Occasionally we see clients who filed for bankruptcy years ago, got their debts discharged and have moved on with their lives, only to find themselves dealing with hassle from an old creditor years later. Creditors do sometimes try to collect on debts that have been discharged by a bankruptcy, and this can be considered a violation of the FDCPA and can be remedied.
A good first step to take is to contact an attorney if a creditor (or debt collector) is trying to collect on an old discharged debt. You or your attorney should then send a letter demanding that all collection attempts stop at once and providing the details of your bankruptcy discharge. The letter should be worded strongly and should be sent by certified mail, return receipt requested, to ensure you can prove delivery confirmation of the letter, if need be. This letter will usually take care of any continuing attempts to collect on the discharged debt.
Now, if this initial tactic does not work to rid yourself of the collector, then you may have just cause to pursue a FDCPA lawsuit. If this becomes the case, it is definitely advisable that you hire a lawyer who handles FDCPA claims.
Getting started with a FDCPA claim
You are wanting to move forward with your FDCPA claim but don’t know where to start, other than by contacting an attorney of course. Well, I will give you a brief rundown of things you should know and how things are handled in my office.
Under the Fair Debt collection Practices Act, you can collect statutory damages of up to $1,000 + actual damages + reasonable attorney’s fees. I handle this type of case under a 1/3 contingency contract – which means that I get one-third of what we win and nothing if we do not win at all. This is a good setup for the consumer since if we don’t win the case it’s no money out of your pocket. But if there is a clear violation of the FDCPA, we are ususally successful!
Most of the time, I am able to settle for anywhere from $2,000 to $5,000 – more if we can demonstrate that you did not qualify for a loan because of this error. I would also get the improper information removed from your credit reports. Because as you know, having an error on your credit report can be a huge hassle, and that is definitely something an attorney can help you fix.
If you find yourself in a situation dealing with the hassle from an old creditor, then by all means, contact me by filling out the Free Case Review form found on this website. Once we get started, I will likely need whatever correspondence you have, plus copies of all 3 credit reports, which you can get at Annual Credit Report.com
This is just a brief rundown on how to get started with a FDCPA claim, and I hope you find this information helpful. Just remember, the FDCPA protects you from the kind of hassle you are experiencing; you just might need a little help navigating the FDCPA claims process. This is where your attorney comes into play.