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Texas laws enforce the FCRA, which gives consumers the right to monitor personal credit files and have inaccuracies and outdated negative items removed after investigation.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.
- Texas Statutes: Finance Code
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- Consumer Financial Protection Bureau. "Are There Laws That Limit What Debt Collectors Can Say or Do?" Accessed Dec. 3, 2019.
- Consumer Financial Protection Bureau. "Can Debt Collectors Tell Other People, Like Family, Friends, or My Employer, About My Debt?" Accessed Dec. 3, 2019.
Katherine Kally is a freelance writer specializing in eco-friendly home-improvement projects, practical craft ideas and cost-effective decorating solutions. Kally's work has been featured on sites across the Web. She holds a Bachelor of Science in psychology from the University of South Carolina and is a member of the Society of Professional Journalists.