A collector calls you about an old debt – What is the solution?


I was severely ill for several years. I could not work for medical reasons. I had a few debts. The debt amount was more than $100,000. It was not possible for me to pay off the debts because of shortage of funds.

I filed bankruptcy to get rid of the debts. I filed bankruptcy on 20th March 2000. I received bankruptcy discharge on 24th July 2000. I was relieved to know that debts were finally paid off.

I received a collection call in the last week. The debt collector told me that I owe $5480 on a certain account. When I told him that all my debts were discharged through bankruptcy, he flatly refused to believe me. He told that this particular account was not included in bankruptcy. I am at a loss. I live on Social Security pay checks. What can I do in this situation?


A debt collector can call you regarding a debt. He can call and claim that you owe around $50,000 to them. This does not imply that you’ll pay $50,000 to the debt collector. Rather, you should ask the debt collector to validate the debt in writing. As per the federal laws, the debt collectors are required to prove that the debt is legitimate within 5 days of initial contact.

When the collector will validate the debt, he’ll have to specify the debt amount and the creditor’s name. The collector also has to state in writing that you’ve the right to dispute the debt within 30 days.

If you get a call regarding the debt yet again, then ask the person to reveal his identity. Ask the person to state his name and the contact details of the collection agency. Note down the information on a paper and send the request for a validation letter in writing. If the debt is really too old, then I don’t think that the collector will be able to validate the debt. He has most likely lost the relevant documents.

The collector has less chance to collect the debt. There is a simple reason behind it. The debt is 12 years old. It has most likely crossed the Statute of Limitations period in your state. This means you’re no longer legally responsible for the debt. The collector can’t file a lawsuit against you with the help of an attorney. In such a circumstance, you don’t need to take any steps to make payments to the collector.

If the debt was within the SOL period, then I would have advised you to take advantage of the debt plans and pay off the account. However, the situation is completely different in your case. So, you can very well tell the collector that the debt has crossed the SOL period in your state and you don’t have any inclination to repay it.

Finally, if you’ve no problem, then inform the collector about the source of your income. Tell that you’re living on the Social Security pay-checks, which can’t be garnished by any means. If the collector pays no attention to your words and calls you every other day, then just don’t pick up the phone.

Jason Holmes is a regular writer with Debt Consolidation Care and is also a contributory writer with other financial sites. His expertise is woven around various aspects of the debt industry and with his e-books he tries to impart to people the different situations and simple solutions to get out of difficult situations. Some of his works include e-books like Credit Score The Quintessential Therapy for a Happy Pocket, Take Creditors and Collection Agencies to Small Claims Court and, My Story- From Depression To a Smile.

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