Houston Creditor Harassment Attorney
Any person who has fallen behind on making credit card payments or fulfilling other debt obligations is all too familiar with dealing with debt collectors. The parties authorized to collect debt in these cases tend to call at all hours of the day, sometimes multiple times in a relatively short time frame.
Creditor harassment can become an overwhelming challenge for a person to deal with as there are not only constant interruptions during a given day, but also increased stress about the ability to repay the debts in question. The great thing about filing for Chapter 7 or Chapter 13 bankruptcy is that as soon as a person files, an automatic stay takes effect that effectively halts all debt collection activities.
“At The Sparrow Law Firm, PLLC, we recognize that each case is uniquely different.”
If you are tired of having to deal with calls from debt collectors, it may be time for you to consider filing Chapter 7 or Chapter 13 bankruptcy. You will want to seek the help of The Sparrow Law Firm, PLLC, in filing your case.
Our firm will be able to help you stop all debt collector calls and we can also take the appropriate action if any creditors violate the terms of an automatic stay. We will be able to take a much closer look at your case and talk about everything you are dealing with when you call 281-973-0431 or contact us online to receive a free consultation.
Definition Of Debt Collector
Much of debt collection efforts is governed by the Fair Debt Collection Practices Act (FDCPA), the federal law that establishes several important rules about what debt collectors can and cannot do.
Under FDCPA § 803(6), debt collector is defined as “any person who uses any instrumentality of interstate commerce or the mails in any business the principal purpose of which is the collection of any debts, or who regularly collects or attempts to collect, directly or indirectly, debts owed or due or asserted to be owed or due to another.” Notwithstanding the exclusion provided by clause (F) of the last sentence of this paragraph, the term includes any creditor who, in the process of collecting his own debts, uses any name other than his own which would indicate that a third person is collecting or attempting to collect such debts.
For the purpose of section 1692f(6) of this title, such term also includes any person who uses any instrumentality of interstate commerce or the mails in any business the principal purpose of which is the enforcement of security interests. Debt collector does not include –
- (A) any officer or employee of a creditor while, in the name of the creditor, collecting debts for such creditor;
- (B) any person while acting as a debt collector for another person, both of whom are related by common ownership or affiliated by corporate control, if the person acting as a debt collector does so only for persons to whom it is so related or affiliated and if the principal business of such person is not the collection of debts;
- (C) any officer or employee of the United States or any State to the extent that collecting or attempting to collect any debt is in the performance of his official duties;
- (D) any person while serving or attempting to serve legal process on any other person in connection with the judicial enforcement of any debt;
- (E) any nonprofit organization that, at the request of consumers, performs bona fide consumer credit counseling and assists consumers in the liquidation of their debts by receiving payments from such consumers and distributing such amounts to creditors; and
- (F) any person collecting or attempting to collect any debt owed or due or asserted to be owed or due to another to the extent such activity (i) is incidental to a bona fide fiduciary obligation or a bona fide escrow arrangement; (ii) concerns a debt which was originated by such person; (iii) concerns a debt which was not in default at the time it was obtained by such person; or (iv) concerns a debt obtained by such person as a secured party in a commercial credit transaction involving the creditor.
Acquisition Of Location Information
FDCPA § 804 establishes that any debt collector communicating with any person other than the consumer for the purpose of acquiring location information about the consumer must:
- Identify himself, state that he is confirming or correcting location information concerning the consumer, and, only if expressly requested, identify his employer;
- Not state that such consumer owes any debt;
- Not communicate with any such person more than once unless requested to do so by such person or unless the debt collector reasonably believes that the earlier response of such person is erroneous or incomplete and that such person now has correct or complete location information;
- Not communicate by postcard;
- Not use any language or symbol on any envelope or in the contents of any communication effected by the mails or telegram that indicates that the debt collector is in the debt collection business or that the communication relates to the collection of a debt; and
- After the debt collector knows the consumer is represented by an attorney with regard to the subject debt and has knowledge of, or can readily ascertain, such attorney’s name and address, not communicate with any person other than that attorney unless the attorney fails to respond within a reasonable period of time to communication from the debt collector.
