Why did I get a collection notice for a discharged debt?

Bankruptcy is a tool that can be used to help people get back on their feet financially. For individuals, filing Chapter 7 or Chapter 13 bankruptcy can discharge certain debts and give someone the chance to rebuild his or her income and credit. It is not an easy step to take and can require years of repair before you are again in good standing with creditors and banks.

After all is said and done, you know what debts are completed and what you still need to pay off. You have everything planned and your financial future is looking up. However, there may be a chance you continue receiving collection notices from collection agencies.

You should not receive a collection notice for a debt that was discharged in bankruptcy. A statutory injunction is placed on creditors prohibiting them from collecting. This is meant to stop collectors from contacting you and sending you notices. If they do so, they could be fined or charged with civil contempt.

What can you do if you continue to get collection notices for a discharged bill or loan?

Check your credit report

You may be receiving collection notices if you forgot to include a debt when you filed for bankruptcy, or there could be an incorrectly labeled debt. Some creditors might also neglect to change the status of a bill, which would cause the collection agencies to continue their collection efforts. If you find there is a missing or mislabeled debt, you can work with an attorney to rectify the situation.

File a motion to reopen your case

Judges are often willing to reopen your case if a creditor continues to attempt collections after being notified that the debt was discharged. The court can reexamine the discharge to make sure everything was completed properly. If the creditors are knowingly going against the judge’s orders, they could be held in contempt of court and punished accordingly.

Collection agencies should not be reaching out to you for collections if all your debts were reported and the qualifying debts were properly discharged from your bankruptcy. If you experience this, you can work with your attorney to make sure it is permanently stopped.

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