Is it legal for a debt collector to come back after we filed for bankruptcy? 29 Answers as of June 14, 2011

In 2003 a debt collector obtained a judgment of $8449 against my husband for a business credit card debt-only in his name. We made payments after the judgment until 2005 when we filed Chapter 13 Bankruptcy. This was dismissed in 2010. Now the debt collector is demanding we pay $12,000 plus an interest rate of 8% until the debt is paid. I tried discussing the amount with the collector, however, was unable to to discuss anything. What can we do?

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Law Offices of Michael J. Berger
Law Offices of Michael J. Berger | Michael J. Berger
If you received a discharge in your Chapter 13, then the debt has been paid / discharged and the creditor can not come after you any more. If your case was dismissed, meaning that you did NOT receive a discharge, the creditor is free to take collection action against you. You will receive credit for the payments that you made through the Chapter 13. If you are not sure about this, you should consult with your bankruptcy attorney.
Answer Applies to: California
Replied: 6/14/2011
Burnham & Associates
Burnham & Associates | Stephanie K. Burnham
If the Creditor was named in the Bankruptcy, and included in the Chapter 13 Plan their debt was discharged pursuant to the Chapter 13. Once the debt is discharged the Creditor may not make attempts to collect.
Answer Applies to: New Hampshire
Replied: 6/10/2011
Law Offices of John J. Ferry, Jr.
Law Offices of John J. Ferry, Jr. | John J. Ferry, Jr.
Did you receive a discharge of debts in the bankruptcy, or was the case closed without a discharge? If you paid all your chapter 13 plan payments, you probably got a discharge. If you failed to make all your payments, the case was likely closed without a discharge. This is a critical difference. If your debts were discharged, the automatic stay became permanent. This means the debt collector was in violation of the bankruptcy code for contacting you and trying to collect on the debt. If your case was closed without a discharge, the debt collector is permitted to demand payment. You should discuss this with the attorney that did your bankruptcy, or another bankruptcy attorney. If your case was dismissed, you may still be able to file a chapter 7 bankruptcy.
Answer Applies to: Pennsylvania
Replied: 6/10/2011
Janet A. Lawson Bankruptcy Attorney
Janet A. Lawson Bankruptcy Attorney | Janet Lawson
If your bankruptcy was "dismissed" the creditor can come after you. If on the other hand your received a "discharge" the creditor can NOT come after you. If you received a discharge you should see a lawyer to go after the creditor.
Answer Applies to: California
Replied: 6/9/2011
The Northwest Debt Relief Law Firm
The Northwest Debt Relief Law Firm | Thomas A McAvity
If your case was dismissed rather than successfully completed and discharged, the creditor can come after you for the unpaid balance. You should meet with a qualified bankruptcy attorney immediately to explore your eligibility for bankruptcy.
Answer Applies to: Oregon
Replied: 6/9/2011
    Law Office of Maureen O' Malley
    Law Office of Maureen O' Malley | Maureen O'Malley
    A debt collector cannot demand payment for a debt once you file bankruptcy. However, do you mean that your bankruptcy was dismissed or discharged? If dismissed, it means you still owe the debts. If discharged (the Plan completed, in other words), then you don't owe the debt and the creditor is subject to legal action. If you were represented, please check with your attorney.
    Answer Applies to: Virginia
    Replied: 6/9/2011
    Steven D. Keist, Attorney at Law
    Steven D. Keist, Attorney at Law | Steven D. Keist
    You say your bankruptcy was dismissed. If you mean that, then you never completed it. If you meant discharged, then no theoretically the debt collector cannot come after you if the debt was included in the filing.
    Answer Applies to: Arizona
    Replied: 6/9/2011
    Mercado & Hartung, PLLC
    Mercado & Hartung, PLLC | Christopher J. Mercado
    If your Ch 13 was dismissed, then the debt was not discharged and they can try & collect from you.
    Answer Applies to: Washington
    Replied: 6/9/2011
    Apple Law Firm PLLC
    Apple Law Firm PLLC | David Goldman
    Go back and talk to your bankruptcy lawyer, if they are not interested in this violation, talk to another one. It can be stopped and you might be entitled to damages.
    Answer Applies to: Florida
    Replied: 6/9/2011
    Bankruptcy Law Office of Robert Weed
    Bankruptcy Law Office of Robert Weed | Robert Weed
    Was the Chapter 13 "dismissed" or discharged. "Discharged means approved. "Dismissed" means thrown out. If it was "dismissed" then of course they can come after your bankruptcy was thrown out. If it was "discharged" then the debt collector is in serious violation (did you list the debt in your Chapter 13?) and your bankruptcy lawyer can really go after them.
