Debt Collection Attorney in Houston, Texas
What Texas State Laws Say About Debt Collection
According to debt collection information provided by debt.org, Texans rank among the nation’s worst when it comes to having low credit scores. This is due to falling behind bills for credit cards, mortgages, student loans, and for some unlucky individuals, identity theft. Of course, the COVID-19 pandemic exacerbated the issue greatly with the loss of income for many people.
As a creditor, lender, or similar business you may feel sympathetic toward some of your borrowers. That’s understandable, however, you have your own debts and bills to pay as well. It’s unfair to expect such debt to be forgiven especially well after the grace period has been exceeded. Those who’ve agreed to pay under contract must abide by those terms in some form or another.
Statute of Limitations for Debt Collection in Texas
Texas state law says that the statute of limitations as it relates to debt collection is 4 years. After which the person or business attempting to collect the debt may not sue the offending party. The start date for the statute of limitations is not exactly defined but many courts have ruled it begins upon the last payment received. There are those who owe money that tries to take advantage of this law by waiting it out.
In my experience, there are two types of debtors that have polar opposite views when it comes to their debt. The first are those who are ashamed and want to do the right thing by repaying. Perhaps they need a payment plan that is agreeable to both parties. If that’s the case, those special circumstances are likely already worked out before a lawyer becomes involved.
The second kind of debtors is the ones who feel they are under no obligation to fulfill their side of the contract terms. Rather than shame, they may even feel entitled to forgiveness as the little guy and believe the lender will do just fine without their money. It’s these individuals (and even businesses too!) that I will make sure are held accountable for their deliberate refusal to pay up.
The Process Of Debt Collection
Many companies may opt to hire a collection agency to work out a resolution for a debt that is owed to them. This agency has limited means to entice the debtor to pay what they owe. These efforts involve writing letters, making phone calls, and filing a credit report. Although agencies cannot take legal action against the debtor, only a lawyer may do so.
The following steps detail the process that a debt collection attorney will typically undertake:
The Demand Letter
Settlement or Judgment
Different law firms have certain ways of approaching these steps. Some may ask specific attorneys to handle one area before passing it off to another as the case progresses. When you hire me, I personally prepare for and handle each step until recovering your money. This brief overview will give you an idea of what to expect.
The Demand Letter
Sending a demand letter lets the debtor know that if they continue to ignore a request for payment a lawsuit will commence. It also indicates the seriousness of the matter and gives a final opportunity for an amicable resolution. Aside from what’s owed for the debt, there is also the possibility to include restitution for your attorney fees which may further make the debtor reconsider their position.
It’s important that these letters follow The Fair Debt Collection Practices Act and Texas Debt Collection Act. Otherwise, the debtor may raise a dispute regarding their rights in court. Relevant information pertaining to the debt with supporting documentation is crucial for an airtight case.
If the demand letter fails to produce a meaningful response in a timely manner then the only other course of action is a court hearing. Both parties will have the chance to make their case through the discovery process. This includes depositions, presenting documents, and even witnesses to testify. The debtor must produce evidence as to why they shouldn’t pay back the money owed which they are seldom prepared to reasonably explain.
Oftentimes, those who have brought this situation upon themselves will attempt to settle to avoid further costly litigation. If both sides are unable to reach a settlement, a judgment will happen after each side has concluded its arguments.
Settlement or Judgment
A settlement agreement doesn’t necessarily mean concessions are made on the part of the creditor. Although, if there are any valid points brought by the defense an experienced debt collection attorney will advise how that may affect and impact a verdict. An agreement will define the terms of repayment but this time with severe consequences if not honored.
A default judgment may happen if the debtor ignores or doesn’t respond to the complaint filed that initiated the lawsuit. Of course, a rendered judgment may also occur at the conclusion of civil proceedings.
After the judgment, a writ of execution is one legal option available for enforcement of collecting the debt. This order allows for the seizure of the defendant’s assets including personal property, bank accounts, real estate, and so forth. I will pursue all such assets until the debt is fully satisfied and you’ve finally received compensation.
What If I've Been Wrongfully Sued?
I’ve talked at great length about litigating on behalf of creditors but there are times when defendants have done nothing wrong. This may include illegal interest charges and hidden fees that were not properly disclosed in the contract. If you believe you’ve been wrongfully sued for debt collection I want to hear from you!
Whether you need to recover money or are a victim of unlawful debt collection processes I’m ready to assist. Call me to discuss your options or fill out my case evaluation form and I will respond as soon as possible.