Question: Hello. I have been receiving robo-calls from a bill collector off and on for about a year on a debt that was reported in a personal Ontario bankruptcy in November, 2008. I never bothered to reply as I assumed it was a blind attempt at collecting on a debt already written off as part of the bankruptcy. Today, however, I received a letter through regular post from a lawyer representing the collector.
Does this attempt on their part have any merit? Does the statute of limitations apply? Is all of this moot, due to the fact that the debt was part of my bankruptcy? How should I proceed?
Answer: You are correct, this is all moot, since the debt was presumably discharged in your bankruptcy. However, you should not ignore it, since it’s possible that the collection agency is not aware of your bankruptcy and will continue to attempt to collect. It is possible that the original creditor (such as the bank or credit card company) was notified of your bankruptcy, but transferred the debt to a collection agency and failed to advise the collection agency of your bankruptcy. Since neither you nor your trustee knew that the debt had gone to a collection agency, they were never notified, which is why they are calling you.
You should contact the lawyer and the collection agency and advise them that you filed for bankruptcy. Give them any information that you have, such as the name and phone number of your trustee, and your bankruptcy estate number.
To be safe, you should also contact your trustee and give them the name, address and fax number of the lawyer that is contacting you. Request that they send the lawyer a copy of your “creditors’ package” which contains all of the information about your bankruptcy.
If you receive any further calls or letters from the lawyer or the creditor, you should contact them again to ensure that they stop contacting you.