Texas Debt Collection Exemptions

Not only are things "Bigger and Better in Texas", so is protection from debt collectors!

don't mess with texas Living in Texas (I grew up in Dallas) has a lot of advantages, but none as important as protection from debt collectors.

If you are facing overwhelming problems with too much debt and you are fortunate enough to be a Texas resident, then you have certain protection from creditors and debt collectors that other states do not offer!

 

 

For the sake of this article, I'm talking about UNSECURED DEBTS, such as:

  • Credit Cards
  • Store Credit Cards
  • Personal Loans
  • Private Student Loans
  • Medical Bills
  • "Pay-Day" Loans

When you can't make at least the required minimum payments on your unsecured debt, and miss a payment or two, here's what usually happens:

First, the original creditor (Visa, Master Card, US Bank, etc.) will most likely give you a call and send a letter reminding you that your account has become delinquent.  Sometimes the language is very...let's say, "firm or somewhat threatening".  Something like:

Dear Mr. So-n-so:

Your account with XYZ company has become seriously delinquent.  Missing payments on your account can have a negative effect on your credit report.  We understand that you may be facing a difficult time and want to work with you on this matter. 

Please give one of our customer service representatives a call to discuss your options. It is imperative that you bring your account current as soon as possible, to avoid legal action.


OK, so what do you do? 

If you think you will be able to get your account caught up, then give them a call to see what can be done.  Sometimes the creditor is willing to forgive late fees and other penalties if you can bring your account current.

But what if you know you can't "bring your account current"?

It has been my experience, that most people who need help with their debts are not someone who just "over-spent" foolishly.  They are people just like you and me who got into trouble. It's important to know how this process works so that you (or someone you know) is not taken advantage of by a debt collector.

There are all kinds of reasons why people get in trouble with their credit:

  • Loss of employment
  • Loss of a spouse or partner
  • Prolonged illness
  • Disability
  • Retired and on a fixed income not quite enough to keep up!
  • and many other reasons that are beyond your control!

 

After the original creditor has made many attempts to contact you by both phone and mail, they may decide to write-off or charge-off your account and transfer or sell to a debt collector.

Now the DEBT COLLECTOR starts sending "nasty" letters and making call after call!

STOP Collection Calls Free Sample Letter

If you have only missed a payment or two, and have the means to get caught up, I think it is a good idea to contact your original creditor to discuss trying to bring your account current. 

But, I do not believe it is your best interest to call a debt collector.

There are those that disagree with me on this, but my experience in dealing with debt collectors over many years has taught me that they only have one job and that is to get as much money in the shortest period of time.

They don't really care about your situation and for the most part are not sympathetic at all.  In fact, I had one of my retire clients who had also lost her husband of over 50 years tell me that a debt collector told her that she should go get a job and quit making excuses for her debts.  Really?  72 years old and a widow!  And not only that, rather than file for bankruptcy protection as she could have, she has chosen to settle as many debts as possible.

Many debt collectors are fine, professionals and you can work with them. But some are, well... you know!  So, my advice is not to try and call to explain your situation, especially if you live in Texas!


What happens if a debt collector takes LEGAL ACTION?

A debt collector has the option to FILE A COMPLAINT in your county's court.  This is a legal option they can use in order to scare or force you to pay your debt.

Once the COMPLAINT is filed, you will receive a SUMMONS.  The summons will state that the PLAINTIFF (that's the credior or debt collector) CLAIMS that you owe this debt.  It will also state that you have 30 days (some state 20 days) from the receipt of this summons to file an ANSWER.

An ANSWER is a legal brief explaining why you legitimately do not owe this debt.  There is usually a cost to file the ANSWER, and most likely you will need an attorney to file it so it is in the proper "legal" form. About 99.9% of the time, you owe the debt, so there is no need to dispute it.  The key is to know how to handle it.

