Although Texas consumers who are falling behind on payments might feel powerless when confronted by debt collection agencies, the Fair Debt Collection Practices Act places limits on the behavior of these companies. This federal law establishes that collectors cannot act in an abusive manner toward people.
Most sources of debt fall under the protection of the act, including mortgages, auto loans, credit cards, and medical bills. The law does not apply to actions that original creditors might take to contact people who have failed to pay, but third-party collection agencies must adhere to the terms of the FDCPA. Debt buyers and attorneys also fall under the purview of the law.
When debt collectors contact people, they must limit telephone calls to times between 8 a.m. and 9 p.m. Debtors do not have to accept calls at their workplaces either as long as they tell collectors about their wishes. Collectors who issue threats or otherwise harass debtors could also violate the law. Collectors can only speak with spouses of debtors but no friends or other family members. Debtors can submit requests in writing to collection agencies asking them to cease contact. For debtors who have retained legal representation, they can refer collectors to their attorneys, and the agencies must direct all communications to them thereafter.
A person could discuss with an attorney options for debt management. An attorney might suggest trying to negotiate a settlement for a reduced amount. If the person's debts have reached a sufficient level compared to income, an attorney might recommend bankruptcy. This action could temporarily halt collection actions and possibly result in the discharge of credit card balances, medical bills and other debts.