§ 31.5 — Collection Agencies
Revised: April 1, 2009
Claims against the debtor often have been turned over to collection agencies by the time of consultation with bankruptcy counsel. It is important to list in the schedules both the collection agency and the underlying creditor. Debtors should be asked to bring the “dunning letters” from collection agencies and any evidence they have of the underlying obligation. Complete names, addresses and account numbers for both the collection agency and the underlying creditor are needed.
Experienced practitioners know that a great deal of unsecured debt in Chapter 13 cases—especially credit card debt—has been sold to third-party collectors that then file proofs of claims in bankruptcy that are several hands removed from the original creditor. These claims are often inaccurate and rarely properly documented.1 Matching up debt buyers and lenders and verifying claims is increasingly difficult in Chapter 13 practice.