I've written several blogs over the years explaining what to do if you recieve a summons.  If you live outside of Texas, I would encourage you to not only read about your options, but you will need to take action.

But hey, ya'll...if your a Texas resident, I've got good news!

The purpose of filing the claim is to get you to:

1)  Take action to pay your debt out of fear of what may happen if you don't!

2)  The debt collector hopes to be awarded a JUDGMENT, so they can either GARNISH YOUR WAGES, place a LIEN ON YOUR HOME or even LEVY YOUR BANK ACCOUNT.

In the great state of Texas, you have laws that protect you from creditors like few other states. 

Your wages cannot be garnished for unpaid, unsecured accounts, but even in Texas, they can be garnished for child support or alimony, unpaid taxes and defaulted student loans, so be advised!

Your home is also protected from a lien with a wonderful Texas Homestead Protection!

Although there a some restrictions to the homestead law, basically it means that a creditor cannot apply a lien against your property for unpaid, unsecured debts.

So, your wages and home are protected in Texas, what about your bank account?

As in all states, if your only source of income is from Social Security and/or a Retirement Plan or Fund, Disabily Income, etc. and those monies are directly deposited in your bank account, THEY ARE EXEMPT FROM GARNISHMENT OR LEVY.

HOWEVER, although your wages are exempt in Texas, once they are deposited in your bank account, they would be subject to a garnishment or levy (after a judgment is awarded to the creditor)!

I advise any client who has earned income to NOT DEPOSIT to your bank account with a judgment against you!  I know it can be a hassle, but think about what it would be like to start bouncing checks on Monday after your bank account was FROZEN over the weekend!

Bottom line for all of you Texas Residents:

  • Your home (including a mobile or manufactured home) is exempt from a LIEN
  • Your wages are exempt from garnishment
  • But, you need to take caution with your bank account!

 

Photo credit: 

https://www.flickr.com/photos/tomjmac/3695294596



Tags: debt collection, credit card debt, debt settlement in Texas, exemptions, can a creditor levy my bank account, can social security be garnished, can a debt collector garnish retirement income, debt collection in texas, debt relief in Texas, exemption from garnishment

Everything is Bigger in Texas, Including Debt Settlement!


If you live in Texas, you have special protection under the law concerning debt collection.  Debt Settlement in Texas has advantages!

texas flag at longhorn game

 

 When a debt collector decides that they cannot collect on a delinquent debt, they may decide to FILE A CLAIM and a SUMMONS will be issued to the DEFENDENT, the person who owes the debt.

In most cases, the DEFENDENT (you), owes the debt, so there is no need file an ANSWER or to appear in court.

An "ANSWER", is a legal statement that you do not owe the debt and why the CLAIM is invalid.  Sure, you object to the outrageous interest, fees and penalities tacked on the original balance, but you agreed to that when you signed that credit card application...sorry!

So, if you don't do anything about the SUMMONS, and I certainly DO NOT ADVOCATE THAT, then the PLAINTIFF (the filer of the claim and owner of the debt), will be awarded a JUDGMENT.

NOW WHAT?????

If an agreement (SETTLEMENT or STIPULATTED AGREEMENT) cannot be negotiated, then the PLAINTIFF most likely will apply for a WRIT OF GARNISHMENT.  In most states, this will force an employer to send 25% of your net "take-home-pay" (after any state, federal or other withholdings have been deducted from your paycheck).

While this is true in most states, the good news for all of you Texans is that Texas has laws that prohibits most creditors from any wage garnishment!

Notice I said "most creditors" and not "all creditors. 

Texas does allow for wage garnishment for debts such as:

  • Unpaid income taxes
  • court ordered alimony and child support
  • defaulted student loans

One more thing, if you earn wages from an "out-of-state" employer, these wages most likely WILL NOT be exempt from wage garnishment.

For more information about Texas Law and Wage Garnishment, visit:

                                Debt Collection in Texas

So now you understand that for most unsecured debts, Texas will not allow wage garnishment.

