Statute of Limitations on Debt Collection in Texas
George Simons | October 19, 2022
Summary: Is a creditor telling you that you're responsible for an old debt in Texas? See if the statute of limitations in Texas can get you out of it.
Also known as The Lone Star State, Texas has one of the fastest-growing economies in the country. However, the burden of debt continues to haunt many families in the state. If you live in Texas and have been sued over old debt, it's important to understand the state's debt collection laws and how to respond to a collection summons in case of a lawsuit.
What's the statute of limitations on debt in Texas?
Georgia Statute of Limitations
Deadline in Years
Like any other state, Texas has set its statute of limitations for different types of debts. The statute of limitations is the period within which a debt collector can sue a debtor over unpaid debts.
When the statute expires, the collector can no longer file a lawsuit, although the debtor remains liable for the debt. As a result, many debt collectors continue to request payment on an old debt even after the expiry of its statute of limitations.
One unique feature about the statute of limitations in Texas is that the period can be interrupted by a lawsuit. Usually, the clock starts running when you miss a payment on the debt account but stops when a lawsuit is filed.
So, for example, if a debt has a limit of four years (as is the case for most debts in Texas), and you've been sued three years and 11 months later, you most likely won't use the statute of limitation as your defense in court.
Some actions by the debtor can restart the statute of limitation on debts in most states. These actions include:
- Making any payments to the debt account;
- Acknowledging the debt in any manner;
- Accepting a debt repayment plan;
- Agreeing to a debt settlement amount;
- Making any charges on the dormant debt account.
As expected, many debt collectors are good at persuading debtors to take these actions. The idea is to revive the statute of limitation clock to regain their rights to sue the debtor if they fail to pay what they supposedly owe. However, a new debt-collection law introduced in Texas shields debtors from such actions.
As a result, payments to a time-barred debt can no longer restart the clock in the state. Additionally, debt collection agencies must provide written notice for any action they intend to take on a time-barred debt. These two additions to the debt-collection law are designed to save Texans from resurrecting 'zombie debts,' as they are commonly referred to.
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How to handle debt collection complaints in Texas
Debt collection lawsuits are the most common types of civil cases filed in different courts in Texas, with small claims taking the lead. If you have a delinquent debt in this state, the chances of being sued are high.
Therefore, you need to know what to do next.
The process of answering a debt collection lawsuit in Texas is more stringent compared to other states. Here are some of the guidelines to follow.
Know the deadlines
The deadlines for filing a response to a lawsuit in Texas follow a unique format. They also vary depending on the type of court presiding over the case.
- If the case is filed in a Justice Court or a Small Claims Court, your Answer must be filed on a Monday that comes after 14 days from the day you were served.
- If the case was filed in the County Court or the District Court, your Answer must be filed on a Monday that comes after 20 days from the date of service.
- If that Monday falls on a legal public holiday, then the Answer must be filed on the following day or the next business day.
- All Answers must be filed by 10:00 am on the date stated.
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Prepare your answer
Your Answer is simply a response to the claims the plaintiff raised against you on the collections summons. Denial is often the most common response to the claims, although you can accept or partially deny some claims.
Additionally, your response can contain reasons why you believe the plaintiff has no case against you. If the debt is old and past its due date, you can mention the expiry of the statute of limitations as an affirmative defense.
You must send a copy of the Answer to the plaintiff or their lawyer and follow all the strict service processes provided by Texas legislation. Additionally, you can use the return mail receipt services to prove that the mail was delivered to the plaintiff. Be sure to also file the right documents in the right court.
Texas has one of the strictest regulations when it comes to responding to debt collection suits. Besides the confusing deadlines and regulations, your Answer must meet specific requirements to be accepted by the court. However, you won't have to worry about most of these legislations when using Solosuit to respond to the debt collection lawsuit.
What is SoloSuit?
SoloSuit makes it easy to respond to a debt collection lawsuit.
How it works: SoloSuit is a step-by-step web-app that asks you all the necessary questions to complete your answer. Upon completion, you can either print the completed forms and mail in the hard copies to the courts or you can pay SoloSuit to file it for you and to have an attorney review the document.
Respond with SoloSuit
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>>Read the FastCompany article: Debt Lawsuits Are Complicated: This Website Makes Them Simpler To Navigate
>>Read the NPR story on SoloSuit: A Student Solution To Give Utah Debtors A Fighting Chance
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