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.
The video below from Texas Appleseed discusses some common scare tactics from debt collectors.
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.
Under new Consumer Financial Protection Bureau rules, debt collectors can now contact people via email, text, and social media. These rules went into effect on November 30, 2021. The rules put some restrictions on these kinds of messages from debt collectors, including:
A debt collector can call you at work unless they "have a reason to know" that your employer prohibits these kinds of calls.
New Consumer Financial Protection Bureau rules allow debt collectors to contact people by email. They cannot contact you at an email address that they know is provided to you by your employer. Debt collectors may be able to use your work address if one of the following applies and you did not ask them to stop using that email address afterward:
If a debt collector contacts you by email, they must include in the message a way to opt out of future emails to that address.
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.
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.