Debt left out of bankruptcy

by Jessica
(Ashtabula ohio)

Filed for bankruptcy 3 years ago received a call from a bill collector on Saturday that one item that we put on our bankruptcy did not go through and we need to make a payment or they will garnish our wages. It s been over three years since we heard from them didn't even know it didn't go through the bankruptcy why are they contacting us now? Is that allowed?

Reply from

Jessica - No doubt that was a scary call to receive. But take a deep breath.

First, it is possible that a debt you didn't include in your bankruptcy filing could still be collectible. But it also may not be. For example, if there was no money to be distributed to creditors in a Chapter 7 case, oftentimes the debt will be considered discharged even if the debtor doesn't file paperwork to amend the case. Or if a debtor had no way of finding out who owned a debt that had been sold or transferred to another party, that debt may be considered discharged. Or the debt may be outside the statute of limitations at this point. As in all matters of the law, the answer here will depend on the facts and circumstances, and we are not attorneys and cannot give legal advice.

What we can tell you is that collectors generally should not be making statements like, "If you don't pay us now, we're going to garnish your wages." A collection agency must not make statements about actions it cannot take, and it is very unusual for a collector to be able to garnish wages without first taking you to court and getting a judgment.

We suggest you do two things:

1. Insist the collector send you written notice of the debt. This is required by law if the initial contact is by phone. You'll find more details in our ebook which you can download here at no cost. We encourage you to read it so you understand your rights when dealing with this collector. (It's also possible this is a scammer, so proceed with caution!)

2. Contact your bankruptcy attorney, if you had one. They can explain your rights and options for dealing with this.

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