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Can filing for bankruptcy stop debt collector harassment?

| Sep 3, 2020 | Chapter 7 |

New Jersey residents like you already deal with enough stress when you are in debt. You do not need the additional headache that comes from dealing with aggressive debt collectors.

There are laws in place to protect you from harassment by debt collectors. Unfortunately, debt collectors still engage in threatening behavior. So what can you do?

Exercising your rights against debt collectors

The Consumer Financial Protection Bureau defines your rights against debt collectors. They also delve into illegal debt collecting practices and behaviors that cross the line into harassment. The first thing to note is that filing for bankruptcy does protect you from debt collector harassment.

Is this harassment?

This goes for Chapter 7, 11 or 13 bankruptcy. As soon as you petition for any of the three, all debt collectors and creditors get forced under law to immediately halt all collection efforts. In this case, “collection efforts” also refers to any harassing behaviors they may have adopted in the interim. This can include:

  • Calling you at inappropriate hours
  • Failing to identify themselves when calling you
  • Addressing you in a derogatory way or using expletives
  • Threatening physical harm or violence
  • Threatening your house, livelihood or family
  • Adding you to a public “shame list” of people who are in debt and owe the agency money

If you face any of these behaviors, it can feel like there is no way to get them to stop. Debt collectors are often aggressive to the point of being genuinely frightening to deal with. When you are in this situation, the best thing you can do is disengage and protect yourself in any way possible. Filing for bankruptcy kills two birds with one stone.