The United States government typically takes the lead is enacting sweeping legislation that dramatically changes the legal landscape. Such was the case with the Fair Debt Collection Practices Act (FDCPA).
Passed by the United States Congress in 1977, the FDCPA gave consumers a chance to fight back against the unethical practices implemented by debt collection agencies.
Instead of being bullied around by unethical third party debt collectors, consumers gained the right to work with an attorney to stop all forms of harassment, as well as seek monetary compensation for violations of one or more provisions of the groundbreaking federal law.
As it is with virtually every other federal law, nearly every state passed its own version of the FDCPA. In Texas, that is called the Texas Fair Debt Collection Practices Act.
Overview of the Texas Fair Debt Collection Practices Act
Most consumer advocates view the Texas Fair Debt Collection Practices act as being relatively consumer friendly. The viewpoint of consumer advocates is based on comparisons with other states, not the powerful legal provisions written into the FDCPA.
Texas lawmakers closely followed the federal lead by writing provisions that mirror what is found within the landmark federal consumer protection law. In a break from many states, Texas has a consumer friendly wage garnishment law for outstanding consumer debts.
The only debts eligible for wage garnishment in the State of Texas include taxes, alimony, child support, and student loans.
Prohibited Debt Collection Agency Behavior
Like the FDCPA, the Texas Fair Debt Collection Practices Act focuses on outlawing several previously permitted third party debt collector tactics. Most of the illegal tactics center on intimidating consumers into paying off outstanding credit card and personal loan balances.
Here is the list of illegal behaviors as specified under the Texas Fair Debt Collection Practices Act:
- Using abusive language
- Making physical threats
- Threatening to sue
- Constant harassment by calling consumers at all times during the day
- Claiming consumers face criminal charges for not paying off delinquent debts
- Increasing the amount of the original debt
- Lying about company and/or representative names
- Impersonating a government or law enforcement agency
- Lying about collection agency information
Why Hiring a Consumer Protection Lawyer Makes Sense
Third party debt collectors bank on consumers fighting the good fight by themselves. Bill collectors work with experienced lawyers that know exactly how to get consumers to break, without breaking state and/or federal consumer protection laws.
If a debt collection agency comes after you, working with a licensed FDCPA lawyer lets the third party debt collector know you are serious about upholding your Texas Fair Debt Collection Practices Act rights.
Your lawyer will also explain to a debt collection agency that you understand all the consumer protection rights granted by the FDCPA.
Your attorney might send a letter to a third party debt collector requesting the company stop harassing you by phone and/or mail. You might be able to invoke the Texas statute of limitations imposed for the collection of outstanding credit card and personal loan accounts.
The most important service you lawyer will provide is to determine whether you have a strong enough case against a bill collector to file a civil lawsuit seeking monetary damages.
Take advantage of the FDCPA, as well as the Texas Fair Debt Collection Practices Act, by speaking with a highly rated consumer protection attorney today.