When a person gets really behind on their bill payments it may seem as though every five minutes someone is calling and asking for money. In many cases, explaining the circumstances that caused the person to be behind in payments and asking for suggestions on how to keep up on payments will be enough information to satisfy these callers. Many debt settlement companies are willing to work with the debtor to see what can be done to satisfy this debt, but not all of them feel the same way. Some get tougher and feel if they intimidate a person they will send a payment sooner. Some bill collectors go to great lengths to live up to their reputation, in spite of consumer protection laws that are meant to protect people against hostile action.
While creditors have the right to attempt contact on past due bills, they cannot harass anyone for non-payment. According to the law, using foul language or calling constantly with the intent to annoy the debtor into making payments is considered harassment. Creditors cannot be calling at odd hours or calling work, after they have been advised not to do so or calling friends and family members without permission is also considered harassment. Harassing phone calls, especially those containing threats of violence do not have to be accepted by anyone. If the only way out of the financial mess is bankruptcy, then the calls will come to an end.
If attempting to work things out with debt settlement companies fail and bankruptcy is filed, all collection efforts including debt collection calls, by the creditor or their agents must stop, in accordance to the Fair Debt Collection Practices Act. Continuing to make contact after being informed of a bankruptcy filing, they may face fines and penalties. Informing them that an attorney is representing a debtor requires all contact to go through the attorney.
In most cases (especially in foreclosure) if the house payments are behind, there is a good chance utility bills and shutoff notices and coming in more frequently. Filing for bankruptcy can prevent the shutoff of utilities in Chapter 7, eliminating the past due balance and in Chapter 13, paying the amount past due through the court-approved plan.
While in most cases student loans are not dischargeable through bankruptcy, eliminating a lot of other debt through Chapter 7 may allow money to be available to meet the obligations. In Chapter 13, if your finances qualify for this type of filing, consolidating student loans into one payment made to the court may be a possibility.
An embarrassing problem faced by many is wage garnishment by creditors. The employer will know about the financial problems and some employers have policies about the number of garnishments they can tolerate before job action is taken. Bankruptcy can put an instant end to garnishment procedures, even though the wages are subject to a prior court ruling.
Bankruptcy can be an effective tool in stopping collection action or fraudulent claims. If the amount claimed to be owed is inaccurate, filing for bankruptcy will eliminate the debt, regardless of the amount.