Collections On 12-Year-Old Debt

We Receive Collection Calls On 12-Year-Old Debt. Can They Still Collect on Debt This Old?

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12-year-old yellowed debt collection letters
Bill's Answer: Answered by Mark Cappel

It’s frustrating to receive collection calls on 12-year-old debt. Are collection calls on 12-year-old debt even legal?

How does a statute of limitations work regarding a debt that’s really old? Can 12-year-old debt appear on my credit report? Can a debt not appearing on your credit report be collected?

Read on, and we’ll answer your questions about collection calls on 12-year-old debt.

The Basics About Old Debt

Old debt never dies, except in two states. An original creditor, the original lender such as a credit card issuer, or a collection agent have the legal right to pester you about an old, unpaid debt forever. The exceptions are in Wisconsin and Mississippi. In those two states, a debt stops being collectible when the statute of limitations on the debt runs out.

Whether a debt appears on your credit report has no influence on a debt’s collectibility. An original creditor or collection agent is allowed to try to collect an old debt that does not appear on your credit report.

Let’s look at these rules a little more closely.

Statute of Limitations & 12-Year-Old Debt

Each state has its own statute of limitations rules. When it comes to debt collection, the rules that usually apply are for written contracts and open accounts. (See the Bills.com resource Statute of Limitations Laws by State to learn your state’s laws.) Some states, like the Carolinas, have short statutes of limitations for written contracts — 3 years. Other states, like the states that begin with the letter “I”, have long statutes of limitations — 10 years.

As mentioned, an original creditor or collection agent can contact you and ask for payment on a debt that’s of any age (excepting Wisconsin and Mississippi residents). So what’s a statute of limitations good for?

A statute of limitations is a defense you can use if an original creditor or collection agent files a lawsuit against you. Let’s say the statute of limitations that applies to your debt is 4 years. The original creditor files a lawsuit against you 4 years plus one day after the date you missed your last payment. You would answer the lawsuit with a motion reading something like, “Even if everything the creditor says is true, they filed their lawsuit after this state’s statute of limitations expired. Therefore, the lawsuit is time-barred, and I ask the court to dismiss this case.” If the court believes the facts in your motion, it will dismiss the case.

In many cases, the statute of limitations rules are easy to apply. Statute of limitations issues get tricky when the creditor and consumer reside in states with different statutes of limitations rules. See the Bills.com article How to Tell Which Statute of Limitations Applies to Your Situation to learn the five key questions lawyers ask when analyzing a statute of limitations issue.

Fact It is a violation of the FDCPA for a collection agent to pursue a debt collection lawsuit against a consumer after the statute of limitation expired (Kimber v. Federal Financial Corp. 668 F.Supp. 1480 (1987) and Basile v. Blatt, Hasenmiller, Liebsker & Moore LLC, 632 F. Supp. 2d 842, 845 (2009)). Some collection agents still sue in hopes the consumer will not know this rule.

Credit Report Rules and Old Debt

In the credit report world, negative items on credit reports are called derogatories. Most derogatories can appear on your credit reports for up to 7½ years. The starting point is the date of first delinquency. In other words, the date of the first missed payment starts the clock. Making a payment or settling an account does not restart the 7-year clock.

Equifax, Experian, and TransUnion are the biggest publishers of credit reports. Each are independent, and each may publish different information in your credit reports. Equifax, Experian, and TransUnion must follow the federal Fair Credit Reporting Act (FCRA).

The date of first delinquency is shown in credit reports. Subsequent activity, such as resolving the debt or one debt collector selling the debt to another collector, is irrelevant to the 7-year rule. The FCRA 7-year rule is completely separate from state statutes of limitations for debt issues.

