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My debt is several years old. Can debt collectors still collect?

how long can a company try to collect a debt

updated 9/30/2014

In most states, if the debt is yours, the amount is correct, and the debt collector is entitled to collect, the debt itself does not expire or disappear until you pay it. Under the Fair Credit Reporting Act, the credit bureaus can report debts on your credit report generally for seven years and in a few cases, longer than that.

Under state laws, if you are sued about a debt and the debt is too old, you may have a defense to the lawsuit. These state laws are called “statutes of limitation.” These can be two years or longer; statutes of limitation vary depending on the type of debt and the state where you live or the state law named in your credit agreement. The statute of limitations may also be affected by terms in the contract with your creditor and, if you’ve moved, by laws in the state where you are sued. You may want to consult a lawyer to learn how this period is calculated in your state and when the period may have started with respect to your debt.

In some

states, a partial payment on an old account may restart the time period during which you can be sued.

If a debt collector sues over a debt that has gone unpaid for longer than the statute of limitations period, you can challenge the lawsuit. If you are sued and you think the statute of limitations has passed, you may want to consult an attorney. It is a violation of the Fair Debt Collection Practice Act for a debt collector to threaten to sue you if it knows the statute of limitations has passed.

We have prepared sample letters that a consumer could use to respond to a debt collector who is trying to collect a debt along with tips on how to use them. The sample letters may help you to get information, including information about the age of the debt. The letters may also help you set ground rules about any further communication, or protect some of your rights.

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Category: Bank

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