                       WHAT ABOUT A BANK LEVY IN TEXAS?

In other words, can a debt collector levy (get the bank to send them your money!) your bank account for unpaid debts???

YES!

Just because a creditor who has been awarded a judgment cannot apply for a writ of WAGE GARNISHMENT, doesn't mean that they cannot (and most likely will) apply for WRIT OF LEVY from your bank!!!

Therefore, you should be making every attempt NOT TO HAVE A JUDGMENT GRANTED in favor of you creditor (or debt collection agency)!

How can you do that?

Contact your creditor(s) as soon as you are having a problem keeping up with your payments.  They may help you get caught up or arrange for you to lower your payments for a while until you get back on your feet financially.

If you know that because of loss of employment or some other catastrophic financial issue that you not only cannot keep up with your payments and it is unlikely that you'll be able to make any payments for a long time, then you need to try and negotiate a SETTLEMENT.

DEBT SETTLEMENT is a method whereby you and the creditor agree on an amount (usually much less than the balance that you owe) that will be paid either in a lump sum or in payments.

DEBT SETTLEMENT is possible to do on your own, but after helping people for over 10 years now, it is very TIME CONSUMING and can be EMOTIONALLY AND PYSICALLY EXHAUSTING!


Please download our FREE e book below:

FREE EBook Debt Settlement  Basics

If after reading the basics about DEBT SETTLEMENT, you feel that you could use some help, just let us know.  We'll be glad to talk with you to see if you qualify for the DEBT SETTLEMENT PROGRAM, and this consultation is...

FREE, with NO OBLIGATION WHATSOEVER!

To summarize:

  • Your wages are exempt from garnishment in Texas
  • Other debts, such as, income taxes, alimony, child support and Federal Student Loans are not
  • You BANK account IS NOT EXEMPT from LEVY after a JUDGEMENT has been awarded, but,
  • YOU CAN AND DO HAVE OPTIONS

 

 

 

photo by Tiffany

 

Tags: wage garnishment, debt, Texas, debt settlement in Texas, debt collector, exemptions, bank levy

Dirty Tricks of Debt Collectors

Here's some very helpful tips on how to stop the dirty tricks debt collectors use.

Dealing with debt collectors can be very frustrating, especially if you do not know what a debt collector can and cannot legally do!

The Federal Trade Commission acts to enforce the Fair Debt Collection Practices Act when debt collectors violate the law.

The Fair Debt Collection Practices Act - Guide for Consumers, will help you understand your rights and help you deal with debt collectors.

One of the most annoying tactics used by debt collectors is to make numerous calls.  Many debt collectors use automated dialers that seem to work around the clock! 

Even if you are on the National Do Not Call List, a debt collector can legally call you as you have had a previous business agreement.

But, YOU CAN PUT A STOP TO DEBT COLLECTOR CALLS!

STOP Collection Calls Free Sample Letter

In some cases, a faxed letter will work, but to be sure, writing and sending by registered mail is much more effective!

Although a debt collector can call your family, friends and in some cases a neighbor, THEY CANNOT DISCUSS YOUR DEBT.  A debt collector can only call them to see if they can find our your phone number or where you live.

A debt collector cannot call you at work if your employer doesn't allow you to receive calls at work.  Many times you can verbally demand that the debt collector stop calling your place of employment and that will do it.  If not, write a letter.

A debt collector cannot make false statements, use obscene language, make threats of violence on the phone or in writing!

Although most debt collectors act in a semi-professional manner, there are some that will try any and all dirty tricks in order to collect their commission if they get you to pay up!

One of the most used dirty tricks that a debt collector uses is sending a "legal looking letter" that seems to indicate that you are being sued!

The Fair Debt Collection Practices Act clearly prohibits a debt collector, and even debt collectors that are attorneys, from threatening to take legal action if in fact they do not intend to.

