You need to file bankruptcy and you have been told you must list all creditors, including their address, balance owed and account number. The task of locating this information may seem overwhelming especially if you have not been making your payments for a long period of time. The purpose of this post is to discuss what resources you may consult to assist you in locating the correct information for each of your creditors.
Important Note: Regardless of how you obtain the address that you use in your bankruptcy schedules, copies of the source of the address that you use should be maintained by you in the event proper service ever becomes an issue. You should keep those sources with your bankruptcy paperwork, and you need to keep these documents with your important papers. If you get the creditor’s address online, you should print out the appropriate web page that shows the address used.
- Account Statements
If you have a recent account statement from a creditor, it could not be easier, just bring it to your attorney and he can locate the correct address to use on your bankruptcy schedules. We recommend organizing your bills in groups (e.g., mortgages, car loans, medical, credit cards), and keeping the collection agency letters together with the statements from the original creditor. It is important to keep in mind that section 342(c)(2)(A) of the Bankruptcy Code requires that you use the correspondence address from these statements if the statements were received by you within the 90 days prior to filing your case.
To find the correct address you will have to you to closely examine the fine print of your account statement. The correspondence address may appear on the credit card statement under the heading “correspondences,” “write to us here,” “customer service,” “inquiries,” some will even list a specific “bankruptcy address.” If one of these addresses is provided you will need to use it and not the “billing” or “payment address.”
The resources that follow are to be used if you have not received statements or correspondences within that 90-day period and are offered as suggestions only.
- Call the Creditor
You can call the creditor to obtain the correct address to use. This may be necessary if you recently had a medical procedure and have not yet received all the bills that related to the medical procedure. Please keep notes concerning whom you spoke to and when you spoke to them. Of course, make sure to take down the address carefully to avoid errors. If you received a phone call from the creditor or collection agency, you could search your phone for the phone number, call and request the correct address.
Please exercise caution when speaking to a secured creditor that can repossess collateral, such as a lender that financed the purchase of your car. If you mention bankruptcy, they may repossess your vehicle.
- Search Your Emails for Communications from Creditors or Collection Agencies
Sometimes you may receive an email from the creditor or collection agency, especially if you have made a payment recently. The email may have an address or a phone number that you can use to obtain the correct address.
- The Creditor’s Website
In recent years it has become more common for individuals to pay bills electronically. In such cases you may not even receive statements. If this is the case, you may obtain the correspondence address from the creditor’s website. As noted above, please print the page and retain a copy for your records.
- Use of a Credit Report
If you have not received recent communications from the creditor or the collection agency, you may need to rely on your memory aided by a recent credit report to insure that you list all people you may owe money. Typically, we have found that the addresses listed on the credit report are not always reliable. Therefore, we recommend to our clients that they call the 800-number listed on the credit report and request a correspondence address. As noted above, care must be taken never to tell a car company that you are preparing to file bankruptcy. Also keep in mind that if the creditor is listed on your bankruptcy you should list them in your bankruptcy even if the account is listed as a “charged off” account. Some credit reports contain a bankruptcy notice address, but most do not. You can obtain your free credit report from each of the three major credit reporting agencies each year from annualcreditreport.com
- Secretary of State Website
You can visit the North Carolina Secretary of State’s to search for North Carolina Corporations (or other the secretary of state for other states) and obtain the registered agent’s name and address. The website for the North Carolina Secretary of State is: North Carolina Secretary of State
- Online Search
You can search online, using a search engine such as Google, for the creditor’s official website. Typically, you can find the creditor’s correspondence address on its official website.
- The Special Problems Relating to Payday Loans
Pay day loans typically operate in the shadows of the lending industry often purposefully avoiding giving an address where they may receive notice. Most do not appear on credit reports. You should nevertheless first seek to obtain an accurate address from the creditor itself. The following site may help you locate a correct address if your own efforts to obtain an address directly from the creditor prove unsuccessful. Online-payday-loans.org
- Miscellaneous Other Sources
NC Process Agent Directory (Process agent for NC State Agencies)
Public Agencies (EDNC)
Service Agents (EDNC)
FDIC Bank Find (Use with caution if you are not an attorney since the name searched for on the websites would have to be correct, or the wrong address could be obtained).
- Listing both the Creditor and the Collection Agencies
As noted above, if your debts have been sent to collection, we recommend that you list on your bankruptcy schedules the address for the original creditor and all collection agencies that may have tried to collect that account.
We advise our clients that, if after they file bankruptcy they receive phone calls from creditor to take notes concerning when and who they speak to, and to tell the creditor or collector that they filed bankruptcy, give the case number, the court, the date they filed bankruptcy, and their attorney’s name and phone number. We also ask our clients to request from the creditor or collector for a correct address so that they contact our office to add the creditor in the event that they failed to list them.
If you have questions, please do not hesitate to contact us either online or by phone (919)875-8773