When a debt collector wants to engage in the collection of debts in the State of Texas, they are required by the Secratary of State to acquire a Texas Surety Bond.
What is a surety bond?
A surety bond is like an insurance policy that the debt collector takes out. Usually, a Texas approved bonding company will issue a surety bond to a collection agent as a form of insurance in case a debt collector violates Texas law. Debt collectors must have a surety bond valued at $10,000 or more.
Because most debt collectors attempting to collect debts from a Texas resident are located outside of the State, a resident would have no recourse to take civil action if the debt collector violated the law by making harrassing, threatening, false or misleading statements.
In the event that a third-party debt collector violates Texas statue, the consumer has a right to file a civil claim against the surety bond company and the surety bond in place.
This provides a civil level of protection for the consumer against unethical and law breaking collection agencies.
How can I verify if a debt collector is legally allowed to collect debt in Texas?
To check a surety bond for a third-party debt collector, visit the following link:
This web site, provided by the Texas Secretary of State, will allow you to verify the name of the company, their address, the date of the surety bond, and whether or not the surety bond is still active.
What do I do if the debt collector does not have an active surety bond?
There are several steps that should be taken if the debt collector is illegally attempting to collect a debt in Texas.
- A debt validation or cease and desist letter should be sent to the debt collector, requesting that debt collection efforts cease and all information pertaining to the debt be removed from any credit reporting agencies. (It is possible that the search did not turn up an active surety bond due to a variety of errors, so a debt validation letter would normally be the first course of action.)
- A letter may be sent to the Credit Reporting Agency requesting immediate removal of the information pertaining to the debt due to a violation of Texas Law
- If the debt collector refuses to comply with your requests, you can file a complaint with the Texas Attorney General.
What law outlines the surety bond requirements for the State of Texas?
Surety Bond requirements are outlined in Texas Finance Code, Title 5, Chapter 392, Section 101.