The Laws in the State of Texas if You Don't Pay Your Credit Cards


Texas laws are friendlier to debtors than many states. If you stop paying your credit card bills, the company has only a limited ability to impose a lien on your property or take your wages. Texas law also limits the methods credit-card companies and debt collectors can use to talk you into paying up. The federal government has similar restrictions but Texas applies them more broadly, affecting both debt collectors and the creditor company itself.


Credit cards don't come with collateral the company can seize. If you can't or won't pay your debt, the company can try collect by suing you for a court judgment stating you owe the money. Under Texas law, the judgment can include court costs and attorney fees on top of the original debt and interest. In most states, your creditor can then file a lien -- a claim -- on your house or try to garnish your wages. Texas law makes that much harder.


Texas law doesn't allow creditors other than mortgage lenders to file a lien on your home, if it's under one acre in a town or 200 acres in a rural area. It also prevents credit-card issuers from garnishing your wages. The law also exempts up to a total $30,000 of property from seizure -- $60,000 if you're married -- including furnishings, pets, work tools and one vehicle per family member. Unless you have a second home or other vulnerable property, it may not be worthwhile for the company to get a judgment.


If the company or a debt collection agency contacts you directly about your credit card bill, you can write a certified letter telling the company to stop calling or writing. The company can only contact you again to announce what action it's going to take. If you have a lawyer handling the matter, you can also tell your creditor to talk to your attorney instead of you. None of these actions makes the debt go away or stops the company taking you to court.


Creditors and debt collectors aren't allowed to lie: They can't pretend to represent law enforcement, can't overstate how much you owe and can't threaten to jail you or take your house if they have no right or intention to do it. Callers can't use foul or offensive language, call you at unreasonable times, or threaten you with violence. While credit card companies can and will notify credit bureaus of your default, they can't publicize it to your friends or employers or threaten to do so.

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