Some debts have a reporting period longer than 7 years, including:

  • Tax liens: 10 years if unpaid, or 7 years from the payment date
  • Bankruptcy: 10 years from the date of filing (15 U.S.C. §1681c). Equifax, Experian, and TransUnion report chapter 13s for 7 years
  • Perkins student loans: Until paid in full (20 U.S.C. §1087cc(c)(3))
  • Direct and FFEL loans: 7 years from default or rehabilitation date (20 U.S.C. §1080a(f)(1) and 20 U.S.C. §1087e(a)(1))
  • Judgments: 7 years or the debtor’s state statute of limitations on judgments, whichever is longer. Learn the lifespan of a judgment in your state at the Bills.com Statute of Limitations Laws by State page.

The start of the 7-year period begins at the date of first delinquency. If no payments are made on the debt, the 7-year period begins when the first payment was due. Review your credit report carefully to make certain the dates of first delinquency are reported correctly. Unscrupulous collection agents reset the date of first delinquency to stretch out how long a derogatory account appears on consumer’s credit report. This is called "re-aging a debt" and is illegal under the FCRA.

Just because a debt does not appear on a credit report does not mean the statute of limitations for the debt passed. The opposite is also true: The passing of a state statute of limitations on a debt does not mean the debt may not appear on a credit report. The federal FCRA and state statutes of limitations are separate and independent of each other.

Whether a debt appears on a credit report does not establish legal liability for the debt. The opposite is also true: You may have legal liability for a debt not reported to the credit reporting agencies. Credit reports are not legal records of every debt a person owes.

Fact Wisconsin and Mississippi outlaw lawsuits against consumers in cases where those state statutes of limitation have passed. Wisconsin and Mississippi are the only exceptions to the “lawsuits are allowed for original creditors even if the statute of limitations expired” rule.

Your Question: Collection Calls on 12-Year-Old Debt

When you receive collection calls on 12-year-old-debt, validate the debt. Follow the hyperlink just mentioned to learn quick and easy steps to validate debt. It’s worth your while to take this step for two reasons.

  1. If the collection agent cannot validate the debt, it cannot collect the debt.
  2. The older the debt the more unlikely it is the collection agent can validate the debt, according to the FTC. It is unlikely the original creditor will be able to give the collection agent any information to validate a 12-year-old debt.

You mentioned your state’s statute of limitations and this debt’s appearance on a credit report. As we mention above, just because a debt does not appear on a credit report does not mean your state’s statute of limitations clock has run out. Federal credit report laws and a state statute of limitations laws are separate and independent from each other.

Tip If you have problems paying your credit card debts, consult with a Bills.com debt resolution partner who can discuss your options.

Don't pay a debt simply because a collection agency contacts you. Do not make any payment on the debt before reviewing the situation carefully. Making a payment could reset the statute of limitations clock back to zero. If the clock is reset, the creditor may be tempted to take legal action against you without concern about a statute of limitations defense you offer.

A collection agency’s contacting you does not necessarily mean you are legally obligated to pay the debt. It also does not mean this 12-year-old account will reappear on your spouse’s credit report.

Since the deficiency balance on your spouse’s vehicle is more than 12 years old, it should no longer be appearing on his credit reports. If your husband is sued for this debt, he very likely can use the statute of limitations as an affirmative defense to dismiss the case. That makes a lawsuit possible legally, but unlikely.

Under the FCRA, the debt should not appear on his credit reports. Consider sending a cease communication letter to the collector, which will stop the phone calls.

A new company purchasing your account cannot lengthen the time the account appears on your credit report. Be careful, though, because unscrupulous collection agents change the date of last activity on old accounts so they appear on your credit report for longer than 7 years.

More About Collection Agents
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Zwicker & Associates

Pull your credit report and review the accounts in question to make sure you see no unauthorized changes. If you find any incorrect or suspicious information on your credit report, such as  this 12-year-old debt reappearing on your credit report under a different name, dispute the listings with the credit bureaus.

Visit the Bills.com credit resources page to learn more about credit, credit scoring, and credit reports.

For further information regarding options available to consumers struggling with debt, I invite you to visit the Bills.com Debt Help page.

I hope the information I provided will help you Find. Learn. Save.

