Fair Debt Collection Practices Act (FDCPA): Know Your Rights!

Texas state and federal collection laws dictate how debt companies are allowed to approach you to settle outstanding bills. Still, some collectors willfully choose to break these rules and harass you into settling in a way that can mess your credit up for years.   These predatory companies are not looking out for your best interests. They are instead looking to cash out as fast as they can, while taking advantage of you in your vulnerability.

FDCPA

In 1978 the Fair Debt Collection Practices Act, also known as the FDCPA, was passed by congress. This act established fair collection practices that outline how agencies should behave when seeking restitution for outstanding debts. At the time when the act was passed, these kinds of agencies were out of control, harassing debtors in all sorts of unethical ways. They even would harass people at their jobs, threaten them with repossessing their homes or with jail time, giving them misleading information, invading their personal privacy, or using additional threats. Luckily the FDCPA solved all of these issues. Hence, this is the end of our article.

Help! I am Being Harassed by Creditors!

Are you currently being harassed by creditors? The Fair Debt Collection Practices Act was passed 40 years ago, but this doesn’t mean all creditors respect or abide by its rules. If you are currently being attacked by a debt collection agency, it might be because they are ignorant of the law or simply don’t care.

The Law

Federal law, as supported by the FDCPA, lays out the following rules for debt collection companies:

  • Reasonable Contact:
    • Consumers cannot be contacted outside of 8:00 AM and 9:00 PM.
    • Debt collection agencies must cease communications upon request.
    • When a known attorney is representing a client, debt collection agencies are prohibited from contacting that client directly.
    • Abusive or profane language is prohibited.
    • Threats of arrest or ‘legal actions’ are not allowed.
    • Misrepresenting the debt, or misrepresentation about who is contacting you by the collection agency is illegal.
  • Requirements:
    • Proof, or verification of the debt is required. NOTE: You would be amazed at how many collection agencies do not actually know the original amount of the debt, or who the original source of the debt was.
    • Filing a lawsuit in the proper location: If they are actually going to go through with a lawsuit, they must file in your home state.
    • Self-identification: Do they address who they are even representing? Or do they just ‘want their money’.

And, since the company harassing you does not know the law, there might be something else they do not understand as well. If creditors do not follow the rules as outlined in the Fair Debt Collection Practices Act, they are susceptible to a lawsuit. This lawsuit can ask for up to $1,000 in statutory damage per incident. That means if they break the law on multiple occasions, you can ask for thousands of dollars in restitution. Plus, attorney fees.

Gathering Proof – What you can do to Fight Back!

If you are being harassed by a creditor, record everything. Record the times of the calls, who is calling, and what they are saying. Texas is considered a ‘one-party consent’ state, so as long as you are party to the call, you can record it without telling the other person on the phone. This can be done through a digital recorder attached to your cell phone’s headset jack, or by recording it through speaker phone. The more evidence you have the better, so it is better to gather it and not use it later, than to not.

You will also want to get a lawyer to represent your family or business. By doing this, creditors will have to work through them instead of you directly. If you are in debt, and need help, ShawDefense is here to serve you. Judge Jed Shaw has helped thousands of consumers like yourself protect themselves from illegal debt collection. On top of federal protections, the state of Texas also has laws in place that save you from unethical debt protection practices that he will invoke to get your life back, and focused on the future. Call us today for a free consultation. If you are in trouble due to outstanding bills, we would love to help.

Speak to Judge Jed Shaw today! Call 713-750-9038

 

 

Help Others, Share!

    Tags: collections in Texas, Fair debt collections practices act, FDCPA