Collector Trying to Collect on a Very Old Debt

by Kathleen
(Portland, Oregon)

I just received a collection letter on a bank account from 1996. I live in Oregon and this is for old overdrafts created when my ex took my debit card on a gambling spree. I called the debt collector and said the statute of limitations for Oregon had run out and the woman said because it had been sold, the statue starts over. That hardly seems correct and if its true could go on for my life time. Please help!

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Jan 22, 2011
Collector Trying to Collect on a Very Old Debt
by: Debt Collection Answers

The debt collector is wrong. Selling an old debt does not revive the statute of limitations on the debt once it has expired. However, you could make the statute of limitations on the debt begin again if you agreed that you owed it or if you offered to begin paying on the debt.

You should also know that even though the statute of limitations has expired, the debt collector is legally entitled to contact you about the debt in an effort to get you to pay it, although the collector can no longer sue you for the debt. However, that would change if you revived the statute of limitations on the debt by taking one of the actions I described in the previous paragraph.

If I were you, I would write the collector a letter stating that you do not want to be contacted again about the debt. The federal Fair Debt Collection Practices Act (FDCPA) gives you the right to make this request and requires that the collector not contact you again after it's received your request other than to confirm receipt of the letter or to inform you of some other action it is going to take. If the collector does continues contacting you, then it's violated the law and you should contact a consumer law attorney in your area who helps resolve debt collection issues. Find out how to get FREE or low cost legal advice about debt collection from a consumer law attorney here. Read our advice on using a cease and desist letter to stop a debt collector.

Make a copy of your letter for your files and send the letter to the collector via certified mail with a return receipt requested. When you receive the receipt, file it as well. You will need this information if you end up having to take legal action against the collector.

You may also want to consult with a consumer law attorney about the fact that the collector told you that the statute of limitations on your old debt had begun running again. The FDCPA prohibits collectors from misrepresenting the status of a debt and that is what the collector has done. Therefore, the collector has violated federal law. Again, if you want to determine whether or not you have a case against the debt collector, you can schedule an initial consultation with a consumer law attorney in your area.

Please let us know how things work out for you. Your experience may be helpful to other consumers with your same problem.

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