Fair Debt Collection Practices Act

The Fair Debt Collection Practices Act (FDCPA) was implemented to eliminate abusive, deceptive, and unfair debt collection practices. The debt that is protected is debt incurred by a consumer primarily for personal, family, or household purposes.

Under the FDCPA, a debt collector is as any person who regularly collects, or attempts to collect, consumer debts for another person or institution or uses some name other than its own when collecting its own consumer debts. Thus, generally the FDCPA only applies to a third party debt collector who regularly collects or attempts to collect debts owed to another. However, consumer debtors in Texas are protected under the Texas Debt Collection Act from abusive and deceptive debt collection practices of creditors.

Under the FDCPA, the debt collector must provide the consumer with basic information. If that information was not in the initial communication, then within 5 days of initial communication, the debt collector must send notice to the consumer with: 1) the amount of the debt, 2)the name of the creditor the debt is owed to, 3) a statement giving notice that the consumer has 30 days to dispute the debt or it will be presumed to be valid, and 4) a statement that if requested, the debt collector will provide the consumer with the name, telephone number, and address of the original creditor within 30 days. If the consumer disputes the debt in writing within 30 days then collection efforts must stop until a copy of the judgment or verification of the debt is mailed to the consumer.

Under the FDCPA, a debt collector cannot communicate with a consumer at an unusual time (before 8:00AM or after 9:00PM). Additionally, if the debt collector knows an attorney represents the consumer, then the debt collector cannot contact the consumer unless the attorney is unresponsive or allows the debt collector to communicate with the consumer directly.

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