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Debt Collection

This research guide provides information about your rights under Texas and federal law when dealing with debt and debt collectors.

Contact From a Debt Collector

Can a Debt Collector Swear at Me or Threaten Me?

Both Texas and federal law prohibit debt collectors from using abuse, harassment, or threats when trying to collect a debt. The information below explains what is considered to be abuse and harassment under the law.

Likewise, debt collectors cannot lie about who they are or what they can do to get you to pay a debt. You cannot be arrested for a debt.

Texas and Federal Law

Understanding the Law

The video below from Texas Appleseed discusses some common scare tactics from debt collectors.

When Can a Debt Collector Call Me?

The Fair Debt Collection Practices Act prevents a debt collector from calling you in the middle of the night to annoy you. Unless the debt collector knows otherwise, the law says they should assume that convenient hours to call you are between 8am and 9pm.

Both Texas and Federal law prevent debt collectors from calling you repeatedly with the intent to harass or annoy you.

Texas and Federal Law

Can a Debt Collector Call Me at Work?

A debt collector can call you at work unless they "have a reason to know" that your employer prohibits these kinds of calls.

Federal Law

Understanding the Law

Can a Debt Collector Talk to My Friends or Family About My Debt?

Debt collectors are prohibited by law from discussing the details of your debt with anyone but you, your spouse, your parent (if you are a minor), a credit reporting agency, the creditor, or the attorneys for the parties involved.

If the debt collector is contacting other people in order to find contact information for you, they cannot state that you owe a debt.

Federal Law

What Can I Do About Debt Collectors Who Break These Laws?

If a debt collector violates one of the laws listed above, there are a few things you can do. Both the federal law and the Texas law allow you to sue the debt collector. Violations of the Texas law are criminal offenses. You can also file complaints with several state and federal agencies listed below.

Texas and Federal Law

File a Complaint