Man asking for money

What Do I Do if Creditors Aren’t Respecting My Discharge? 

Hoke Law Firm  July 5, 2024

At the Hoke Law Firm, we help people struggling with creditors who refuse to respect their discharge. This is a common problem and can be incredibly frustrating. We are here to guide you through the steps you should take if you're in this situation.  

Understanding Your Discharge

When you receive a discharge in bankruptcy, it legally releases you from personal liability for specific debts. This means creditors are no longer allowed to contact you or take any form of collection action. The discharge gives you a fresh start financially. 

Despite this, some creditors may ignore the discharge, continue to send bills, make phone calls, or even try to sue you. Don't let this stress you out. There are ways in which you can safeguard your rights and protect yourself against creditor harassment. 

Signs That Creditors Are Violating Your Discharge

Here are some signs your creditors are violating your discharge: 

  • Continued collection calls: If creditors keep calling you about discharged debts, this is a clear violation. You should document each call, including the date, time, and what was said. 

  • Letters and bills: Receiving letters or bills for discharged debts is another red flag. Keep all documentation to serve as evidence later. 

  • Legal actions: Creditors may try to sue you for discharged debts. Seek legal advice immediately if this happens. 

  • Negative credit reporting: If creditors report discharged debt as still outstanding on your credit report, it could damage your credit score. Be sure to regularly review your credit report and dispute any inaccuracies related to discharged debts. 

  • Wage garnishment: Creditors may attempt to garnish your wages for debts that have already been discharged. Any unexplained deductions from your paycheck could indicate a violation, and you should contact an attorney immediately. 

Steps to Take Against Discharge Violations

If you think that a creditor is violating your discharge, here’s what you should do: 

  1. Document everything: Keep track of all communications from creditors, including phone calls, letters, and any other contact. Detailed records are crucial if you need to take legal action. 

  1. Contact the creditor: Sometimes, a simple phone call or letter can resolve the issue. Inform the creditor that the debt was discharged and provide them with the discharge order. Most will comply once they understand the situation. 

  1. Consult your bankruptcy attorney: If the creditor continues to ignore your discharge, your bankruptcy attorney can guide you on the next steps and help you enforce your rights. 

  1. File a complaint with the bankruptcy court: If contacting your creditor and consulting your attorney does not resolve the issue, you may need to file a complaint with the bankruptcy court. The court can issue sanctions against creditors that violate discharge orders. 

  1. Notify the credit reporting agencies: If creditors are incorrectly reporting your discharged debts to credit bureaus, notify the credit reporting agencies. Include your discharge order and any pertinent details to dispute the incorrect entries on your credit report. 

Laws and Protections in Louisiana 

Louisiana laws protect consumers from unfair debt collection practices. Here are some specific protections: 

Louisiana Consumer Credit Law   

This law outlines what creditors can and cannot do when attempting to collect debt. Violations include false representation of the amount due, threats, and using obscene language. 

Unfair Trade Practices Act   

This act prohibits businesses, including debt collectors, from engaging in deceptive or unfair practices. If a creditor violates this act, you may have grounds for legal action. 

Attorney General's Office   

The Louisiana Attorney General's Office can help with creditor harassment. To initiate an investigation, you can file a complaint with their Consumer Protection Section. 

Federal Fair Debt Collection Practices Act (FDCPA)   

The Federal Fair Debt Collection Practices Act (FDCPA) restricts debt collectors from using abusive, unfair, or deceptive practices to collect from you. This includes limitations on the times of day they can contact you, required disclosures about the debt, and prohibitions against threatening legal action that they do not intend to take. 

How to File a Complaint

If you need to file a complaint against a creditor, here’s a step-by-step guide: 

  • Gather evidence: Collect all documents and records of communication with the creditor, including phone call logs, letters, and other relevant documentation. 

  • Draft a complaint letter: This should also include copies of your evidence and a clear statement of what you want to happen next. 

  • Submit your complaint: This should go to the relevant authorities such as the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau (CFPB), the Federal Trade Commission (FTC), or the Louisiana Attorney General's Office. 

  • Follow up: Track any responses to your complaint and act on any advice given by the authorities. 

  • Seek legal assistance: If your initial complaint does not lead to a resolution, consider seeking legal assistance. An attorney specializing in consumer rights or bankruptcy law can provide guidance, represent you in court, and help ensure that your rights are protected throughout the process. 

Legal Actions You Can Take

If complaints do not resolve the issue, you might need to take legal action: 

Motion for Contempt   

Your bankruptcy attorney can file a motion for contempt and ask the court to hold the creditor accountable for violating the discharge order. If the court finds the creditor in contempt, they may face penalties, including fines or sanctions. 

Suing for Damages   

You may have grounds to sue the creditor for damages. This can include actual damages (like financial losses caused by the violation) and punitive damages designed to punish the creditor. 

Class-Action Lawsuits   

If multiple people are affected by a creditor's actions, a class-action lawsuit might be an option. This type of lawsuit involves a group of people with similar complaints against the same creditor. 

Speak With a Bankruptcy Attorney in Baton Rouge, Louisiana

If you're facing creditor harassment after receiving a bankruptcy discharge, call the Hoke Law Firm today. We have helped hundreds of clients with bankruptcy solutions.

Our attorney is committed to helping you achieve financial peace of mind. We offer personalized consultations to ensure that we fully understand your situation and can provide the best possible advice.