    Answer Applies to: Virginia
    Replied: 6/9/2011
    Lakelaw - Loop Bankruptcy
    Lakelaw - Loop Bankruptcy | David Leibowitz
    No. This is a violation of the discharge injunction and can subject the creditor to damages and attorneys' fees.
    Answer Applies to: Illinois
    Replied: 6/8/2011
    Carballo Law Offices
    Carballo Law Offices | Tony E. Carballo
    If the bankruptcy case was dismissed then you did not get a discharge and you owe the judgment amount plus interest at the legal rate applicable for the state where the judgment was obtained. It is as if the bankruptcy case was never filed. You can file another bankruptcy case now if you are eligible and if that is the best thing for you. You need to consult with a bankruptcy attorney about your options.
    Answer Applies to: California
    Replied: 6/8/2011
    Law Office of Asaph Abrams
    Law Office of Asaph Abrams | Asaph Abrams
    If the chapter 13 had been "dismissed," then any unpaid debt would not have been forgiven. If you received a discharge (successfully completed the bankruptcy) then the debt would have presumptively been eliminated in full; you should contact your bankruptcy attorney to address a violation of the discharge-if that is the case.
    Answer Applies to: California
    Replied: 6/8/2011
    Uriarte & Wood, Attorneys at Law
    Uriarte & Wood, Attorneys at Law | Robert G. Uriarte
    If you received a discharge and the debt was listed and payments made under the plan, the collector may not attempt to collect. If ,however your case was dismissed and no discharge was granted, he can proceed. The judgment is good for ten years and it may be renewed.
    Answer Applies to: California
    Replied: 6/8/2011
    The Schreiber Law Firm
    The Schreiber Law Firm | Jeffrey D. Schreiber
    Was the Chapter 13 dismissed or was the plan completed and a discharge was entered. If it was dismissed, it is like the bankruptcy never existed, and any amounts not paid to the creditor in the Chapter 13 are still due and owing. If the judgment was part of the Chapter 13 and you completed the plan and received a discharge, any amount that was not to be paid under the Chapter 13 would now be discharged and cannot be collected.
    Answer Applies to: California
    Replied: 6/8/2011
    Law Offices of Michael T. Krueger
    Law Offices of Michael T. Krueger | Michael Krueger
    Was the bankruptcy dismissed or discharged in 2010? Was the creditor included in the bankruptcy? If the case was discharged and the creditor was included in the bankruptcy then you need to notify the bankruptcy court that the collector is harassing you.
    Answer Applies to: California
    Replied: 6/8/2011
    The Law Office of Mark J. Markus
    The Law Office of Mark J. Markus | Mark Markus
    If your bankruptcy case was actually dismissed, then there is nothing legally preventing the debt collector from taking any and all collection actions allowed under state law. I would suggest contacting them to negotiate a payment plan or settlement, or perhaps consider filing a new bankruptcy case depending on your present circumstances. If instead in your prior Chapter 13 case you received a discharge, that's an entirely different story and you can seek a contempt sanction against the creditor in bankruptcy court.
    Answer Applies to: California
    Replied: 6/8/2011
    Bird & VanDyke, Inc.
    Bird & VanDyke, Inc. | David VanDyke
    If you never received a discharge because your ch 13 was dismissed then the creditors can still collect. This would be true of all the debts in your ch 13.
    Answer Applies to: California
    Replied: 6/8/2011
    Indianapolis Bankruptcy Law Office of Eric C. Lewis
    Indianapolis Bankruptcy Law Office of Eric C. Lewis | Eric Lewis
    You say the case was "dismissed" or did you mean "discharged." Big difference! A dismissal gives you no protection from further collection action.
    Answer Applies to: Indiana
    Replied: 6/8/2011
    Law Office of Dennis Jay Sargent Jr, PLLC
    Law Office of Dennis Jay Sargent Jr, PLLC | Dennis J Sargent Jr.
    It's difficult to say given the facts that you present. If the debt was discharged in Chapter 13 and it was included in your bankruptcy filing that it would seem that the debt collector is out of line and could be subject to sanctions. You should thoroughly review your petition to make sure that it was included and contact the attorney that handled your Chapter 13 case for guidance. If they do not handle discharge violations consult with an attorney that does. You may have a cause of action for sanctions.
