Debt Collector Trying To Collect 7 Year Old Debt

james: my wife got a collection notice yesterday about a verizon account she had with roommates in college back in 2000
james: account was transferred when she moved out, there was remaining balance, verizon never alerted her and she just heard from collections yesterday, 7 years later
benpopken: ha
benpopken: 7 years?
benpopken: that debt cannot be collected
james: yeah literally
james: really?
james: oh she’s going to love that!
benpopken: It’s not from Verizon, right? Some collection agency?
james: yup
james: AFNI collections
benpopken: Six years is the statute of limitations on debt [ed. It is, for NY, where James is. SOL varies by state, see this chart]
benpopken: these guys buy debt from other companies for pennies on the dollar, then harass people who don’t know better
benpopken: but you may want to write a letter to the company asking for them to provide proof of the debt
james: wow
james: i had no idea
james: do you think it will affect her credit?
benpopken: it will not
benpopken: bad debt falls off the record after 7 years
james: oh right
james: ridiculous that verizon doesn’t alert customers
james: when my wife was on the phone with the collection people last night the woman told her that she hears it all the time
benpopken: yeah they will tell you anything on the phone
benpopken: anything to get you to pay up
benpopken: most debt collectors are scum

(Photo: Clearly Ambiguous)

james: i’m so glad we talked about this
benpopken: you should hear some of the recordings
james: thanks so much!
benpopken: let me know if they start harassing you guys or keep calling
benpopken: b/c they’re not allowed to do either
james: i definitely will
james: ok here’s another question
james: apparently my wife told this woman she would call back and pay later
james: which sounds like it = acknowledging the debt
benpopken: doesn’t matter
james: because the statute of limitations has passed?
benpopken: Yes
james: whew
benpopken: Look, if they call again say you know your rights under the Fair Credit Reporting Act
benpopken: and that they need to provide proof of the debt in writing
benpopken: and all further communication will be in writing
james: ok great
benpopken: Tell them they’re only allowed to contact you by phone to inform you of the debt
james: sorry for all the questions. she’s freaking out a bit
benpopken: hey can’t keep calling you to tell you to pay
benpopken: no, I understand
benpopken: I’m going to give you some links
benpopken: that is pretty much everything you need to know
benpopken: “Things Debt Collectors Can’t Do
benpopken: ““I Will Threaten Bodily Harm,” A Loan Shark’s Confession
benpopken: Credit Reports: How Long Different Items Stay
benpopken: I also have a lawyer friend who specializes in protecting debtors
benpopken: I can put you in touch if you ever need to
james: well i appreciate the offer but hopefully it won’t come to needing a lawyer
james: do these people typically give up if they’re dealing with someone who understands their rights?
benpopken: Oftentimes, yes
james: cool
benpopken: They mainly prey on people who don’t know the law
benpopken: and use fear and bullying tactics
benpopken: sometimes really bad, sometimes just being underhanded

We should note that if Jame’s wife actually does owe the money, she has an obligation to pay it. However, proof of the debt needs to be provided in writing first. — BEN POPKEN

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