Zombie Debt Collectors Find You At Grandma's

Palisades Collection is offering Jeremy a great deal: he can pay half off his debt of $237.64 and get the account settled! Small snag, though, Jeremy never ordered the Verizon service they’re trying to collect on, the debt has passed the statute of limitations, and he got it expunged from his credit report years ago. Still, Palisades persists in sending collection notices for him to his grandma’s house. What’s a boy to do? Read on and find out.

In a series of letters, Jeremy writes:


Today, I got a letter in the mail, at my Grandma’s house, where I lived up until 6 years ago. It was a “settlement offer” from Palisades Collection.

It stated that I owed $237.64 and I could pay half of the “debt” and settle the account.

There are numerous problems here (like the fact that I don’t ever remember having this service through Verizon North, even if I did it was from at least 8 – 9 years ago), but the main one is the fact that, by going through old credit reports, I found that this was originally posted to my credit in 2006. It was actually removed from my credit report 05/08. There is no traces of it. This is the first communication that I have gotten from this “company”.

What should I do? What are my options here? I’m sorry, I’m totally credit illiterate.


I sent a Debt Validation letter to Palisades Collections. They received the letter on July 11. The 30 days are now officially passed for them to validate my debt. Also, on the date I mailed out the letter to them, I filed a complaint with the BBB, because I knew it was an invalid debt simply because it was outside the statute of limitations in Michigan. Today, I got a letter in the mail from the BBB that had the response from Palisades. Their response included, now get this, the debt validation materials they were supposed to send to me. So, the BBB got it, and I didn’t. Also, according to the “validation”, the date listed as the first date of default was December 13, 2001, which is one year outside the statue. I re-contacted the BBB with this new information, but I am unsure of where to go from here.


Just wanted to update you once again on this whole thing with Palisades Collection…..

I got another letter in the mail from the BBB with their response from Palisades Collection. It included something that I thought was interesting….

“Please also note that it is my understanding that while the expiration of the statue of limitations prohibits a creditor from enforcing the debt through litigation, it does not prohibit collection of the debt.”

What does that mean? How are they thinking they might be able to collect on something that they can’t legally collect on?


If it’s any consolation, this is not the first time we’ve heard of Verizon selling dead old accounts to debt collectors who then try to fraudulently collect on them. One time they tried to pry $142 from a fluffy white dog.

If the debt is valid and the statute of limitations have passed, they can’t sue you to collect the debt but there’s nothing to stop them from sending you letters. In other words, free kindling. If the debt is invalid and they didn’t verify the debt to you, I believe you can sue them under the Fair Debt Collection Practices Act (FDCPA) for statutory damages. I’m not a lawyer and you might want to speak to one about the particulars of your case, but I’ve also seen people successfully sue FDCPA violators in small claims court on their own. You might just want to send them a “drop-dead” letter, this post has a template for writing one.

(Photo: TrailofTerror, Getty)