After filing for bankruptcy, MOST debtors will not be speaking on the phone to MOST of their creditors. But some will. And talking to the right person may make the difference between a productive phone call and a hair-pulling experience.
Some of you may need to contact your creditors to arrange for reaffirmation agreements after filing a Chapter 7 Bankruptcy. Some of you may need to contact your creditors to make post-filing mortgage payments after filing a Chapter 13 Bankruptcy. Still others may need to call creditors for different reasons entirely.
But no matter why you’re calling a creditor, if you dial a generic 800 number to reach customer service – particularly with the bigger national creditors like Bank of America, Wells Fargo, Capital One, Citi, and others – odds are the first person you speak to isn’t going to know the first thing about bankruptcy.
Most front-line customer service agents are trained only to answer basic questions, and many of them have little training and little experience, as the revolving doors on those jobs spin quite rapidly. Even higher level supervisors often aren’t particularly helpful.
If you have filed for bankruptcy, the very first thing you should tell any creditor you contact – no matter the reason – is that you have filed for bankruptcy and ask to speak to their “bankruptcy department” or “loss mitigation department”.
It’s very important that you only do that AFTER you have filed for bankruptcy. Remember that hiring an attorney to file for bankruptcy is not synonymous with actually having filed your case. If you tell a customer service agent that you have filed for bankruptcy when you actually have only hired an attorney, you’re going to confuse the hell out of the representative.
Once you reach the bankruptcy department, you can ask questions about reaffirmation agreements, make post-petition payments on mortgages, and so forth – and you’ll probably have an easier time of it since the people in those departments tend to have better training and are specifically trained to deal with bankruptcy issues.