Debt collection agencies will often record phone calls placed to, or received from, an alleged debtor in the interest of “quality assurance.” Be assured that if the debt collector has a right to record a phone call, so do you!
Phone Contact vs. Contact via a Letter
In most cases, it is recommended that you deal strictly via the mail when working with a debt collector. This leaves a paper trail of letters, certified article numbers, dates, and signatures that may be needed if the issue were to ever go to court.
At times, though, it may be necessary to contact the debt collector via the telephone to get additional information like their current address, the balance of the debt or other information pertaining to the debt collection account. Just as a certified article number and signature can track a physical letter, a recording can provide evidence of what was discussed on the telephone.
Therefore, in the event that a phone call to the debt collector is necessary, be sure to record the call! If you are not recording the phone call, do not make it!
If you need to make contact with a debt collection agency, more often than not you should make contact using a certified letter sent via the US Post Office.
The Importance of Recording a Phone Call to a Debt Collector or Collection Agency
It is no secret that debt collection agencies will do just about anything to collect what they believe is owed to them. It is not out of the ordinary for a debt collector to provide false or misleading information to an alleged debtor in order to get a payment. In some extreme, but not uncommon cases, debt collectors have been known to harrass and threaten their victims with the desire to humiliate or scare them into paying. Unsuspecting victims of debt collector harrassment usually believe they have no choice but to pay or they may face civil and criminal actions.
Often times, the techniques used by debt collectors are in violation of Texas Law. A number of violations that debt collectors commit include, but are not limited to:
- Providing false or inaccurate balance information
- Providing false or inaccurate information about the dates surrounding the debt, such as date of default or date of transfer from the original creditor to the third-party debt collector.
- Providing false information about the third-party debt collector’s ownership of the debt
Whenever possible, if dealing with a debt collector, it is recommended that you record the phone call. This will provide evidence of harrassment or threats in the event that a debt collector becomes aggressive. In addition, whenever you contact a debt collection agency, under Texas Law, you have the right to record the phone call to ensure the debt collector is providing you with truthful information.
Is is legel to record a phone call in the State of Texas?
While there is no specific provision allowing the recording of phone calls, Texas Penal Code protects a resident from criminal prosecution in the event they choose to record a phone call.
In Texas, if a person engaged in the phone call chooses to record the call without the consent of the other party, it is not a crime to do so.
This protection is detailed in Texas Penal Code, Title 4, Chapter 16., Section 02.
This provision allows the recording of a phone call, without criminal prosecution, if one party to the call is aware of the recording. In effect, if you have chosen to record a phone call, you have not broken the law by doing so.
Should I advise the debt collector that the call is being recorded?
It is recommended that you advise the debt collection agency that the phone call is being recorded if you initiated the call. This way, there can be no question in a court of law if the recording will eventually need to be used as evidence in the case.
Can the debt collector take legal action if I record the phone call?
The debt collector cannot take legal action simply because you have chosen to record a phone call.
However, if you make the phone call public whether inadvertently or on purpose, the debt collection agency may take legal action under Texas Civil Practice and Remedies Code Chapter 123, Section 002:
A person whose wire, oral, or electronic communication is intercepted or disclosed has a civil cause of action against the interceptor or discloser.
Therefore, if you choose to record a phone conversation, keep it private and use it only during legal proceedings.