Best,

Bill

Bills.com

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Comments (67)


Keonia M.
Orlando, FL  |  April 08, 2014
A GA company is calling for my mom about a loan from a bank in 2002. The loan wasn't from 2002, but earlier. She has been disabled since 1996 and hasn't worked since. She can't pay it back. What can I do to make them leave her alone? It's more than 12 years old.
Bills.com
April 08, 2014
Find the name of the company calling. See if it sent any written correspondence. Help your mom send it a cease communication letter. If they continue to call, consult with an attorney who specializes in Fair Debt Collection Practices Act (FDCPA) violations. Make sure she does not send a penny to the collector, as it could bring a debt that has passed the statute of limitations for debt to come back to life.
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Keonia M.
Orlando, FL  |  April 08, 2014
A company called AGA in California. They called all my family looking for her but have not called me? Seeing that I've been her care taker since 96. I've had the same phone number for ever. When I called he didn't even make sure he was talking to the right person. .He just gave out her personal information. How do i get them to stop calling my family?
Bills.com
April 08, 2014
I would assume the "her" you refer to is your mother or someone who you have power of attorney to handle their financial matters.

It would be helpful to know in which state the person in question resides, the type of debt AGA is collecting, and when the last payment was made on that account.

If the collection account is older than the statute of limitations in her state, then send the collection agent a cease communications notice.
Emily D.
Merrimack, NH  |  March 31, 2014
My husband received a call from a "Litigation Firm" on Friday about some debt I owed under my maiden name. I called them back immediately. Was told it was from Verizon from 2002 (12 years ago). I contacted Verizon, they had no debt on me. I contacted Verizon Resident this morning (MON) and they had an old debt for $45.59 from 2002. They said it was sold to a debt collector. I then attempted to trace this debt from collector to collector. The one who called me friday said they would be willing to settle this debt for $259.14, which is way above what Verizon had on file. They said that there would be Civil Suit brought upon me if I didn't pay right away. They gave me an old address of mine from 7 years ago said that had sent a letter there to collect this debt. I never received any letters. Can I be sued? The SOL in NH is 3 years. They said they can still sue. Do I have to pay for all these fee's associated? HELP!
Bills.com
March 31, 2014
Send a debt validation letter to the collection agent immediately. Just because you were able to find an old debt of yours from Verizon at about that time does not mean the collection agent will be able to validate the debt. Follow the hyperlink in the article above to the Bills.com debt validation page.

You mentioned New Hampshire and its 3-year statute of limitations. If a collection agent files a lawsuit against you for this debt, consult with a New Hampshire lawyer immediately. Discuss filing a counter-suit against the collection agent for violating the Fair Debt Collection Practices Act, which prohibits collection agents from filing actions on time-barred debt. Because the statute of limitations clock has run out on this debt you have no legal obligation to pay it.

You mentioned the $200 or so in mystery fees. The FDCPA outlaws those, too, with one exception. If your contract with the original creditor (Verizon) allowed the addition of fees and interest in collections and your state law allows it, then collection agents may add mystery fees. Most collection agents do not receive the original contract the consumer signed. Therefore, they do not know if the contract allows additional fees. As a result, honest collection agents never add fees to their collection accounts -- they want to stay on the right side of the law. Unscrupulous collection agents cross their fingers and hope consumers don't know the FDCPA, and add fees willy nilly.

What to do? As mentioned, send the collection agent a debt validation letter that includes a cease communications demand. If the collection agent files a lawsuit against you, consult with a lawyer and count your lucky stars because you get to collect statutory damages from the collection agent.
Hope L.
Homewood, IL  |  March 26, 2014
I received a call from a carrier stating he has sealed documents to serve me and I need to make myself available between 12 and 5p tomorrow. If I require more information contact the arbitration service using the file number he left on my voicemail. I call the number and use the file number and the arbitration company informed me that I'm being sued by Citibank for a debt valid from 2001-2006. The final payment due at this time is over $5,000. This would all be fine but I don't remember the debt, the creditor doesn't have me in their database, nor do they show up on my credit report. Since then I've purchased a home and cars with no problem. My question is how do I move forward? Should I contact my lawyer? How should I deal with the carrier if he comes to my job or home as promised?
Bills.com
March 27, 2014
Everything you wrote sounds like a familiar scam: Call a consumer out of the blue with news of a vaguely legalistic sounding procedure that's just about to happen that, by golly, you can prevent by calling someone and agreeing to a settlement today. This must work often because we receive a steady stream of messages with facts like yours.

