Incessant debt collector calls can have a significant impact on your life. This harassment can cause extreme stress, affect your professional and personal life and negatively impact your physical and mental well-being.
There are fair and respectful ways to collect debts, and you should not be subject to harassment or underhand or unfair tactics to pressure you into settling your consumer debts. As a debtor, you have rights, and there are steps you can take to protect yourself and address such inappropriate conduct.
The tax attorneys at Ronald Arthur Stearns Sr. PLLC are proud to defend our clients against harassment and the detrimental impacts this has on their life. We will leverage the full power of the law and its penalties to address the unfair treatment you have received and reduce its effects on your future. Unfortunately, such behavior rarely stops by itself. For a debt collector to stop calling consistently, you will need to take legal action.
It is important to seek legal advice as soon as possible. If a debt collector is harassing you, you are at risk of an escalation of behavior and further unfair practices, not to mention a potential lawsuit.
Contact an attorney at Ronald Arthur Stearns Sr. PLLC today by calling 210-853-2135 and take the first steps to tackle debt collector harassment.
Your Rights Regarding Debt Collection In Texas
Both the State of Texas and the Federal Government have written several protections into law that shield individuals with outstanding debt from aggressive, inappropriate, or underhand tactics from creditors aiming to recover unpaid consumer debt.
The Texas Debt Collection Act
The Texas Debt Collection Act applies to the original creditor where your debt began and any third-party debt collectors and private agencies hired to recover the original debt. This act is specifically designed to protect debtors from harassing behavior from debt collectors, amongst other actions.
Under this law, debt collectors cannot use phone calls to harass debtors and cause undue stress to encourage them to pay. In particular, making repeated or continuous calls with the intention of harassment is strictly prohibited by Texas law.
Failure to adhere to the regulations outlined in this state law can lead to both criminal and civil sanctions for the debt collector in question.
Federal Fair Debt Collection Practices Act
Many of the stipulations outlined in the Federal Fair Debt Collection Practices Act have been transposed and written into Texas state law. Although, one significant difference between the state and federal acts is that the federal law only applies to third-party debt collectors. Under this act, debtors who are subject to harassment from the original creditor are not protected, but they are protected under The Texas Debt Collection Act.
In addition to Texas law, debt collectors are also prohibited from repeatedly calling you to harass you under federal law. In addition, this act prevents debt collectors from calling you at antisocial hours and contacting you at work if your employer doesn’t allow such telephone calls. The Federal Trade Commission is responsible for enforcing these laws and protecting consumer rights. Penalties for violating these laws include fines and a permanent ban from future debt collection practices.
How Many Times Can a Debt Collector Call a Day in Texas?
Neither the Texas Debt Collection Act nor the Federal Fair Debt Collection Practices Act outlines a specific number of times a day you can receive debt collection calls before a collector breaks the law. However, both acts prohibit the use of repeated phone calls that could be considered harassment.
This means that the exact amount of calls a day that constitutes harassing behavior is somewhat subjective and can be down to a Judge’s discretion. In certain situations, a debt collector is considered to have violated the law if they call you about a particular debt more than seven times in one day. This presumption applies to each individual debt. If you have more than one outstanding debt, a creditor or third-party debt collector could potentially call seven times per day per debt.
Additional Debt Collection Restrictions
In addition to the limits upon how often a debt collector can call you and at what times of day, all debt collectors are subject to additional restrictions from state and federal law.
A debt collector will be violating the law and subject to penalties if they:
- Behave in a threatening or aggressive manner towards you.
- Contact you on social media via a public method of communication or in a way that can be seen by your contacts.
- Discuss your debt with anyone other than you, your spouse, your parents (if you are a minor), your attorney, the attorneys of other parties involved, the creditor, and a credit reporting agency.
- Pretend to be a government official in a telephone conversation or through any other means of communication.
- Lie about the judicial status of your debt or generate false interest to encourage you to pay.
What Can I Do If A Debt Collector Violates Debt Collection Laws?
If a debt collector threatens you, uses phone calls to harass you, or calls you at unsociable hours, they are violating the law. As a consumer, you have the ability to file a complaint with the relevant state or federal agencies or file a lawsuit against the harassing debt collection agency or collector. You also have the right to request that the collector in question ceases all further contact with you.
You may be able to file a complaint with The Texas Attorney General’s Consumer Protection Division, The Office of the Consumer Credit Commissioner, or The Federal Trade Commission. Which agency is appropriate for your case depends upon the specifics of the debt collector you are complaining about and the law they have violated.
What Will Happen If I Ignore A Debt Collector?
The potential penalties for ignoring a debt collector can be severe, including a civil lawsuit and bank account garnishing. Depending on the type of debt, penalties can be even more severe and could include jail time and additional fines, particularly for unpaid child support or tax evasion. If you do not attend a court hearing in a civil lawsuit, you could be held in contempt of court, which can also result in jail time.
In addition to possible penalties, if a debt collector is consistently harassing you through phone calls, likey, this will negatively impact your well-being and overall daily life. This could even affect your personal relationships and your performance at work.
Typically, if you continue ignoring a debt collector’s attempts to make contact or take steps to avoid paying back your debt, this will lead to a lawsuit. To avoid these potentially severe penalties, it is best to seek legal counsel from an experienced tax attorney as soon as possible. If you are facing a lawsuit due to unpaid debt, you must respond to your written summons to avoid a default judgment and potential additional costs.
How A Texas Tax Attorney Can Help
The impact of debt collector harassment can be substantial on suffering debtors and their families. Fortunately, you do not have to endure harassment, and you have rights that protect you from suffering such behavior.
If a debt collector violates the law, you have the right to file a lawsuit or complaint against them. An experienced tax attorney can work with you to establish how the debt collector has violated the law and identify the best course of action for you. This could include pursuing a lawsuit against them or filing a complaint with a state or federal body. An attorney will gather evidence to support your claims, such as phone records and recordings, and develop a compelling argument to increase your likelihood of a successful outcome.
If You Are Being Harassed By A Debt Collector, Contact Ronald Arthur Stearns Sr. PLLC Today!
Creditor harassment can be extremely distressing, and it is not something you should have to live with. Fortunately, the law could be on your side if you are a victim of unfair practices or unprofessional behavior.
The experienced tax attorneys at Ronald Arthur Stearns Sr. PLLC. are here to help you tackle debt collector harassment and navigate any lawsuits you face because of unpaid debt. Simply having a reputable attorney by your side can discourage harassment, but we will also use the power of the law to protect your rights and stop unfair practices.
If you are experiencing recurrent phone calls, underhand techniques to pressure you into paying debt, or aggressive behavior, seek legal advice as soon as possible. These debt collectors rarely go away when ignored. The problem needs to be tackled head-on, with firm legal representation to protect you from the stress this causes and an escalation to a lawsuit or further fines.
Contact the Ronald Arthur Stearns Sr. PLLC legal team today by calling us at 210-853-2135 to book your initial appointment.