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Can Trustee make you adjust a bill you actually pay

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  • Can Trustee make you adjust a bill you actually pay

    We filed on Oct. 4th. We hade our 341 meeting on Nov. 1st. During the meeting the trustee mentioned something about our phone bill. We currently pay $495 for our bill which includes lines for our adult kids. The lawyer at the time of our meeting couldn’t remember how she calculated our payment on schedule j. Today I got an email from the lawyers office asking how much the portion of my daughter who lives with me but goes to school and works part time line was. So I went and grabbed the petition and noticed they had reduced the phone bill by 225 already when they filed it. So our schedule is already listing the bill for less than what we pay for my line, my husbands line and the line for my tablet. All of our lines have a next plan attached to them that still have at least 18 months to go.

    My question is has anyone’s trustee made them cancel their phones. I’m fine with them reducing the amount to what is just our two lines and the tablet but that was already done. In addition to that even with that bill, my cable, electric, rent, renters insurance and water we are still under the federal allowances by about $500 for a household of three.

    I thought after the 341 meeting I would just make our payment, pray nothing horrible happens and keep under the radar. Now I’m up past my bed time stressing out about this.

  • #2
    We have $250 on our petition for phone/wireless. Four years later, we pay about $270 with Verizon for 4 lines and a tablet but a total of 22GB a month for data. We have been at $310 the past couple years but my wife and I keeping our old phones for now to knock off $20 per line. We had no reduction by the Trustee.

    You have AT&T, so it is possible your bill is the amount it is because of other (bundled) services like DirectTV or U-Verse and landline?

    I don't think that the Trustee will make you cancel service because you would pay termination fees, so setting the amount in your petition at the amount that it is is just another way of having you eat the expense over whatever allotment the Trustee/court is willing to give. If you can justify the $495 as necessary, you can try to argue it with the trustee and the BK Court. One option is to go with Sprint who keeps sending me mailers for paying up to $650 a line and a supposedly cheaper monthly fee. I wasn't crazy about Sprint's call/data coverage (dropped calls, slow data).
    Filed Ch 13 Fall 2013, 60 month plan


    • #3
      I don't have a problem with them reducing the $495 to the $270 (well I do but I understand I guess), which would be just my line, my husbands line and the tablet that is under a line, leaving out my adult children. (I will keep trying to get them to pay me and then cancel their lines when their next plans are paid off.) Each of our lines have the next plan so that is why each line is high. But it seemed like they wanted to reduce it below the $270 which is actually less for our two lines and the tablet (our lines equal about $300). I just don't want them reducing it even further for legitimate charges that are ours.


      • #4
        They also asked for the portion of Insurance that we pay for the adult daughter that lives with us and goes to school. (Assuming they want to reduce the cost by her portion making our payment larger) Her car is under a loan in her name with my husband as a co-signer. She is making the payment for the car outside of the plan. So aren't we legally obligated to pay the insurance if she doesn't since his name is on the title? She makes little to no money at her current job and is looking for a different job but isn't having much luck and she is also going to school. Her income is barely covering her payment on her car.


        • #5
          As far as I know, bankruptcy laws do not allow a debtor to pay the living expenses of an adult child at the expense of creditors, unless the child is a disabled dependent.

          The trustee will not force you to cancel or change your cell plan, but he can argue that the payment used to arrive at your plan payment is too high and so your plan payment should be higher. The trustee could take the position that the line for your tablet is not necessary. If you also have a landline, he could also say that the cell phones aren't necessary at all. These kinds of things really vary by trustee. Keep in mind that if you can't afford to pay on your current contract, your obligations under the contract can be discharged. Talk to your attorney about this if you don't want to continue the contract.

          Who is required to insure a vehicle will depend on your state law. But, regardless of that, the trustee is not likely to allow the expense for an adult daughter's car. Like the cell phone bill, as long as you pay your confirmed plan payment, you can pay whatever you can afford.
          LadyInTheRed is in the black!
          Filed Chap 13 April 2010. Discharged May 2015.
          $143,000 in debt discharged for $36,500, including attorneys fees. Money well spent!


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