Communication In Connection With Debt Collection
Under FDCPA § 805, a debt collector may not communicate with a consumer in connection with the collection of any debt without the prior consent of the consumer given directly to the debt collector or the express permission of a court of competent jurisdiction:
- At any unusual time or place or a time or place known or which should be known to be inconvenient to the consumer. In the absence of knowledge of circumstances to the contrary, a debt collector shall assume that the convenient time for communicating with a consumer is after 8:00 a.m. and before 9:00 p.m., local time at the consumer’s location;
- If the debt collector knows the consumer is represented by an attorney with respect to such debt and has knowledge of, or can readily ascertain, such attorney’s name and address, unless the attorney fails to respond within a reasonable period of time to a communication from the debt collector or unless the attorney consents to direct communication with the consumer; or
- At the consumer’s place of employment if the debt collector knows or has reason to know that the consumer’s employer prohibits the consumer from receiving such communication.
Except as provided in section 1692b of this title, without the prior consent of the consumer given directly to the debt collector, or the express permission of a court of competent jurisdiction, or as reasonably necessary to effectuate a post-judgment judicial remedy, a debt collector may not communicate, in connection with the collection of any debt, with any person other than the consumer, his attorney, a consumer reporting agency if otherwise permitted by law, the creditor, the attorney of the creditor, or the attorney of the debt collector.
If a consumer notifies a debt collector in writing that the consumer refuses to pay a debt or that the consumer wishes the debt collector to cease further communication with the consumer, the debt collector shall not communicate further with the consumer with respect to such debt, except:
- To advise the consumer that the debt collector’s further efforts are being terminated;
- To notify the consumer that the debt collector or creditor may invoke specified remedies which are ordinarily invoked by such debt collector or creditor; or
- Where applicable, to notify the consumer that the debt collector or creditor intends to invoke a specified remedy.
If such notice from the consumer is made by mail, notification shall be complete upon receipt. For the purpose of this section, the term “consumer” includes the consumer’s spouse, parent (if the consumer is a minor), guardian, executor, or an administrator.
A debt collector may not engage in any conduct the natural consequence of which is to harass, oppress, or abuse any person in connection with the collection of a debt. Without limiting the general application of the foregoing, the following conduct is a violation of this section:
- The use or threat of use of violence or other criminal means to harm the physical person, reputation, or property of any person.
- The use of obscene or profane language or language the natural consequence of which is to abuse the hearer or reader.
- The publication of a list of consumers who allegedly refuse to pay debts, except to a consumer reporting agency or to persons meeting the requirements of section 1681a(f) or 1681b(3)1 of this title.
- The advertisement for sale of any debt to coerce payment of the debt.
- Causing a telephone to ring or engaging any person in telephone conversation repeatedly or continuously with intent to annoy, abuse, or harass any person at the called number.
- Except as provided in section 1692b of this title, the placement of telephone calls without meaningful disclosure of the caller’s identity.
False Or Misleading Representations
FDCPA § 807 establishes that a debt collector cannot use any false, deceptive, or misleading representation or means in connection with the collection of any debt. Without limiting the general application of the foregoing, the following conduct is a violation of this section:
- The false representation or implication that the debt collector is vouched for, bonded by, or affiliated with the United States or any State, including the use of any badge, uniform, or facsimile thereof.
- The false representation of the character, amount, or legal status of any debt; or any services rendered or compensation which may be lawfully received by any debt collector for the collection of a debt.
- The false representation or implication that any individual is an attorney or that any communication is from an attorney.
- The representation or implication that nonpayment of any debt will result in the arrest or imprisonment of any person or the seizure, garnishment, attachment, or sale of any property or wages of any person unless such action is lawful and the debt collector or creditor intends to take such action.
- The threat to take any action that cannot legally be taken or that is not intended to be taken.
- The false representation or implication that a sale, referral, or other transfer of any interest in a debt shall cause the consumer to lose any claim or defense to payment of the debt; or become subject to any practice prohibited by this subchapter.
- The false representation or implication that the consumer committed any crime or other conduct in order to disgrace the consumer.
- Communicating or threatening to communicate to any person credit information which is known or which should be known to be false, including the failure to communicate that a disputed debt is disputed.
