Establishing laws to allow legal agencies to oversee the collection of consumer debts, the Federal Debt Collection Practices Act (FDCPA) was enacted to establish regulations for debt collection practices.
It helps ensure the fair treatment of debtors and is designed to make sure that debts are not misrepresented. It states how consumers can dispute the validity of debts and how collection agencies must validate the debt when asked to do so.
The FDCPA laws are very precise and detailed.
Texas FDCPA Laws and How They Work
While Texans have the protection offered by the FDCPA, state laws have been enacted to add to the protection provided to consumers through debt collection legislation. So, in Texas debt collection agencies must comply with both the FDCPA and the Texas Fair Debt Collection Practices Act.
These ensure that the consumer is treated fairly and that the collection agency goes through the collection process in a fair, efficient manner while providing all the necessary documentation to report the collections process.
The laws prevent debt collectors from making false statements, such as alleging you owe more than you do or by claiming to be law enforcement or representatives of a court. Any letterhead or documents that look like it is of a legal nature, such as from a court of law, is prohibited.
Debt collectors can only call between 8 a.m. and 9 p.m. and cannot call repeatedly, which would be classified as harassment. The laws indicate what actions are prohibited when collecting debts.
Differences in the FDCPA and Texas' Laws
While there are many similarities between the FDCPA and the Texas Fair Debt Collection Practices Act, there are some differences. Debt collectors in Texas must adhere to the rules and regulations of both.
The law specifies that if you have an attorney representing you and they send the debt collector a cease-and-desist letter, the debt collector may contact your attorney instead of you.
However, if you are not represented by a lawyer debt collectors can only contact other people to find out your phone number, address, and your place of employment. They are prohibited from contacting a third-party to get information more than once.
The debt collector has five days after first contacting you to validate your debt. They must tell you how much you owe, the name of the creditor who is owed, and how to respond if you don't think you owe the money.
Consult with a Texas FDCPA Attorney
If you have been contacted by an unscrupulous debt collector, you should consult with a Texas FDCPA attorney as quickly as possible. An attorney can stop the harassing phone calls and ensure you get treated fairly.
If a debt collector has violated the FDCPA or the Texas Fair Debt Collection Practices Act, an attorney can help you get back on track and pursue damages up to $1,000 per violation from the offending debt collector.
Your Texas FDCPA attorney can handle all of your debt collection issues in an efficient manner. Schedule a consultation with a Texas FDCPA attorney today so you can stop the annoying phone calls.