The process of filing for bankruptcy isn’t easy. In fact, even before you contemplate doing it, things can already become exasperating. Expect the constant calls from your creditors and the nagging letters from their debt collection companies. Brace yourself up.
- If it is any consolation, your creditors and their respective debt collection companies are required by law to cease bothering you after you have formally filed your petition for bankruptcy. So, if you wish to manage the “chaos” and the “madness” before you can file for bankruptcy, consider these measures:
- Know your rights. Educate yourself by learning the governing laws about bankruptcy. Find out how you can protect yourself from the unfair collection practices. Cull basic information on-line. Visit websites leaning towards bankruptcy laws and consumer advocacy platforms. Be particular how far your creditors and their debt collection companies can go according to the specific laws. Learn their limitations so you can fight back in case they cross the line.
- Uphold your rights. Gauge if any of your creditors or their authorized representatives has already overstepped the laws. The Fair Debt Collection Act protects and covers your family members and your household and personal belongings. So, if any of them is harassing you (or one of your family members), take the necessary legal action. They should never threaten to arrest you. They should also never falsely represent or misrepresent their identity, the actual value of your debt, or the legal action that may be taken against you. Once they have broken the governing laws set by your state or your federal court, don’t hesitate to sue them. File your formal complaint through the Federal Trade Commission or the Office of the State Attorney General.
- Signify your position. Never underestimate the power of your “pen”. Write down a letter and tell your creditors (or any of their entrusted collection agencies) to stop contacting you. According to the Fair Debt Collection Act, once your letter has been received by your creditors, state and/or federal court provisions require them to cease communicating with your (or your family members).
- Meet your obligation. Settle your debt to completely end the vicious cycle of threats and harassments. Your creditors may not really give up on you and capitalize on the loopholes of the laws. Nothing can stop them unless they collect something from you. They can opt to sell your “account” to another debt collection company and the pesky process repeats all over again. They can even file a court case in order to extract payment from you. So, signify your intention by negotiating for a reasonable settlement. Meet them and request for a repayment scheme. That should convince them to leave you alone.
If the situation becomes too sticky, seek professional assistance. Consult a credit-counseling officer. He should aid you in your negotiations and give you some suitable options. He should advise you when to take the plunge when nothing truly works. He should explain the pros and cons of filing for bankruptcy using Chapter 7 and/or 13. If you have to pursue your legal options, contract an experienced lawyer and defend your side.