Emory Bankruptcy Developments Journal


Although the Bankruptcy Code and the FDCPA have different purposes, the two frequently overlap where debt collectors are concerned. For example, consider a debt collector who sends a perfunctory initial collection letter referencing a debt that has been discharged in bankruptcy. Even though this letter technically violates the debtor's fresh start and is unfair and deceptive, the remedies under both statutes require knowledge of the discharge, which the debt collector likely did not have, and which the FDCPA does not impute from the original creditor. This Comment suggests that the problem is a lack of information. This Comment proposes a solution that provides accurate information of discharged debts while also protecting the fresh start: amending the FDCPA to (1) create a national registry to house discharge orders; and (2) require that debt collectors search the registry prior to making a first collection attempt.