Collection of Old Debt

by Jennifer
(Sawyer, Michigan, US)

I live in Michigan, and received a notice in the mail that I owe over $5,000 to Capital One and that a debt collector would like to work out a settlement. I called the debt collector because I don't have this anywhere on my credit report. They advised that the last payment on this account was October of 2000. I asked them if the statute of limitations had expired on this debt and they told me no.

I was under the impression that as long as it's been over 7 years since any action is on the account, they can not pursue any further action.
Can I still be contacted about this account?

Should I write a letter to them advising them that I dispute this account, and ask them to no longer contact me? I went through a very ugly divorce, and am finally getting my credit score back up, and I really don't want this to affect that.

Thank you,

Jen

Reply from DebtCollectionAnswers.com:

Jen,

Never take legal advice from a debt collector who is trying to get you to pay! ;-)

The debt collector may have made a false statement in telling you that the statute of limitations has expired. If so, that's illegal for them to tell you that.

We are not attorneys but according to our sources, the statute of limitations for most consumer debts in Michigan is six years. If that's the case, this debt may be outside the statute of limitations and you can indeed send the collector a cease contact letter instructing it to leave you alone. (Again, this is not legal advice.)

As for your credit reports, the Fair Credit Reporting Act governs how long these accounts may be reported. The FCRA says collection accounts may be reported for 7 years and 180 days from the date you first fell behind with the original creditor, regardless of whether it is paid or not.

We recommend you check your credit reports to make sure it's not on there. (Annualcreditreport.com is the federally mandated free credit report website.) If it is, then the collector may be breaking the law by reporting it longer than it should be reported. Since you are trying to get your credit back on track, you may want to read our information about how to dispute credit report errors.

If you continue to have problems with this account, we recommend you talk with a consumer law attorney.

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