What is the right way to deal with a mysterious debt?


A bank refused to open a checking account for my husband due to an unpaid old debt. My husband was not aware of this debt. He came to be aware of this debt only when he was trying to open a checking account. We checked his credit report. This particular debt was not listed on the credit report.

A debt collector contacted my husband about the debt. My husband has repeatedly asked them to validate the debt in writing. Till now, we haven’t received anything from the debt collector. We don’t know the details of the debt.

The debt is from 2007. This is what the debt collector told us. However, neither the bank nor the debt collector is able to give more information. We are trapped. We’ll be moving to another state very soon. We want to take out a mortgage to purchase a home there. This mysterious debt may create a problem there also. Please advice what we should do. Thank you.


Many a times, people leave debts unpaid for several reasons. Sometimes, they find it hard to negotiate with the creditors. Other times, they feel that the debt amount is too large and avoid paying it off. There are some people who think that debt will go eventually. So, the best policy is to ignore it. However, only a handful of people realize the fact that debt does not go way. The debt amount only escalates with time.

The debt collection agency is creating a problem for your husband. There is no doubt about it. However, the collection agency needs to prove that the debt is legitimate. They must specify the name of the original creditor and the total outstanding amount to your husband. If the collection agency is not able to come up with a proper validation of debt, then they will have to halt the collection proceedings. The collection agency can collect the debt only when i) they can show the creditor’s name ii) they have secured judgment against you.

Your husband has the right to know about the debt amount and the creditor’s name before enrolling into a credit card debt relief program for paying the collection agency. If the debt is not validated, then he has the power to sue the collection agency.

Get in touch with the bank again. Ask the banker to reveal the name and address of the original creditor or the company which reported the debt information to him. Keep it in mind that you have the full right to see the report on the basis of which the banker has refused to create a new checking account for your husband.

Ask your husband to check all the 3 credit reports. If all the 3 credit reports don’t show the listing, then your husband can view the reports of the special checking bureaus. If the debt is appearing on the other 2 credit reports (barring the one you have already checked), then your husband can enroll into a credit card debt relief program and pay off the debt.

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