We think that one of the most important aspects of consumer law pertains to debt collection. Individuals who have outstanding debt that they owe to a credit card company, Mortgage Company or other financial services entity are protected by the Fair Debt Collection Practices Act and the Texas Debt Collection Act. These acts include regulations on how debt collectors can contact individuals who owe money to creditors, what they can say to them and when they contact them. The Fair Debt Collection Practices Act also allows individual consumers to sue the debt collection agencies who violate the act.
The financial industries that deal with lending credit and credit reporting are also strictly regulated by consumer law. The Fair Credit Reporting Act, Truth in Lending Act and other consumer legislation requires companies that grant credit to meet all requirements of the legislation. For example, the FCRA requires credit bureaus to allow consumers to access their credit report free of charge annually. The FCRA also allows consumers to dispute incorrect items on their credit report. The credit bureau must open an investigation and either removes the item or state why the item is valid within 30 days of the dispute.
The Federal Trade Commission (FTC) and Texas Attorney General’s office (TAG) also play an important role in consumer law. The FTC, TAG and the Department of Justice enforce many aspects of consumer law including Texas state and federal laws for credit reporting agencies, fraud, warranties and other claims. The FTC also ensures that consumers who purchase items over the Internet are protected. Most transactions conducted over the Internet, even if the product is being shipped intrastate, are considered an interstate commerce transaction.
You also may have heard that Texas laws make Texas a debtor friendly state, and that Texas and bankruptcy laws are well suited for each other. For your average consumer with consumer debt, this is true. We also have a practice dedicated to consumer bankruptcy and Texas credit card lawsuit defense designed to protect these consumers from abusive creditors.
Individuals who believe their consumer rights have been violated or who need protection from creditors should contact our office for a consultation with a Texas consumer law attorney.