Tyler residents are fortunate to enjoy the protection of robust laws protecting against unscrupulous efforts to collect debts. When it seems that creditors’ rights take precedence over just about any other concern, it is important to understand just what these protections entail, whether at the state level – as we reviewed previously – or at the federal level.
Looking at the federal level, the Fair Debt Collection Practices Act is narrower in scope than the laws on the books in Texas. Texas law regulates any collection efforts arising from a consumer debt. Federal law, however, specifically focuses on debt collectors hired by professional agencies and law firms. While dealing with a smaller group, it does provide some enhanced protections relative to this group.
The debt collectors described in federal law may not call outside the hours of 8 a.m. and 9 p.m., which are assumed to be the debtor’s typical waking hours, unless they somehow know that the debtor would prefer that they do so. If they know that a debtor’s employer prohibits employees from receiving calls at work, they must respect that and not try to reach the debtor at work. They may never do anything tantamount to abuse, oppression, or harassment, and they may not employ any means that could be considered “unfair or unconscionable.”
Laws that protect consumers from harassment and abusive collection tactics are a recognition that anyone may find themselves struggling with debt, and that they don’t forfeit their dignity or their legal rights when this happens. In fact, filing for bankruptcy provides a mechanism for Tyler residents to obtain a truly fresh financial start when they most need it, and helping them get out from under the shadow of crushing debt and collection efforts. We provide this information as a general background only, not as legal advice for any individual situation.