Even when a debt is legitimate, debtors have rights when debt collectors contact them. If you’re dealing with debt and calls from creditors, it is critical to educate yourself about these rights.
What Does Texas Law Dictate About Creditors?
As a debtor, both state and federal laws protect you. Per the Texas Debt Collection Act, there are several things creditors cannot do. Debt collectors are prohibited from the following actions when it comes to communication with debtors:
- Using obscene or profane language
- Threatening criminal acts or violence
- Falsely accusing the consumer of a crime or committing fraud
- Harassing people by calling anonymously or making continuous calls
- Placing the call as a collect call but refusing to disclose the name of the company calling before the recipient accepts the charges
Fraudulent collection tactics are also forbidden, including:
- Misrepresenting the total amount of the debt
- Using false identification and a false name
- Failing to disclose the name of the company that owns the debt
- Sending documents that falsely claim to be from an official government agency or court
- Attempting to collect more than the amount the debtor truly owes
No matter where you’re at in the process, Daniel Ciment, a recognized consumer advocate and bankruptcy attorney with over 15 years of experience in debt collection defense and consumer protection in Katy, Texas, can help.
What is the Fair Debt Collection Practices Act?
The Fair Debt Collection Practices Act is the federal version of rights for consumers. This law limits what third-party debt collectors can do in attempting to collect a debt and includes restrictions on the time of day and number of times they can contact a debtor. A debtor who a collector harasses retains the additional right to sue the debt collector in federal or state court. The debtor could recover legal fees or damages; contact the bankruptcy attorneys with experience in debt collection defense and consumer protection at Ciment Law Firm, PLLC, to learn if this is an option for you.
The Most Common Scare Tactics of Debt Collectors
Debt collectors often rely on a lack of consumer knowledge about their rights and will attempt to use legal and illegal scare tactics. Even if the debt is legitimate, being mindful of your rights can help you respond to a debt collector who has crossed the line. Furthermore, the agency contacting you must be a real debt collector and not portraying themselves as a collection agency to scam you out of money.
Unfortunately, debt collectors turn to these tactics because those actions can spur a consumer to pay down the debt. Debt collectors might attempt to:
- Make claims that you’ll be arrested unless you make a payment
- Threaten to sue you
- Contact family members or neighbors
- Reach out over the phone in a harassing manner, such as calling you repeatedly at dinnertime or contacting you at work when you cannot accept personal calls
You’ve Been Sued for a Debt. Now What?
You still have options to resolve a debt if a debt collector has sued you. In that case, you’ll get a copy of the court summons and the complaint. Don’t ignore the lawsuit if you do receive notice. If you do not respond to the lawsuit, the debt collector has the right to ask the court to garnish your wages.
Get help from an experienced lawyer to ensure that the collector indeed has the legal right to pursue the debt; if the statute of limitations has expired, the collector cannot bring a suit. Explore your defense options, including debt resolution, with the help of an attorney with experience in debt collection defense, consumer protection, and bankruptcy.
What Does it Mean to Be Judgment Proof?
When a person does not have enough assets in their name for a creditor to access, this person can be called “judgment proof.” Creditors can go after anyone they believe has a real debt managed by their agency, but if a person does not own any assets, there’s nothing to be liquidated or taken to cover that debt. In this instance, the creditor might be successful in terms of winning a legal case but won’t be able to get that debt paid.
More often than not, a person is only truly judgment proof when they don’t own anything or have a job. It’s essential for debtors to know that creditors’ judgments can last for many years, so a temporary status of owning nothing and having no job does not protect that debtor for the long term.
How Can Ciment Law Firm PLLC’s Proven 3-Step Process Help You?
The experienced attorneys at Ciment Law, PLLC, a Katy, Texas Consumer Protection Firm, know the common tactics used by debtors, how to respond if a creditor is harassing you, and the most appropriate ways to respond to a communication from a collector.
It’s why our firm has created a 3-step process with you and a fresh financial start in mind. It begins with resolving your debts and is followed by protecting your rights and rebuilding your credit. As a debtor right now, you likely feel overwhelmed and as though there is no way out. Turn to the support of our experienced consumer protection, debt collection defense, and bankruptcy attorneys to get your questions answered. Contact us to schedule your free consultation by filling out the form or calling us at (281) 937-3949.
Disclaimer: The information in this document is provided for general informational purposes only, and may not reflect the current law in your jurisdiction. No information contained in this post should be construed as legal advice from the individual author or the law firm, nor is it intended to be a substitute for legal counsel on any subject matter. No reader of this post should act or refrain from acting on the basis of any information included in, or accessible through, this post without seeking the appropriate legal or other professional advice on the particular facts and circumstances at issue from a lawyer licensed in the recipient’s state, country or other appropriate licensing jurisdiction.
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