Bankruptcy laws are on the books to give people a fresh start when financial conditions have become too overwhelming. It’s a right provided to you when you are hit with circumstances like loss of employment, illness, divorce, and other financial hardships; it gives you the ability to stop harassing debt collection actions and provides various other means of relief. It’s important to know the rights you have as a consumer under our bankruptcy laws.
Creditors understandably want to protect themselves against the prospect of debts owed to them being discharged. One of the ways creditors sometimes try to do this is through adding a “bankruptcy waiver” clause to contracts and agreements. Understandable or not, these waivers are not binding. Any waiver of your future bankruptcy rights is not enforceable. Congress has expressly stated in the bankruptcy codes that a bankruptcy debt discharge halts any action against the debtor “whether or not discharge of such debt is waived.” 11 U.S.C. § 524(a)
Once your debts have been discharged, your creditors are prohibited from any collection action per the federal discharge order. You do not have to tolerate any bullying or undue collection actions from creditors. If a creditor attempts collection on a discharged debt they can be brought in front of the bankruptcy judge on a Motion for Contempt.
Even prior to filing bankruptcy creditors do not have the right to harass you with excessive telephone calls and letters, or unwanted visits to your residence. The Federal Trade Commission has established rules under the Fair Debt Collection Practices Act that creditors must follow. Creditors cannot:
- Demand you pay more than you actually owe
- Add additional fees to the agreement
- Call excessively, call during unreasonable hours, or call you at your workplace if you have requested that they desist
- Use threatening or obscene language
- Contact your employer regarding your debt
If you are being illegally harassed by creditors, you do have recourse. To learn more about your bankruptcy rights, and how they can be enforced against creditors, set up a consultation with a bankruptcy attorney.