no knowledge

by Melissa
(Seattle Eashington)

I transferred an AT&T account from my name to my husband's to benefit from the discounts. Two and a half years later a collection agency has contacted me for an unsettled debt. I had no prior knowledge of any debt. Is this possible that they can try and collect after no prior attempts? And after 2 + years?

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Jan 05, 2011
AT&T debt
by: Gerri

Unfortunately, there is no law that requires creditors to notify consumers that they owe money before turning the debt over to collections. The presumption is that someone who didn't pay the bill would know that they do, but that's not always the case - and yours is a perfect example. (We get a lot of complaints like yours, and similar complaints about medical bills.)

In addition, there is a statute of limitations for different types of debts but it is usually 4-6 years in most states for most consumer debts.

If it appears that the debt is legitimate then you should try to negotiate with them to pay it if they agree in writing IN ADVANCE not to report it to the credit reporting agencies. (A collection account will cause your credit scores to drop significantly.)

If you don't believe you owe the debt, though, you can dispute it and ask for verification of the debt. Then follow the advice in our ebook for trying to resolve it. You can read the first chapter of Debt Collection Answers online for free so you at least have an overview of your rights.

Good luck straightening this out.

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