Covering Business Credit Logo Home   About Us   Services   Credit Articles   Q&A   Contact  

  Business Credit Articles  

Myths and Misconceptions about the U.S. Bankruptcy Code
By Michael C. Dennis, MBA, CBF

There are a number of widely held myths and misconceptions about the U.S. Bankruptcy Code. In many cases, what trade creditors do not know can and will hurt them financially. Here are some of those myths and misconceptions:

Myth: The Bankruptcy Code is so complex that there is no way to understand it unless you are a lawyer - so why try? Reality. The concepts are not so difficult that you should avoid trying to understand them. The less you understand about the bankruptcy process, the more chance there is to make an expensive mistake.

Myth: At the first sign of trouble, customers file for bankruptcy protection. Reality: Filing bankruptcy is a serious decision and for most companies it is a/the last resort.

Myth: A creditor must always file a proof of claim to receive a payment in a bankruptcy. Reality: In a Chapter 11 case, a creditor may file a proof of claim, but is not required to do so if the debtor's schedules of liabilities lists the correct amount due and the correct classification of the debt [for example as a general unsecured debt]. However, most trade creditors always file a Proof of Claim - just in case.

Myth: All pre-petition debts are dischargeable. Reality: Not all debt can be discharged. For example, a debtor will not be relieved of a debt arising from a fraud perpetrated by the debtor against a creditor.

Myth: When a business files Chapter 7 liquidation, the assets of the company are always sold piecemeal at "fire-sale" prices. Reality. A trustee can liquidate the assets piecemeal, but if selling the business as a going concern is feasible and will maximize the return to creditors, the trustee will try to do so.

Myth: In a Chapter 11 bankruptcy, there is no risk to selling to a debtor in bankruptcy. Reality. A bankrupt customer guarantees no one payment, and statistically more than half of the companies that file Chapter 11 are not successful in reorganizing. The Bankruptcy Code does not guarantee payment to any creditor.

Myth: Any payment received within 90 days of the bankruptcy filing date is a preferential transfer that must be returned [disgorged] on demand. Reality. Not all payments received within 90 days prior to the bankruptcy filing date are preferential. There are a number of exclusions. Creditors that are not aware of these exclusions may be refunding money that the creditor company is legally entitled to keep.

Myth: Creditors are required to extend credit to a Debtor in Possession. Reality. Creditors are under absolutely no obligation to extend credit to a DIP. Decisions to do so are made at the sole discretion of the creditor.

Myth: It is a violation of the automatic stay to stop goods in transit when a customer files for bankruptcy protection. Reality. Creditors are free to stop shipments in transit once they learn that a bankruptcy has been filed.

Myth: When filing a Proof of Claim, creditors are not required to list [a] open credits or [b] on-account payments on the Claim. Reality. The Code requires creditors to file a Proof of Claim for the net balance owed by the debtor. Creditors that do not include credit balances are filing fraudulent claims.

© 2001 All Rights Reserved

Share |

Business Credit Articles
Send to a Friend
Ask A Credit Question
Questions & Answers
Business Credit News
Your Privacy
Site Map