Debt collectors are the worst. At least that's how it feels when they're contacting you about a debt.
But it's true that some of them really are awful. Many of them regularly violoate debtors consumer rights under the Fair Debt Collection Practices Act and the Texas Fair Debt Collection Practices Act. Here's what you need to know regarding what a debt collector can't do.
Debt collectors can't try collecting a debt that you don't owe.
Believe it or not this happens more than you think and for a variety of reasons. Examples include accounting error creating debts that doesn't exist and debts that are paid off being recorded improperly or not at all. If you're being contacted by a debt collector about a debt you don't believe you owe you can ask them to validate the debt. You can do this by sending them a letter requesting certain information about the debt. Here's an article from nerdwallet explaining more about validation letters.
If a debt collector is contacting you about a debt you don't owe they're violating your consumer rights. When you call our office we'll help explain your rights and create a strategy to protect you and let the debt collector know they messed up.
Debt collectors can't try collecting more than what you owe.
There are a variety of ways this can happen but one of the most obvious is debt collectors trying to add fees or interest. They simply can't do it and if they're trying to then they're violating the law, and since they're violating the law we can sue them if you give us a call.
Debt collectors can't tell people in your life that they're contacting you to collect a debt.
Debt collectors are allowed to contact your friends and family, but they're only allowed to get your contact information from those individuals. If they discuss your debt with anyone other than you or your spouse they're violating your rights under the Fair Debt Collection Practices Act and the Texas Fair Debt Collection Practices Act. Give us a call if this has happened to you and we can explain your legal options.
Debt collectors can't call you at work if you ask them to stop.
Debt collectors can call you at work right up until you ask them tell them that you're at work and you can't take their calls. If they continue calling you then they're choolsing to violate your consumer rights. Give us a call to discuss how we can help protect your rights and let the debt collectors know not to mess with you.
Debt collectors can't cuss at your or use other obcsene or abusive language.
In addition to cussing this includes racial slurs, anti-lgbtq slurs, means that a debt collector can't threaten you or your family or use any sort of violent language make violent suggestions. If a debt collector does this they're harassing you and violating the Fair Debt Collection Practices Act and the Texas Fair Debt Collection Practices Act. If this has happened to you or if you suspect that it will happen to you then you need to record the call. Additionally, when you answer the phone and start recording you need to tell them that the call is being recorded and that if they continue the call then they're consenting to being recorded. There are apps out there for this, most of which will let you start with a free trial but make you subscribe after a few days. If you're being harassed by a debt collector though it may be a good idea to consider the subscription. We sue harassing debt collectors, and if you're being harassed by debt collector give us a call and let us help you fight back.
Debt collectors can't call you at unreasonable times.
This typically means that debt collectors can contact you between 9:00 p.m. and 8:00 a.m. If they do then they're harassing you and if you give us a call we'll let them know they messed up.
If, however, you don't work a standard 9-5 and your sleep schedule is different from the norm, if you tell the debt collectors this and what hours they can call you then they should respect your schedule call you during the hours when you've told them they can call. It's important not to try getting too cute with this though, you wouldn't want to tell them that they could only call you from 9:00 p.m. to 8:00 a.m. You'll want to make sure that you actually give them a time for contacting you that's reasonable and during the day. If you've done this and a debt collector is still calling you when you've asked them not to, then they're harrasing you. We sue harassing debt collectors, give us a call and we can discuss your legal options.
Debt collectors can't call you repeatedly.
If a debt collector is calling you multiple times in a single day or even in a week then they're harassing you. The general rule here is that a debt collector can't call you more than 7 times in 7 days. Of course, the circumstances of every situation can change how that rule is applied, but typically if you feel like the debt collector is calling you too much too often then your consumer rights are being violated and you should give us a call. We can sue those debt collectors and get them to stop calling you.
You cannot be arrested for a debt owed to a debt collector AND there will never be a warrant issued for a debt to a debt collector.
You probably know this, but a lot of people don't or they forget it in the midst of a stressful day and a harassing call from a debt collector. Debt collectors still use this tactic because it still works. But know that it's simply not true, and debt collectors are violating laws meant to protect you. Give us a call if you're experiencing these types of threats and harassment, and we'll help you set those debt collectors straight.
Debt collectors can't threaten legal action they don't intend to take.
This one is tricky and by the time you figure out it's happened there are probably a lot of other ways that the debt collector has violated your consumer rights. Let me start by saying that debt collectors can and do sue people, although many of them are notorious for bringing lawsuits that are so weak that they only way they can win is by the debtor not responding. However, a debt collector can't threaten to sue you and then not sue you. That's a coercive attempt to collect a debt and it's forbiden. If you're dealing with a debt collector who has threatened legal action but hasn't taken any, give us a call and we can help set things straight.
How to get a debt collector to stop contacting you.
There are two ways to do this. The first way is to have an attorney represent you. Once we represent you the debt collector can no longer contact you and has to deal directly with us. The second way to get a debt collector to stop contacting you is to send them a letter clearly telling them to stop contacting you unless they plan to take specific actions against you, like suing you. You should keep a copy of the letter and send it to the debt collector via certified mail, return receipt requested, and make sure you save the return reciept. Now, debt collectors aren't angels and they are well known for doing things they're not supposed to do. Debt collectors who contact you after you're represented by an attorney or you've asked them to stop contacting you are violating your consumer rights. You can give us a call, or simply let us know if we're representing you, and we'll get this taken care of.
A disclaimer about debt collectors.
You have more rights than you might think when it comes to debt collectors, and often protecting those rights is as simple as giving us a call to get the process started. However, and this is really important, the debt collection industry almost by it's very nature is seedy and predatory, and some debt collection agencies are fly by night operations. These types of debt collection agencies will pop up and operate in a strip mall somewhere for a few months only to shut down for a couple of weeks before reopening in another location under a different name. This shouldn't come as much of a surprise to us since we all half expect every unkown number that calls us to be a scam. But wha
.t it means for us is that sometimes the best we can do is file complaints with the appropriate governmental agencies and hope that they'll track them down one day. That said, there are many legitimate debt collectors out their violating the law because it helps them make more money and most debtors never defend themselves against their BS. Give us a call and we'll let them know that this time they messed with the wrong one.