Legitimate process servers hired to deliver a lawsuit notice rarely call ahead to warn you they're on the way, and certainly don't have the chutzpah to tell you to when to be home so they know where to find you.

Assume this is a scam until proven otherwise. Call the number, and ask for the name of the collection agent — they may call themselves a law firm — their address, and the account number of the debt in your name. Promise them nothing. Send them a written debt validation notice. A scammer will be unable to validate the debt. A debt that cannot be validated cannot be collected.

The fact this account does or does not appear on your Equifax, Experian, or TransUnion credit reports has no significance legally. You might have no legal liability for a debt mistakenly on your credit report, and the opposite is also true.
Michelle W.
Marshall, TX  |  January 15, 2014
I received a voicemail today (01/15/2014) regarding a payday loan from Ace Cash Express that I had gotten in April of 2007. On the voicemail the woman didn't state who she was, or where she was calling from, or who the message was for. All she said was "They require that a supervisor or law enforcement be present at the time of my arrest to witness me sign papers," I guess regarding the Ace papers. I called back and the guy I talked was real rude, and he said in order to retract the summons of arrest, I could rectify this situation by making a payment. I was questioning him about the situation, and he kept getting loud with me, and he hung up the phone. I called back, and this chick answered the phone and said that he was on the phone with the Tarrant County DA's office re-sending the warrant. I called back again and talked to another guy, and this guy said that he would check with the original guy that I talked to see if he would approve me to make payments. He said he didn't know if he could do that, but let him know what I can afford. I told him, and then he says, "Well actually I can approve that because I am a superior". I asked if this company was legit, or if this was a scam. I had him to send me an email, and I was supposed to have been calling him back today after I got the email. I guess I will be going to jail tomorrow. I looked up the phone number under Google, and they get lots of complaints: (855) 207 2291. He said my license can be suspended in Texas.
Bills.com
January 16, 2014
Let's count the lies these unscrupulous collection agents told you:
  1. A collection agent can file a summons of arrest. No, they cannot. A county prosecutor or district attorney can file an arrest warrant. But lenders, like the rest of us, do not have the power to file arrest warrants in criminal courts.
  2. A supervisor or law enforcement must be present to witness your signature. That's complete baloney, too. An "A" grade for creativity, though! If you are sued in a civil court, a lone process server will give you the summons, and neither a peace officer nor a "supervisor" need witness the service of process.
  3. You can go to jail for an unpaid loan. Delinquent debt is not a crime, and no one has been arrested for an unpaid debt in the US since the Civil War. (However, in some jurisdictions, people have been jailed for failing to appear in court for a debt-related matter. Always appear in court, when summoned.)
  4. Your Texas driving license can be suspended. A Texas driving license can be suspended if you receive two convictions for driving without insurance. It can also be suspended if, while driving, you cause damage to someone and do not pay for it. But an unpaid payday loan will not result in the suspension of your Texas license.

Read the Bills.com article Payday Loans & Hot Checks in Texas to learn more about your rights as a Texas resident.

Also, learn more about the Texas statute of limitations. If your most recent payment was more than 4 years ago, then you probably have no legal obligation to pay the debt.

Consult with a lawyer who has consumer law experience to make sure my quick look at your situation is accurate. If you can't afford a lawyer, check with a legal aid organization in your area.

