharge is more than just a certificate of your fresh start. It’s a court order telling creditors and debt collectors that they’re no longer allowed to pursue payment of the debts that have been discharged.

Creditors, debt collectors, and debt buyers who continue to call, send collection notices, or inaccurately report those accounts to credit reporting agencies are violating a court order.

Why Would a Creditor or Debt Collector Violate the Discharge Order?

Discharge violations happen for a variety of reasons. One is that the creditor, debt collector, or debt buyer made an honest mistake. Perhaps the bankruptcy didn’t get entered into the computer, or the debt was handed off to a collection agency or sold to a debt buyer at just the wrong moment, meaning that the company handling the debt didn’t receive notice.

If that’s the case, sending the company that’s attempting to collect the debt a copy of your bankruptcy discharge order or disputing the entry on your credit report may clear up the problem.

Unfortunately, some discharge violations are intentional. Shady debt buyers may try to convince you that you’re obligated to pay them because they aren’t the original creditor and weren’t listed in the bankruptcy. Or, a creditor may intentionally continue to report a discharged debt to one or more of the three major credit bureaus.

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Monitoring Your Credit Report after Bankruptcy

Reporting discharged debt can be an honest mistake. Or, it can be a sneaky pressure tactic. If you’re applying for a mortgage or car loan and that debt crops up on your credit report, paying it off may be the quickest and easiest way to get your loan–even though you don’t actually owe that money anymore.

The best way to avoid having to make that tough decision is to monitor your credit reports after bankruptcy. Promptly dispute any reporting of discharged debt as delinquent or with an outstanding balance. If you succeed in having an item removed from your credit report, continue to monitor–disputed items sometimes pop back up after a few months.

Fighting Discharge Violations

The first step is to contact the creditor or collector, or to file a dispute with the credit reporting agency. If that doesn’t solve the problem, it’s time to talk to an attorney who handles bankruptcy discharge violations and consumer financial protection violations in your area.

Possible remedies include:
● Reopening your bankruptcy case to request that the creditor or debt collector be sanctioned for violating the discharge order

● Filing suit under the federal Fair Debt Collection Practices Act (FDCPA) if a third party collector is misrepresenting the legal status of the debt or otherwise violating the law

● Filing suit under the federal Fair Credit Reporting Act (FCRA) if the creditor, debt collector, or credit reporting agency has failed to fulfill its obligation to investigate and correct errors

● In some states, filing suit under a state consumer financial protection statute

Talk to a Bankruptcy Discharge Violation Lawyer

You owe it to yourself to make sure you get the full benefit of your bankruptcy discharge. Resolve Law Group is here to help. If you’ve received a discharge in bankruptcy and are still receiving collection calls, being threatened with lawsuits, getting past due notices, or seeing discharged debt on your credit report, it’s time to fight back.

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