Do I have to pay old credit card debt?

by Sandra
(Shelton, Ct.)

I recently got my credit report and was told by a mortgage company that there was 9,000 in cc debt. Looking at my report it says that my BOA account was charged off. $10,771 written off, and $1482 past due as of Nov. 2011. My last payment was on Aug. 2007. Also my Capital One acct. also says charged off. $4027 written off. $7044 past due as of Nov. 2011. I called BOA and they told me the acct was sold to Creditor's interchange.

My question is how much do I actually owe? And should I even bother because I have never been contacted by anyone in at least 3 years, I have moved since and phone number is under my husband's name. My statute of limitations will be up in Aug. 2013.

Reply from

With charged off credit card debt it can be hard sometimes to tell how much you owe. There may be interest or late fees added to the balance since it was charged off and those could make the debt more expensive. That's not to say collection agencies don't inflate old debts - sometimes they do and it can be very hard to get an accurate accounting of how much you really should owe since it's not like a credit card bill where you get a statement each month.

Nevertheless, collection accounts can often be settled for less than the full balance. You may want to read our page on how to settle collection accounts settling collection accounts.

As far as whether you should pay it; that's your judgment call. You can wait to see whether they contact you before the statute of limitations expire, but understand that some collectors will sue before that happens so that they can still try to collect.

Also you don't want to hide from them because you want to make sure that if you are sued you are notified of the lawsuit. So make sure that at least your credit reports have your current address so they can notify you of the lawsuit. If that happens, you can decide then what to do.

On the other hand, if the debt is legitimate and you do owe it you may want to try to settle it. Just keep in mind that starting to pay on it will often start the statute of limitations all over again.

You mentioned the mortgage company telling you about the debt. That makes it sound like you are trying to get a mortgage. If so, then the mortgage lender may require you to pay or settle these accounts before you can get a mortgage. That's just another thing to keep in mind as you weigh your options here.

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