- The use or distribution of any written communication which simulates or is falsely represented to be a document authorized, issued, or approved by any court, official, or agency of the United States or any State, or which creates a false impression as to its source, authorization, or approval.
- The use of any false representation or deceptive means to collect or attempt to collect any debt or to obtain information concerning a consumer.
- The failure to disclose in the initial written communication with the consumer and, in addition, if the initial communication with the consumer is oral, in that initial oral communication, that the debt collector is attempting to collect a debt and that any information obtained will be used for that purpose, and the failure to disclose in subsequent communications that the communication is from a debt collector, except that this paragraph shall not apply to a formal pleading made in connection with a legal action.
- The false representation or implication that accounts have been turned over to innocent purchasers for value.
- The false representation or implication that documents are legal process.
- The use of any business, company, or organization name other than the true name of the debt collector’s business, company, or organization.
- The false representation or implication that documents are not legal process forms or do not require action by the consumer.
- The false representation or implication that a debt collector operates or is employed by a consumer reporting agency as defined by section 1681a(f) of this title.
“We Fight For Meaningful Results To Protect Your Rights”
Ikaha M. Sparrow
Under FDCPA § 808, a debt collector cannot use unfair or unconscionable means to collect or attempt to collect any debt. Without limiting the general application of the foregoing, the following conduct is a violation of this section:
- The collection of any amount (including any interest, fee, charge, or expense incidental to the principal obligation) unless such amount is expressly authorized by the agreement creating the debt or permitted by law.
- The acceptance by a debt collector from any person of a check or other payment instrument postdated by more than five days unless such person is notified in writing of the debt collector’s intent to deposit such check or instrument not more than ten nor less than three business days prior to such deposit.
- The solicitation by a debt collector of any postdated check or other postdated payment instrument for the purpose of threatening or instituting criminal prosecution.
- Depositing or threatening to deposit any postdated check or other postdated payment instrument prior to the date on such check or instrument.
- Causing charges to be made to any person for communications by concealment of the true purpose of the communication. Such charges include, but are not limited to, collect telephone calls and telegram fees.
- Taking or threatening to take any nonjudicial action to effect dispossession or disablement of property if there is no present right to possession of the property claimed as collateral through an enforceable security interest; there is no present intention to take possession of the property, or the property is exempt by law from such dispossession or disablement.
- Communicating with a consumer regarding a debt by postcard.
- Using any language or symbol, other than the debt collector’s address, on any envelope when communicating with a consumer by use of the mails or by telegram, except that a debt collector may use his business name if such name does not indicate that he is in the debt collection business.
Texas Creditor Harassment Resources
Fair Credit Reporting Act – The Act (Title VI of the Consumer Credit Protection Act) protects information collected by consumer reporting agencies such as credit bureaus, medical information companies and tenant screening services. Information in a consumer report cannot be provided to anyone who does not have a purpose specified in the Act. Companies that provide information to consumer reporting agencies also have specific legal obligations, including the duty to investigate the disputed information. In addition, users of the information for credit, insurance, or employment purposes must notify the consumer when an adverse action is taken on the basis of such reports. The Fair and Accurate Credit Transactions Act added many provisions to this Act primarily relating to record accuracy and identity theft. The Dodd-Frank Act transferred to the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau most of the rulemaking responsibilities added to this Act by the Fair and Accurate Credit Transactions Act and the Credit CARD Act, but the Commission retains all its enforcement authority.
Debt Collection FAQs | FTC Consumer Information – Find answers to an assortment of frequently asked questions on this section of the Federal Trade Commission website. Learn more about types of debts covered, whether debt collectors can contact you any time or any place, and how a debt collector can contact you. You can also learn how to stop a debt collector from contacting you, whether a debt collector can contact anyone else about your debt, and what a debt collector has to tell you about a debt.
Contact a Creditor Harassment Attorney In Houston, TX | The Sparrow Law Firm, PLLC
Are you dealing with constant creditor harassment in the Houston area? You will want to contact The Sparrow Law Firm, PLLC, for help getting the phone calls and collection efforts to end.
Our firm has helped scores of people all over Texas get their debts discharged through Chapter 7 and Chapter 13 bankruptcy. Call 281-973-0431 or contact us online today to let us talk to you about your particular case during a free consultation.