I left the lawyer's office with advice on how to handle future collection calls:
Tell them you're going to give them my name and phone number, and that you've been advised not to talk further with them.
As soon as I got to my car I put a slip of paper with the correct spelling of the lawyer's name and phone number and slipped it into the slide-out keyboard. Then I went to Controls - Contacts - Reject List - Delete All. The block list that I had so carefully added to after each new phone number called was wiped out.
(Sidenote: All the calls have been polite even up until now, which surprised me. I had expected more aggressive techniques, but I guess since I'm still under 30 days late they'd have reason to keep my business if they can.)
Within the hour I got my first call.
I spoke with the lady from Capital One first. She gave her schpiel. I confirmed her name and told her exactly what the lawyer told me to say. She said, "Oh, I'd be happy to take that information from you. Would you give me just a minute to pull the right screen up?" All she asked after that was whether it was a debt relief lawyer or if it was a bankruptcy lawyer, in which case my number would be pulled from the call list in her system. I told her it was bankruptcy. She said, "I've got it. Thank you so much, and good luck."
Chase called next. This time I modified my schpiel to specifically say "bankruptcy attorney". The gentleman was also very polite and happy to take my lawyer's info.
He then asked for the address. I didn't have it as I was in the car. Then he asked what chapter I was filing, which I answered. Then he asked if I had a case number yet, which I don't. Then he asked if he could know why I chose to file bankruptcy at which point I said, "I'm sorry, but my lawyer said not to get into a conversation with you." He confirmed he had the number and to have a good day.
Bank of America
Wouldn't you know, within another hour BOA called. It was another woman. She was just as friendly as the other two and confirmed they'd stop calling me and get further information from the lawyer. She asked a few of the same questions Chase did, but only what chapter and whether I had a case number yet.
And just like that all three creditors were informed that I'm filing bankruptcy. I thought this step would be hard, but honestly it was a huge weight off my shoulders.
The first big step was to stop paying my bills. The next was the time I spent dreading getting the collection calls and letters. Then admitting I was filing.
I'm still here. The earth didn't swallow me, nobody laughed or teased, and my heart didn't stop.
I CAN DO THIS.