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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.

Know Your Rights


The federal Fair Debt Collection Practices Act gives you many rights when dealing with third-party debt collectors. This page will explain these rights and tell you how to use them.

Note: Because the federal FDCPA only applies to third-party debt collectors and not original creditors, you do not have these same rights when dealing with the original person or business to whom you owe money.

Your Right to Request to Cease Contact

Under the FDCPA, you can inform the third-party debt collector that you want them to stop contacting you. The law requires them to cease contact unless they are letting you know that they are going to stop attempts to collect the debt or that they are taking specific legal actions against you, like filing a lawsuit.

Federal Law

Understanding the Law

Sample Letters

Your Right to a Validation of the Debt

If a third-party debt collector contacts you and you're not sure that you actually owe the debt or think that the debt collector is mistaken about some part of it, you can ask for a validation of the debt. The debt collector must inform you of this right and you must make the request within 30 days of the first contact.

After receiving your request, the debt collector must provide you with information about the debt, including the amount owed and to whom it was owed. Collection activities must stop until they provide this information.

Federal Law

Understanding the Law

Sample Letters

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. Federal law allows you to sue the debt collector.You can also file complaints with the Federal Trade Commission.

Federal Law

File a Complaint