Creditor Harassment

In recent years, many people in Dallas and the surrounding area, have had wide variations in their financial circumstances. Companies have closed or have let people go, other economic tightening measures have occurred. The fluctuations have left many people unable to keep up with payments on credit cards or other debts. Eventually, many of these debts have been turned over to collection agencies or debt buyers who then attempt to collect the debts from the former cardholders. Of course, creditors are entitled to make attempts to collects debts which are owed to them. There are legal limits, however, to the means collectors may use to collect debt.

Collectors may not

  • Threaten to take action which they legally cannot take (garnish wages, send an officer to make an arrest, sue on debt out of statute, etc.)
  •  Make calls often enough to constitute harassment, nor call early in the morning and late at night.
  • Call you at work after being told you are not permitted to receive the calls at work;
  • Use abusive language, profanity, cursing, threats or yelling.
  • Misrepresent the status of a debt or collect sums which are not due.
  • Try to collect a debt which is not due.
  • Try to collect an amount greater than what is legally due; adding charges not allowed by law; (threaten to sue on a debt outside the statute of limitations, add charges not actually owed)
  • Disclose your financial information to third parties (employers, credit references, family members, neighbors, references)
  • Fail to disclose that the call is being made by a debt collector, give the debt collector’s name and state the purpose of the call is to collect a debt
  • Refuse to verify a debt

Many of these prohibitions are set forth in the federal Fair Debt Collections Practices Act (“FDCPA”). The FDCPA applies to third party debt collectors or debt buyers. Texas has a state statute which has many of the same protections and applies to original creditors. The failure of a debt collector to abide by these statutes may give rise to claims against them under these statutes. Debt collectors can be made to account for their collection abuses by paying damages to their victims.

If you receive a call or calls from a debt collector:

  • Texas law allows you to record the call
  • Keep records of the dates and times of the call and the contents of the call
  • Keep copies of any collection letters which are sent to you

Contact an experienced consumer litigation lawyer in the Dallas area to evaluate whether you have a claim for their violations of the law.