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Robert C.
Kyle, TX  |  January 29, 2014
This same "company" contacted me, threatening with a lawsuit if I did not respond by 8PM Monday over a debt from a few years back that was paid in full to another company. I asked him to state the company name, in which he replied "Legal Services", as well as their location, in which I got, "out of New York" and nothing else. Shady is the word I would use. My question is, how do scam artists like this get personal information? And how are they able to buy paid in full, old debts, and still try and collect? Apparently, I'm going to jail, also.
Bills.com
January 30, 2014
Validate the debt, and if the caller harasses you illegally, file complaints with your state attorney general's office and the FTC.
Ron B.
Chicago, IL  |  January 08, 2014
I recently moved. In attempting to have my Com Ed Service transferred to my new address, I was informed that I had an outstanding balance of $3049.00 at an address I moved from in 2002, therefore they wouldn't transfer my service. This is the first I've heard of this outstanding balance and no one has ever contacted me. I know I closed this account. I opened a new account with Com Ed on 3/9/2011 with no issues and closed it on 12/4/2013 when I relocated. I was told that the account was closed in 2004. I was long gone. I was told to furnish them with proof that I didn't live at the address during that period and even this might not clear this debt.
Bills.com
January 08, 2014
The facts and timeline you shared are a bit unclear to me. Each state regulates its public utilities. Search the Web for your state's utilities regulator — it may be called something like "public utilities commission." Contact your state regulator, explain your situation, and ask if it has a consumer office that can help you resolve this situation.
Kat S.
Ponchatoula, LA  |  December 09, 2013
I received a letter from Convergent Outsourcing about a credit card I supposedly had back in 2001? The letter says if I settle and pay so much to them for another group called LVNV then that would be good enough. Down below that it says... 'Because of the age of this debt, they will not sue you and they will not report it to the credit agency.' But.. on the back, it says if I don't validate the debt, they will assume the debt is valid. What does all that mean? and since it is way past the SOL for my state and isn't on my credit reports do I need to still validate or just leave it alone?
Bills.com
December 10, 2013
The letter is written to meet legal requirements. As stated, they won't sue, if you don't pay, and they will not report it to the consumer credit reporting agencies — Equifax, Experian, and TransUnion. They hope you will pay them anyway, attempting to prey upon your confusion about the validity of the debt. Don't pay them!
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Jon C.
February 03, 2014
Should he send the collector a debt validation letter?
Bills.com
February 04, 2014
In this case, there is no need to validate the debt. The letter that was received explicitly stated that he would not be sued and the debt would not be reported to the credit bureaus. There is no need for any action aside from ignoring attempts to collect the debt. If the party were sued, he would have a grounds for action under the FDCPA.
Ranell A.
Walworth, WI  |  May 20, 2013
I hope you can help me. My sister received a phone call from a lawyer saying that I have to appear in civil court, gave her a phone # and a ref # for me to return the call. I called them back and the guy told me he is the attorney for HSBC credit card. He said I owe them $2,200 and this is an account from 2003. I lived in Chicago at the time. I live in Wisconsin now (been here for 4 years). They had an old address on me so I never received any notices from them. The guy went on to tell me payments use to be made on the account (which i do not remember doing, but OK) but nothing in over 6 years. He said if I didn't agree to get on some kind of plan that would slice the price in half or pay $845 in a lump-sum, I would be served this week with papers to appear in court. I told him I do not remember them but if I owe someone I can try a payment plan. BUT he told me i had to give him my debit card number! I refused and told him to send the paperwork not to my house in Wisconsin but my sister's in Illinois.

My questions are: Can they come after me for this debt after all this time? Besides I do not remember this debt, I just do not want anyone suing me. By me saying yes to a payment plan do I have to pay them now? Can they sue me for this? I am on disability.
Bills.com
May 20, 2013
Your situation contains several significant issues, but let me start with what I think is the key issue: Did you incur the debt? Just because a voice on the telephone claiming to be a lawyer says you owe someone thousands of dollars doesn't mean it's a fact. The voice on the telephone could have the wrong John Smith, or could have been given false information about the account. To add to my concern is your statement you have no memory of the debt. Step No. 1 here is for you to validate the debt. An $845 settlement on a $2,200 debt that isn't yours is a bad deal any way you look at it.

