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Statutory Documents

Frequently Asked Questions for Third-Party Debt Collectors & Credit Bureaus

The answers to our Frequently Asked Questions are provided for informational purposes and are not intended to provide legal advice or to substitute for the advice of an attorney. If you have specific legal questions, consult your attorney.

Form Series 2900

In Texas, third-party debt collectors and credit bureaus are governed by Chapter 392 of the Finance Code, as well as any other applicable state or federal law.

What is a third-party debt collector?

With the exception of certain attorneys acting on behalf of their clients, a person who directly or indirectly engages in debt collection, including a person who sells or offers to sell forms represented to be a collection system, device, or scheme intended to be used to collect consumer debts.

Tex. Fin. Code § 392.001(6), (7).

What is a credit bureau?

A person who, for compensation, gathers, records, and disseminates information relating to the creditworthiness, financial responsibility, and paying habits of, and similar information regarding, a person for the purpose of furnishing that information to another person.

Tex. Fin. Code § 392.001(4).

FAQs for Third-Party Debt Collectors & Credit Bureaus

  1. Are third-party debt collectors and credit bureaus required to register with the secretary of state?
  2. How much does it cost to obtain a bond?
  3. Is there a filing fee for the bond?

FAQs for Third-Party Debt Collector & Credit Bureau Consumers

  1. How do I determine whether a third-party debt collector has filed a bond with the secretary of state?
  2. What recourse is available to a consumer for fraudulent or abusive collection practices?
  3. My question wasn’t answered here. Who do I call?

FAQs for Third-Party Debt Collectors & Credit Bureaus

  1. Are third-party debt collectors and credit bureaus required to register with the secretary of state?

    No, but third-party debt collectors and credit bureaus are required to file a $10,000 surety bond with the secretary of state before engaging in debt collection. Tex. Fin. Code. § 392.101. The bond must be in favor of the State of Texas for the benefit of any person damaged by any violation of Chapter 392, Finance Code. Id.

  2. How much does it cost to obtain a bond?

    The surety bonding company determines the cost of a surety bond. Contact the surety company to obtain the cost of the bond.

  3. Is there a filing fee for the bond?

    No.

FAQs for Third-Party Debt Collector & Credit Bureau Consumers

  1. How do I determine whether a third-party debt collector has filed a bond with the secretary of state?

    The names of third-party debt collectors and credit bureaus that have filed bonds may be searched on our Debt Collector Search.

  2. What recourse is available to a consumer for fraudulent or abusive collection practices?

    Chapter 392, Finance Code, provides for both civil remedies and criminal penalties. Tex. Fin. Code §§ 392.402–.404. A consumer may take private legal action against a third-party debt collector or credit bureau for a violation of Chapter 392. In addition, a consumer may file a complaint with the attorney general if the consumer feels that the third-party debt collector or credit bureau has violated Chapter 392 by engaging in a false, misleading, or deceptive act or practice.

    Engaging in debt collection without filing a bond with the secretary of state is a violation of Chapter 392 and may also be a criminal offense. Tex. Fin. Code § 392.402. The attorney general or a district or county attorney may investigate an alleged violation of Chapter 392. If you notify the secretary of state, this office will notify the third-party debt collector or credit bureau of the bond filing requirement and, if necessary, refer the matter to the attorney general for investigation. Please report the names of any third-party debt collectors and credit bureaus that do not have bonds on file to:

    Registrations Unit
    Statutory Documents Section
    Office of the Secretary of State
    P. O. Box 13550
    Austin, Texas 78711-3550
    (512) 463-6906

    The secretary of state is a filing officer for third-party debt collector and credit bureau bonds and does not have authority to regulate the business practices of third-party debt collectors or credit bureaus. The secretary of state cannot resolve disputes about services or investigate business practices of a third-party debt collector or credit bureau.

    You may also report any problems that you have with a third-party debt collector or credit bureau to the Federal Trade Commission. The FTC is authorized to take action against a third-party debt collector or credit bureau who violates the federal Fair Debt Collection Practices Act. Complaints with the FTC may be filed online or by calling 1-877-382-4357.

    Consumers may also wish to file a complaint with the Better Business Bureau.

  3. My question wasn’t answered here. Who do I call?

    For additional information about filing a debt collection bond, please call (512) 463-6906. You can find further information relating to consumer rights from the Office of the Texas Attorney General or the Federal Trade Commission.