    Answer Applies to: North Carolina
    Replied: 6/8/2011
    Ashman Law Office
    Ashman Law Office | Glen Edward Ashman
    Most of your post simply does not add up. Since Chapter 13s only last 5 years if you filed in 2005 and it was over in 2010 your case should have been discharged and not dismissed, meaning the rest of the debt was wiped out (additionally some or all of the debt was likely paid via bankruptcy). Additionally, the debt may be too old to collect. Instead of continuing to make the mistake of talking to a collector, get your facts straight and then see an attorney and STOP talking to collectors (always a bad idea).
    Answer Applies to: Georgia
    Replied: 6/8/2011
    Law Office of Harry L Styron
    Law Office of Harry L Styron | Harry L Styron
    If by "dismissed" you mean the Chapter 13 bankruptcy was completed, then you received a discharge at the end of the plan. Send them a copy of the discharge, and mention you are consulting an attorney about filing a contempt of court action against them. If by "dismissed" you mean the plan was not completed, then the debt was not discharged and they have the right to collect. The interest rate depends on what the judgment rate is in the State, and it sounds like you are not in California, because the judgment rate is 10%, not 8%.
    Answer Applies to: California
    Replied: 6/8/2011
    Bankruptcy Law office of Bill Rubendall
    Bankruptcy Law office of Bill Rubendall | William M. Rubendall
    If a chapter 13 plan is completed the collection creditor debt would be discharged. However, if the case is dismissed prior to completion all the unpaid debts, including collection charges, interest, late fees and attorney fees will be owed. Consult with an attorney as the the options of another chapter 13 or a chapter 7. Also discuss alternatives with the attorney, such as consumer credit counseling.
    Answer Applies to: California
    Replied: 6/8/2011
    Law Offices of Joseph A. Mannis
    Law Offices of Joseph A. Mannis | Todd Mannis
    If you received a DISCHARGE in your bankruptcy, then no, they cannot come back after you. If the case was DISMISSED, however, then yes, they can, because the bankruptcy was essentially thrown out.
    Answer Applies to: California
    Replied: 6/8/2011
    Ursula G. Barrios Law
    Ursula G. Barrios Law | Guillermo Machado
    If the creditor was notified of your filing and you completed your 13 to discharge, they cannot collect against you any longer and are in suspected violation of FDCPA and Rosenthal in CA. We can refer these cases to experts who can sue this creditor and potentially put money in your pockets (maybe even the amount they are attempting to collect from you).
    Answer Applies to: California
    Replied: 6/8/2011
    Daniel Hoarfrost, Attorney at Law
    Daniel Hoarfrost, Attorney at Law | Daniel Hoarfrost
    If your Ch 13 was dismissed before you achieved a discharge, then your previous creditors are free to try and collect from you.
    Answer Applies to: Oregon
    Replied: 6/8/2011
    Law Office of J. Thomas Black, P.C.
    Law Office of J. Thomas Black, P.C. | J. Thomas Black
    If your Chapter 13 was "dismissed" like you say, without receiving a "discharge" then yes it may be legal for a debt collector to continue to collect. But if you completed your plan and received a "discharge" in bankruptcy, and the debt was listed and scheduled in the bankruptcy, then no, it is not permissible that the debt collector to continue to collect on it. You should hire an attorney that handles cases involving discharge violations. Many attorneys will handle these matters and agree to be paid by any money awarded to them against the debt collector. You could start with your own attorney, if they don't know anyone perhaps they can refer you to a firm that handles those matters. If your attorney doesn't want to do it, and you are in the Houston Texas area my firm would be able to help, otherwise we can refer you to a firm that handles these matters throughout Texas. Good luck. My law firm is a debt relief agency and among other services that we offer, we help people file bankruptcy.
    Answer Applies to: Texas
    Replied: 6/8/2011
    The Law Offices of Alan M. Laskin
    The Law Offices of Alan M. Laskin | Jared B. Gaynor
    If you did not receive a discharge in the bankruptcy, the collector seems completely in his legal rights to collect all outstanding money owed.
    Answer Applies to: California
    Replied: 6/8/2011
    Law Office of Jackie Robert Geller
    Law Office of Jackie Robert Geller | Jackie Robert Geller
    If the case was dismissed without a discharge (paid off plan), then the debt collector can attempt to collect again. If you paid off the debt in the plan, then he can't come after you and is breaking the law.
    Answer Applies to: California
    Replied: 6/8/2011
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