You mentioned you reside in Wisconsin. The Wisconsin statute of limitations for breach of contract is 6 years. Wisconsin (and one other state) are unique in that when the statute of limitations expires, the original creditor or collection agent may not file a lawsuit against you in a Wisconsin court, nor may either attempt to collect the debt. If, as you mentioned, the debt has been unpaid for more than 6 years, the person who contacted you to collect the debt violated Wisconsin § 893.05 and the federal FDCPA.

The answer to your first question is, "No, the lawyer/collection agent may not pursue you for the debt because it appears to be older than Wisconsin's statute of limitations." The answer to your second question is, "Wisconsin law bars a creditor from taking a civil action against you if the statute of limitations has expired."

You asked if you changed your rights by negotiating with the collection agent. I doubt it. I reach this conclusion because you mentioned the contact with the collection agent was over the telephone, and reinstatement agreements usually need to be very clear as to their intent and in writing.

My advice? Do not pay even one thin dime to the lawyer/collection agent. Do not make any promises to him or her, either. Consult with a Wisconsin lawyer who has consumer law experience. Ask him or her if my interpretation of § 893.05 is accurate, and whether you have a legal reason to file a lawsuit against the lawyer/collection agent who called you.
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Ranell A.
Walworth, WI  |  May 21, 2013
Thank you soo much for answering my questions. I have just a couple of more to ask. The only thing that made me think it could be a old debt i had was that he knew my social security number and my old address and i did have a couple of credit card debts back then that i owe. I did live in Chicago, Illinois at the time i had the cards, but now i live in Wisconsin. My questions are since i live in Wisconsin now should i handle this from Wisconsin or go to someone in Illinois to help me since that is where the bill might occurred? If the bill is mine what are your suggestions for me moving to pay it? Can they freeze or garnish my disability checks if they go to court for this bill?
Bills.com
May 21, 2013
A person's Social Security number is not a deep secret, like the passwords to your online banking or e-mail accounts are supposed to be. Unfortunately, it is relatively easy for an unscrupulous person to obtain someone else's Social Security number, their previous mailing addresses, and when they lived there. Just because someone learned those three facts plus your name doesn't mean you owe a debt. As mentioned earlier, validate the debt.

You mentioned you reside in Wisconsin. Consult with a Wisconsin lawyer for two reasons.

First, Wisconsin is where you reside now. If the original creditor sold your collection account to a collection agent, it must take any legal action against you in a court convenient to you in your state of residence. If you give the collection agent the impression you are an Illinois resident and if the agent decides to file a lawsuit against you in Illinois, you will have to trek down there to make an appearance.

Second, Wisconsin law is very friendly to consumers regarding debt older than Wisconsin's statute of limitations. Illinois is not so friendly. Since you are a Wisconsin resident, if this case comes down to lawsuit, you want to fight this fight in a court where the rules are in your favor.

Social Security benefits may not be garnished/offset for a judgment resulting from credit card debt.

If you cannot afford a lawyer, call your county bar association and ask for the names of the organizations that provide pro bono referrals in your area for people who have low or no income. Make an appointment with one of the organizations, and bring all of your documents and notes relating to the mystery HSBC debt to your meeting. The lawyer you meet will explain your rights under Wisconsin law, and in particular whether the collection agent violated Wisconsin and federal law by contacting you to collect the debt.
John J.
Springfield, MO  |  April 23, 2012
My husband had a judgment against him dated Feb. 20, 2001, by Missouri law it should be expired as of Feb. 20, 2011. However it is still showing up on his credit report but it is showing up as a collection debt rather than a judgment under the public record section and they have changed the date so many times it's hard to keep track but it looks like they have something on the credit report dated 2008. They have also changed their name on it 3x (at first we thought it was being sold but it isn't we called and verified this, they have just changed the name). Now we're trying to buy a home and even thought it's been 10 yrs and the judgment is not renewed so it is legally expired it is still showing up and that one thing is keeping us from getting approved. He wrote to the credit bureaus and disputed it but all they've responded with is that it is his debt. We are aware that it was his debt but it should no longer be on there. Does anyone know what paperwork we'll need to provide to
  1. Get it off his credit report, and
  2. Have documentation a lender will accept to show this is no longer a valid debt while waiting on the credit bureau to update his report?

