we filed bankruptcy over 2 yrs ago

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we filed bankruptcy over 2 yrs ago

We are again in debt and my husband is laid off. it looks like he will be out of a job for quite some time. What do we do about our credit cards. They are constantly calling. I can’t afford to pay them. Is there anything we can do to stop them or get rid of the debt.

Asked on July 1, 2009 under Bankruptcy Law, Ohio

Answers:

M.D., Member, California and New York Bar / FreeAdvice Contributing Attorney

Answered 11 years ago | Contributor

A person can only file eight years after the discharge of a previous chapter 7, four years after the completion of a chapter 13.  You could, however, try to work out a reduced payment plan with your creditors.

As for the harassing phone calls, you can send the collection agencies a letter requesting they cease communication with you under the terms of the Fair Credit Collection Practices Act (the "Act"), 15 U.S.C.S. Section 1692.  When you write your letter, do not forget to date it, sign it, send it certified mail, and keep a copy. Your letter will not only stop collection letters to you, but will also stop telephone calls to you. 

Additionally, as for the telephone calls, the Act, forbids bill collectors from calling you at inconvenient times, such as before 8:00 a.m. or after 9:00 p.m., about a bill.  The collectors or agents cannot communicate with third parties such as your neighbors or your friends.  They cannot contact you at work if they know (notice must be in writing) that your employer prohibits it.  They cannot threaten you with criminal prosecution or call you on the phone repeatedly with the intention of harassing you.

Also, the collectors cannot pretend to be someone else just to get in touch with you. They cannot use any false, deceptive, misleading, representation of any means in connection with the collection of your debt. They cannot use or threaten violence.  They cannot use obscene or profane language.  They cannot claim that you will be imprisoned or your property seized, unless they are the lender on that property.  They cannot pretend to be an attorney, or add fees/charges that are not authorized.  They cannot threaten to take any action that cannot legally be taken or that they do not intend to take; they cannot take a post dated check and then deposit it before the date on the check.

If a bill collector violates any of the provisions of the Act, he/she can be sued in court. This law, however, does not apply to the original creditor.

Best of luck.


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