Questions concerning debt collectors occassionally find their way into my inbox. This is a debt management issue that is close the hearts of many. And one question involves debt collectors and old debt. Can debt collectors continue to try to collect seven years after the fact? Well, yes. But there are some caveats. Make sure you know what they are.
The Fair Debt Collection Practices Act (FDCPA)
There is a law on the books restricting what debt collectors can and cannot do when trying to collect a debt. This law is the Fair Debt Collection Practices Act (FDCPA) and sets forth protections for a debtor that has a debt that is at least seven years old. So, while debt collectors can still try to get the money owed, they work under specific circumstances. Here they are:
- Debt collectors cannot threaten to sue in order to collect the debt if the statute of limitations has run out (this varies by state, so check into it).
- If the date of the debt delinquency (not when the debt was acquired) is more than seven years ago, it cannot be reported to credit reporting agencies.
- Debt collectors must stop collecting on the debt when you inform them, in writing, that you refuse to pay the debt.
- A “cease and desist” in writing on futher debt collection activity must be observed.