We'd love to be able to move forward with purchasing this home, but without proper documentation we can't. Any ideas/advice is appreciated!! Thank you!

Bills.com
April 25, 2012
Start with a copy of the judgment, or a related document showing the date of the judgment being Feb 1, 2001. Then also include a photocopy of the Missouri statute that spells out the lifetime of a Missouri judgment. Take this to a Missouri lawyer who has experience in civil litigation. Ask him or her to write a letter to the legal departments at the big three credit reporting agencies (Equifax, Experian, and TransUnion), explaining that if the judgment and related derogatories are not removed immediately, you will file an action against them under the FCRA, and your state's libel laws.
Annie T.
White Bluff, TN  |  April 16, 2012
In Tennessee, my husband just received a phone call today from a debt collection agency that just received the account on 3-20-12 from the bank where the debt was originally owed stating he owes $4,870.75. It is for a repossession on a truck from back in 2001. He no longer has the paperwork showing payments made to the bank after the truck was repossessed. This was not paid in full to his knowledge since the paperwork is no longer in his possession. Since this has been 11 years and this debt has not come to his attention until now, does he still owe this debt according to the Tennessee repo law? What should be done to ensure this is taken care of before they wipe out my bank account? If he does owe this and has to make payments? What amount would suffice to make monthly payments on, or do they settle in this case? Our knowledge has been with hospital bills so I am unsure as to handle this repo debt(secure loan from 11 years ago). We are having a wedding in June so I am afraid of this financial burden hindering us at this time. Thanks for your time.
Bills.com
April 16, 2012
You may feel your spouse owes the deficiency balance out of a sense of moral conviction, but he may not owe the debt as a matter of law. If the collection agent telephones you again, do not tell the caller you owe the debt or will agree to pay the debt. Instead, validate the debt. Follow the hyperlink I just mentioned to learn how to validate a debt. Debt validation is a consumer's best friend because a debt that cannot be validated may not be collected. If your spouse does not have any records of this debt, chances are the original creditor does not either.
Karen H.
North Swanzey, NH  |  April 07, 2012
I applied for a mortgage 2-1/2 months ago and my credit was excellent (around 800). TODAY I got a letter from a collection agency telling me I owe an $88 payment to an eye-care company from DECEMBER 2004, which is just about 7-1/2 years ago. Number 1, I pay medical companies (like my dentist, etc.) with a credit card so I have a record; this also means that there is no way I should have any outstanding debt. Unfortunately I don't have my credit card records from 7 years ago (who would keep them that long?!). I will be sending this company a cease-and-desist letter and disputing the charge, and from everything I have read they cannot contact me again or report this to credit bureaus, but I am furious and very exasperated by the timing. Could this $88.00 debt that I have never heard of before today show up on my credit reports when my lender re-pulls them just before closing? I am SO careful, I can't believe this has happened! Also I just looked at my Experian report and it shows absolutely nothing negative, so at least as of today with that bureau, nothing derogatory has shown up. Oh, I'm in New Hampshire (have lived here for 10 years).
Avatar
Karen H.
North Swanzey, NH  |  April 15, 2012
Any answers? Please?
Bills.com
April 15, 2012
It is unlikely one derogatory from nearly 7½ years ago will have much of an impact on a person with an 800 FICO score, so it is unlikely this one item will scuttle your home loan application. In the unlikely event that your loan will not be approved unless you can prove you paid it, you may have to either pay it in full or work out a settlement with the creditor.
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