THE AUTOMATIC STAY
- When a bankruptcy is filed, all debt collection efforts must stop. The Bankruptcy Court Clerk issues a court order called the automatic stay. It is an injunction or a restraining order. This order is issues as soon as your case is filed. It stops a foreclosure on your home, apartment or a repossession of your car immediately.
- Instead of keeping away someone who wants to hurt or annoy, it orders your creditors not to take things away from you or to even contact you.
STAY AGAINST USING THE STATE COURT COLLECTION PROCESS
This includes law suits, wage garnishments, seizure of your bank account, car, or other property. The County Sheriff cannot sell off your home in a foreclosure. The people who repossessed your car must give it back. The Court Officer who froze your checking account must “unfreeze” it. The pay garnishment from your pay check must end.
This is a very powerful tool for you.
CREDITORS AND BILL COLLECTORS MAY NOT CONTACT YOU
The phone calls to ask you for money must stop.
The letters from bill collectors must stop.
Bill collectors may not contact your employer, family or friends.
Our law firm's website (www.williamwolfsonlaw.com) has information on how to deal with bill collectors, including pay day lenders.
STAY AGAINST AUTOMATIC BANK WITHDRAWALS
If you have given someone permission to automatically take money from your bank account (an ACH withdrawal) this must stop. Tell your bank. Go visit your bank and sign the forms needed so they can stop the automatic withdrawals.
PAY DAY LENDERS
Many are out of state. Some are not even in the United States. They will just keep calling to keep you on the phone in the hope you will weaken and let them take money from you or someone else. Explain that you do not plan to pay them and that they should not talk to you again or call you.
Ask them for their name, address and where to write to them. These bill collectors often do not care to respect laws that prohibit them from threatening you with arrest. They cannot have you arrested. Police departments do not work for bill collectors.
Ask them to leave you alone.
Ask them the interest rate they are charging you. Write it down.
Ask them to mail to you proof of what you owe, what you signed and a copy of all charges and payments.
New Jersey law makes charging too much interest a criminal offense. Charges in excess of 30% interest are prohibited unless there is some special reason allowing the charges.
If you have filed a bankruptcy case or have hired a lawyer to do so, ask them to call your attorney, identify the attorney and hang up. Always keep track of the callers and what they have said so you attorney can ask a bankruptcy judge to decide if the caller should be penalized by the Bankruptcy Court for a stay violation.