If you are in need of debt relief in Texas and debt collectors keep calling you, it is important to know your rights under the Fair Debt Collection Practices Act (FDCPA). The FDCPA exists to protect you from a debt collector's unfair, deceptive, or abusive behavior. The act does not relieve you of any debts you legitimately owe; it simply keeps collectors in line.
- The FDCPA covers any personal, family or household debts including credit cards, medical bills, mortgages, and vehicle loans.
- A debt collector cannot call you before 8 A.M. or after 9 P.M., unless you tell a collection agency that it may contact you outside those hours.
- You also have the right to tell collectors verbally or in writing that they cannot call you at work; however, if you do not tell them, they do have the right to call you at your place of employment.
- If a debt collector contacts you and you do not want them to get in touch with you again, send a letter via certified mail telling them to stop. Be sure to make a copy of the letter for your records. Keep in mind that they can still contact you in two instances; to tell you that they will not be contacting you anymore, or to let you know that they are suing you.
- Debt collectors can call other people to find out your address and home phone number, but they cannot discuss the details of your debt with that person.
- If a debt collector contacts you, then you have the right to demand that he send you a written "validation notice" within five days to provide you with the name of the creditor and how much you owe. The notice must also tell you what to do if you don't think you owe the money.
- You can sue any collectors if you feel that they violated the law.
- Debt collectors cannot harass you, cannot make any false statements, and cannot engage in unfair practices.
The Federal Trade Commission (FTC) enforces the FDCPA, so if you think a debt collector is acting in an illegal manner, contact them, the Texas Attorney General's office and Houston debt management attorney J. Thomas Black at 888-707-1233.