For example, a debt collector will send a letter that says something like:

"At this time, this office has not taken any legal action, but...." or...

"If you do not contact this office within 20 days from the date it was mailed, this account will be turned over to our legal department for review."

If you received (or have received) a letter like that, then you know it is scarry!

Remember, a debt collector cannot take "legal action" until they have had an attorney, licensed in your state, prepare and submit a "claim" to your county courthouse.

Then, a SUMMONS is prepared and delivered to you.

If you do not act on the summons, then they would most likely be awarded a DEFAULT JUDGMENT.

After the judgment has been awarded, they can now take legal action such as:

  • Wage Garnishment
  • Bank Levy
  • Place a lien on your home

The point is that just because a debt collector's letter sounds like they have taken legal action, doesn't necessarily mean that they have.

Finally, a debt collector usually has the ability to accept a lesser amount than the full amount that is due.  This is called a DEBT SETTLEMENT.

Debt collectors are paid to collect as much money from you as possible!  They may tell you that their client (the original creditor) will not accept a reduction of the balance or may say that they will only accept a very small reduction.

A consumer that has not had the experience of dealing with professional debt collectors can be intimidated and may pay much more than is necessary to settle the debt.

We have helped hundreds of clients settle debts at 50% or below for many years.

Click here for ACTUAL SETTLEMENT EXAMPLES.

Don't fall for the dirty tricks of debt collectors!

 

 

 

 


 

 

 

 

 

 

Tags: debt collection, fair debt collection practices act, federal trade commission, debt settlement, debt settlement in Texas, debt settlement in oregon, debt relief in Portland Oregon, debt collector tricks

Advantages of Debt Settlement in Texas

advantages of debt settlement in texasIf you live in Texas, you have some unique laws that make debt settlement a great way to eliminate old credit card or other unsecured debts.

Due to various circumstances such as:

  • Loss of employment
  • Illness
  • Death of Spouse
  • Divorce
  • or many other of life's challenges

...you may find yourself with too much debt and without the ability to make regular payments. When that happens, it doesn't take long before the DEBT COLLECTORS begin to start calling!

If this has happened (or is happening) to your, click here to learn how to STOP THE CALLS.

The debt collector may try to get you into a HARDSHIP PROGRAM!  BUT BEWARE!

If it has been several months since you made your last payment, the debt collector may file a complaint and you would receive a summons.

DON'T IGNORE THE SUMMONS!

If you owe the debt and cannot negotiate a settlement, the CREDITOR OR PLAINTIFF will be awarded a DEFAULT JUDGMENT.

In most states, the CREDIOR can get a WRIT OF GARNISHMENT that would result in an average of 25% of your net income being withheld from each paycheck until 100% of the debt is paid!

BUT NOT IN TEXAS!

Texas does not allow garnishment of wages in order to repay unsecured debt! This gives Texas residents a tremendous advantage and leverage in negotiating a settlement of their debts!

After being awarded a judgment, many creditors place a LIEN ON YOUR HOME

This means that before you sell or transfer the property, the debt (PLUS INTEREST, FEES, ETC,) would have to be paid to release the title!

BUT NOT IN TEXAS!

Texas has the best HOMESTEAD LAWS in the United States.

Basically, your principle residence cannot have a creditor place a lien after a judgment for unsecured debt! This protects Texas Residents great protection and comfort!

With these two laws protecting your wages and homestead, residents of Texas can and should be able to negotiate very favorable settlements!

We have been helping Texas Residents for over 10 years and we can help you too!

Experienced Debt Settlement companies understand the advantages of debt settlement in Texas. Therefore, debt collectors are more willing to settle debts for less!

Actual Debt Settlement Examples: (Click on Link below to view)

 

photo by: Calsidyrose

 

 

 

 

 

 

Tags: debt collection, wage garnishment, credit card debt, summons, debt settlement in Texas, debt relief in Texas, judgment, texas homestead law, texas debt settlement, lien