In the United States, we have the Fair Debt Collection Practices Act (FDCPA) to provide some legal protection to debtors from debt collectors. In Texas, we also have the Texas Debt Collection laws specifically for our state’s residents.
Those laws limit what is and is not allowed in the pursuit of collecting a debt. But they don’t change what you owe.
Do I really still owe that debt?
If you owe something for products or services you received but didn’t pay for in full, you still owe that debt. It’s fair to the lenders or service providers that they are allowed to try to collect the debt owed.
What is not fair is anything beyond what the FDCPA allows, and anything which violates or ignores a bankruptcy, if you have filed for that relief.
It is also not fair or legal for debt collectors to attempt to collect a debt which is older than the statute of limitations for that debt. The length of time varies depending upon the type of debt and the state law named in your original agreement, but typically this is around 3-6 years.
Is it fair for them to keep contacting me?
It is fair for the person or company to whom you owe a debt to contact you to try to collect.
What is not fair is for the debt collector to harass, oppress or abuse you – or anyone else they contact when attempting to collect the debt you owe.
They are not allowed to use obscene or profane language when they contact you. They aren’t allowed to threaten you with violence or harm.
They can’t refuse to identify who they are when they contact you.
Is it fair for them to tell people I owe them money?
It is fair for the creditor or debt collector to report your debt to credit reporting agencies. However, they can’t publish lists of names of people who owe them money.
Is it fair for them to take my money?
In some cases, your wages may be garnished (part of your paychecks or money taken from your bank account goes to the debt collector or creditor until the debt is paid off). This is fair, in certain circumstances, to the creditor.
What is not “fair,” or even legal, is for a debt collector to threaten to garnish your wages if they cannot legally do so.
If you believe you are being harassed by a debt collector who is going beyond what the law allows, you may be able to pursue some legal remedies to stop those practices. Our attorneys at The Werner Law Group can give you advice in any debt collecting scenario you have.
You can contact us using our form here on the website, call us at 361-578-7200 or even text Leslie Werner directly at 361-648-6888 if you prefer. We’ll discuss things with you and help you determine what next steps you should take.
Debt collection is legal, but even as a debtor, you have rights, and The Werner Law Group is here to help you defend those rights.