BusinessWeek has a great article regarding collection and charge off accounts post-bankruptcy (thanks to Barry Ritholtz at The Big Picture for bringing it to my attention).
In a financial version of Night of the Living Dead, debts forgiven by bankruptcy courts are springing back to life to haunt consumers. Fueling these miniature horror stories is an unlikely market in which seemingly extinguished debts are avidly bought and sold.
The case of Van Rathavongsa illustrates how canceled debts regain vitality. The Raleigh (N.C.) factory worker pulled himself out from beneath a mountain of bills by means of a bankruptcy proceeding that wrapped up in 2002. One of the debts the judge canceled, or "discharged," was $9,523 Rathavongsa owed to Capital One Financial (COF), the big credit-card company. But Capital One continued to report the factory worker's discharged debt to credit bureaus as a live balance, according to documents filed in U.S. Bankruptcy Court in Raleigh...To obtain the home loan, Rathavongsa eventually did what many consumers in this situation do. He gave in and paid Capital One $9,523 he no longer legally owed.
The full article can be found here:
It's actually quite scary to think about some of the tactics that these institutions are utilizing. If you are in a similar situation and have some questions please feel free to contact me. I am not an attorney but have had a fair amount of experience working with clients to improve their credit. If it's beyond my area of expertise I will happily refer you to a qualified attorney.