Can They Shut off my Phone if I File for Bankruptcy in New York City?

People faced with bankruptcy in New York City often want to know if they can wipe out utility bills such as their Con-Edison or Verizon Wireless bill in the process.  These past due bills can be eliminated, and the utility companies must typically also continue to provide you with service as long as you can make your monthly payment from the time you file onward.  Bills from cell phone companies like T-Mobile, Verizon, or ATT&T are treated differently from other utility bills in bankruptcy however.  Past due cell phone bills can be eliminated in bankruptcy, but the carrier is not legally required to provide you continued service in the future.

If you have been making your monthly cell phone payments you will not have an issue keeping your service when filing bankruptcy.  The phone itself is also safe, as is not worth enough for a trustee to be interested, and it can be exempted as personal property.  If you have been making automatic payments it may be a good idea to call your cell phone company to let them know that you are filing bankruptcy but that you plan to continue making your regular payments.   In other words if you are making you payments you will be able to keep your phone and your service.

On the other hand if you have not been making payments, and are behind on your cell phone bill, then bankruptcy can help you eliminate your past due bill, but you may need to take your phone and number to another service provider.  There are many companies that will gladly offer you a new contract with their company while allowing you to keep your phone and your phone number.

Compared to some of the debt that will be eliminated in your bankruptcy a cell phone bill is relatively minor, but cell phone contracts can really add up.  They have long term commitments, steep fees, and new charges for internet and data services.  Your attorney may want to take a close look at your plan and your best options moving forward as bankruptcy will allow you to get out of the current plan you have if it is the best financial option for you. Chapter 7 is your chance for a fresh start from your financial trouble.  To get the most out of the process you need to eliminate every debt and liability possible, including cell phone bills.

If you are already struggling to make ends meet, a big cell phone bill can make a difference to your overall financial wellbeing.  Nevertheless, keeping a long time phone number or even a new smart phone itself can be of concern to people considering bankruptcy protection.  The good news is that you can keep your phone and your phone number, and can likely eliminate a past due cell phone bill as well.  If you live in New York City and need immediate relief from your debts please contact the Law offices of William Waldner online or at 212.244.2882 to arrange a free consultation.  We only practice bankruptcy law and maintain a 99% Chapter 7 discharge record in New York City as of 9/31/16.

This article is intended for educational purposes only.  By reading this no attorney-client privilege has been created.