I have been a client of a creditor for 12 years and have never missed a monthly payment until now. I now owe the creditor for February and March. I filed for Chapter 7 Bankruptcy on February 27, 2012. Am I correct to assume that the creditor does not have the right to deny me services based on the missed February payment? The creditor is not a secured creditor, taxing authority, or student loan company, but just a regular unsecured creditor. If they do deny me services, isn't that a violation of an automatic stay? Am I correct to assume that my obligations to pay, based on the date of my filiing begin with the March 2012 payment?
I am not sure what you mean by "deny [you] services." You don't say who the creditor is, or what services they are denying you.
The automatic stay under 11 U.S.C. section 362 generally operates to prevent creditors from taking steps to collect what you owe them while the stay is pending, although there are exceptions. In other words, the automatic stay stops creditors from suing you for a debt or calling to collect a debt from you. But that's a different matter than simply not extending you new credit.
As a general principle of law, if I am doing business with someone and I am concerned that they will not pay me for goods or services, I am under no obligation to extend credit to them but may demand that they pay me as a condition of supplying them with goods or services.
Consult your bankruptcy lawyer if you need legal advice. I don't practice law in Rhode Island and don't hold Rhode Island licensure, so don't take what I say here as legal advice. It's just my two cents.
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Chapter 7 Bankruptcy Attorney
Private creditors always have the right to decline providing credit to anyone for any reason. The automatic stay prohibits creditors from taking steps to collect a past debt, but it does not require the creditor to continue to provide you with services on credit thereafter.
Hope this perspective helps!
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The previous answers are absolutely correct. A creditor has no obligation to extend credit or services to anyone, particularly to someone with whom they are concerned will not pay the bills - that's just good business.
Advice on this forum is for informational purposes only and should never be mistaken as a substitute for legal advice. If you are in need of legal advice, you should consult local legal counsel.
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Family Law Attorney
The automatic stay has nothing at all to do with extending you future credit or wishing to do business with you. If you discharge on a debt to a creditor, they certainly can refuse to do business with you in the future - credit unions are notorious for this as are non-emergency medical providers. Utilities are also doing this - what they'll say is, "Okay...you discharged the power bill you owed us. Now, you are coming to us for service at a new residence. We'll give you service, but you'll have to pay a non-refundable deposit that, surprise, is the exact amount you discharged on earlier." It's all perfectly legal.
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