Last time I wrote about how a debt that has been discharged by the bankruptcy court is no longer subject to collection, and how, if a third party (not the original creditor) tries to collect on that discharged debt, a complaint can be filed with Federal Trade Commission. Well, put this number up on your refrigerator, just in case a third party company gets some ideas about hounding you for a no-longer-valid debt: 1 877 FTC-HELP.
If you end up actually contacting the FTC, you certainly won’t be the only one. Hundreds of thousands of consumers contacting FTC every year. Last year, there were more than 400,000 complaints filed with the FTC. And that doesn’t even count identity theft complaints or complaints about the Do Not Call Registry! Of the 400,000 complaiints, almost 80,000 had to do with the debt collection industry, more complaints than about any other industry.
As a bankruptcy attorney in Indiana with almost a quarter century experience, I feel it’s important to tell people not to be intimidated by over-zealous third-party collection agencies. If they are calling you about a debt that was in fact discharged in a bankruptcy, collection efforts are supposed to stop! Tell the caller that, as soon as you hang up the phone, you plan to call your attorney and then the Federal Trade Commission. Then do just that. Then, it really will be over when it’s over!