Texas Laws for Not Paying Credit Card Debt

Texas credit card debt laws are governed both by state civil codes and by the federal laws concerning debt collection. The Fair Debt Collection and Practices Act, or FDCPA, was enacted to protect consumers, not businesses, from harassment and fraudulent debt collector claims. Another federal law, the Fair Credit Reporting Act, or FCRA, dictates rules that impact a consumer’s credit rating. Texas laws dictate the time frame for credit card debt collection in accordance with Title 5 of the State Finance Code.

Debt Collector Contact Laws

The Texas Debt Collection Act mimics the FDCPA regarding credit card debt collector’s methods of contact and behavior. Collectors may contact Texans by telephone, mail, email, telegram, fax and personal visits. Laws allow debtors to stop all contact from collectors through a written request. Collectors retain the right to contact a debtor regarding specific legal actions.

Credit Reporting Laws

Not paying credit card debt in Texas can result in negative listings on a debtor’s personal credit report, which significantly lowers a credit score. Texas laws enforce the FCRA, which gives consumers the right to monitor personal credit files and have inaccuracies and outdated negative items removed after investigation. The FCRA requires credit reporting agencies to remove negative account listings within 30 to 45 days if the information is not correct and after seven years regardless of the accuracy.

Statute of Limitations for Lawsuit

The state of Texas provides a four-year window in which debt collectors may pursue debtors in court for not paying credit cards. The legal term for this window of time is statute of limitations, and it begins on the date of the debtor’s last credit card payment. Texas laws allow debtors to use statute of limitations as a defense against debt collectors, but if the debtor does not appear in court to present the defense, a judgment can be issued, even if the credit card debt is out of statute.

Texas Judgment Laws

Debt collectors who win a lawsuit against debtors in Texas receive a judgment against the debtor. Judgments allow the debt collector to place a lien on real property or seize personal property. Texas exemption laws are more advantageous to debtors than to debt collectors, but collectors can satisfy judgments through non-exempt cash and property. Texas judgments are valid for 10 years. The judgments may be renewed for an additional 10 years.