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Folder with a label reading Creditors on a table with a gavel and legal scales.

Understanding the Rights & Limitations of Creditors 

Oliva Law Bankruptcy Dec. 31, 2022

Even if you’ve fallen on hard times financially and are having trouble keeping up with your debt obligations, you still retain many rights as a consumer. It’s common to feel overwhelmed or as if you’re left with very few options when you’re the victim of creditor harassment and repeated calls from collectors, or if you’re considering the option to file for bankruptcy.  

During this time, it’s important to reach out for assistance. At Oliva Law Bankruptcy in McAllen, Texas, we can help you understand your rights and your options. If you’re in the Brownsville, Harlingen, or Corpus Christi areas, or anywhere throughout the Rio Grande Valley, call us today to schedule a consultation. 

Consumer Rights Laws  

There are three main laws you should be aware of that can offer you legal protections if you’re feeling inundated with creditor calls and are concerned about legal action. The first is the Fair Debt Collection Practices Act (FDCPA) which is a federal law that protects consumer rights. This law prohibits creditors from using certain kinds of language that can be construed to be abusive, deceptive, or unfair when calling to request payment. The FDCPA applies to various kinds of debt including auto loans, credit card debt, medical bills, or past-due mortgages. 

The Fair Credit Reporting Act’s (FCRA) purpose is to protect the personal information of consumers by outlining creditor rights regarding how they can access, use, and share information about their debts. If creditors are found guilty of distributing or sharing your information in violation of this law, you have the right to bring a lawsuit against them. 

Finally, there are a number of state-specific laws that add further protection for consumers, and the most prominent here is the Texas Debt Collection Act (TDCA). This law essentially provides the same protections as the FDCPA but goes a step further in placing a limit on how long debt collectors have to file a lawsuit against a borrower.  

Collecting Debt  

All debt collectors have to abide by several rules when performing collections. Some of these include how often, when, and where they can contact you. For example, a collector cannot contact you before 8:00 am or after 9:00 pm unless you’ve given express permission for them to do so. Additionally, if you tell them that you’re not allowed to receive calls at your place of employment, they are not allowed to contact you there anymore. 

If these rules have been violated, you should contact a bankruptcy attorney for help filing a lawsuit against the creditor. That said, it’s important that you make a legitimate effort to address your past-due debts and that you don’t simply ignore the attempts to contact you. In some cases, creditors do have the right to put a lien on your property in an effort to collect the past-due debt.  

Bankruptcy Effects on Creditor’s Rights  

One option that you may want to consider if you’re having trouble staying on top of your debts and don’t see a clear road out of it is to file for bankruptcy. When you do this, an automatic stay will be put in place which means that creditors are legally barred from contacting you anymore. If they do continue contacting you after this time, you can report them to the Federal Trade Commission (FTC), the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau (CFPB), or the Texas attorney general. You can do this on your own or with the help of an attorney.

Personalized Legal Guidance  

If you’re in the McAllen, Texas, area and would like to know more about your options when dealing with creditors, call us at Oliva Law Bankruptcy for trusted legal guidance.