Collection Agency Calling on 10 year old debt past the SOL in California and Kentucky

in 2001 i lived in california and had a small credit card. i was hurt on the job and unable to pay. today 1/09/2012 i live in kentucky and a collection agency just contacted me. do they have to go by california law since thats were debt come from. or since i live in kentucky does that change the whole process?? and what can they do??

lived in california 2001 had small credit card hurt on job unable to pay 10 years later collector me in kentucky what can I do


The debt collector is trying to get you to pay what is likely a “zombie debt“. Zombie debt refers to a debt that is outside the statute of limitations (SOL) where the debt owner can access the courts and sue you in order to collect. After 10 years the account should not be appearing on your credit report as a charge off or collection account. The debt is essentially the walking dead.

There are instances where you can unknowingly reset theĀ  SOL on a debt by admitting to the debt or making a partial payment.

There are also instances where the tolling on the SOL is paused due to the move you mention you made. With the SOL of 4 years on open accounts (credit cards) in CA and 5 years KY, I find it unlikely the SOL can be established as still an active concern, and I doubt you will be sued. If you were, I would encourage you to connect with a consumer law attorney and discuss the situation at that time. In fact, I want you to be aware of a few things that may lead to you contacting an attorney with debt collection violation experience.


Debt collectors should follow up phone calls with a collection letter.

This collection letter will give you the address you need for the agency in order to send them a cease communication letter. It does not have to be a fancy or long letter. Just be sure it states that you dispute the debt and you demand that the collector cease communicating with you in any way. This means this particular collector should not be attempting to contact you again.Be sure to send the letter certified mail return receipt in order to get the green card back that proves the collection firm received it. If collection attempts by the same collection agency continue after that, you should connect with an attorney with collection violation experience and discuss how he or she may be able to assist you. Many attorneys with experience in this area of law will not charge you a retainer or request any fees from you if they represent you in this situation. They work your case on contingency where if they are to be paid it will be by the other side.


If you continue to receive calls on this debt by this, or any other collector, I would encourage you to reach out to an attorney. If you reply in the comment section below with your zip code I will find the closest attorney who practices in this area of law and post contact information for them in reply.


I encourage you to check your credit reports if you have not done so recently and be certain that this negativeĀ  account has been removed after the 7.5 years has elapsed since the date of last activity (last payment). Any collection agency reporting related to the account should no longer remain on your report either, but collection accounts do often reflect a more recent and therefore inaccurate date of last activity.


Things to consider when sending a debt collector a cease communication letter if the SOL has not expired.

Anyone reading this who is not certain that the debt is outside the SOL for legitimate collection efforts using the courts, who sends the cease communication letter in an attempt to stop collection calls and letters, will be leaving the collector no alternative to communicate unless they want to proceed with collection by suing you. There may be better methods for resolving the debt you should consider instead.


Any reader with questions or concerns regarding debt collection and the statute of limitations can post them in a comment below in order to get feedback.


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  1. I live in Jasper, TX 75951. I was contacted by a debt collector in California ( I have never lived in California) for an outstanding acount with Citibank. If I owned this card it had to be back in 2001 (only time I ever owned a credit card), I resolved all my accounts and dont believe this is my debt. They have contacted me through my employer and are prepared to take me to court and garnish my wages. I requested last recorded activity; they stated 7/2007. I know this is not legitamate, as I didn’t have a credit card then and no record of this appeared on my 2008 credit report. They want to find me to serve me papers to appear in court. I cannot afford to appear in court in California. I contacted the attorney who is trying to serve me advising I have no record of every owning this debt. My oldest copy of my credit report is 2008 and this dept does not appear. What rights do I have and how do I resolve this matter? I dont want to settle this account ($3600); even for $500, because I am affaid any activity will initiate a hit on my credit report; which is perfect. I want it to go away. If I assume responsibility, I assume the dept and the damaged credit report.

    • Michael says:

      Hi Lndsay,

      Several things jump out at me given the detail you provided:

      If the debt was yours and you last made a payment in 2001 the debt would be beyond the 7.5 years for legitimately reporting it on your credit report.
      If the debt is yours and you last made a payment in 2001 then the debt would also appear to be outside the statute of limitations for them to legitimately use the courts in their collection efforts. A collection agency or collection attorney could file a lawsuit to collect this far down the road, but your response would be that the debt is now time barred from bringing a civil claim. You should speak with an attorney to understand this more fully.
      Can you respond with another comment and outline how the collection attorney is contacting you through your employer?
      What threats of garnishment have occurred?
      What was the nature of the communication shared with your employer? Was it a letter that was sent to your job, or a phone call?
      Who is the collection attorney?
      Who is the debt collector or debt buyer they are collecting on behalf of?

      If you are worried about your credit report, settling an account that went bad on your credit report does not allow a whole new 7 years of credit reporting. The 7 years starts from the date you last made a regular payment.

      Depending on the answers you have to the questions above, I may recommend you contact an experienced attorney in Texas about your rights when it comes to collection abuse.

  2. mark dangelo says:

    hi my mom had a credit card back i think it was 2000 any way we lived in KY at the time but moved now we live in IL but my mom got a call from a collector but he side he was an attorney well now we live in Chester IL 62233 and he says my mom well have to go to court if she dose not pay it up i am just wandering if it is past the SOL in KY she was told it was 15 years when everywere i have read it is 5 years she is in grate need of help she is in bad health and can not take the stress of this problem.

    • Michael Bovee says:

      mark – When did you move to Illinois? The SOL in IL may be the one that applies. Can your mom remember when she last made a payment on the account in question? If so, when was that?

      Who is the debt collector trying to get her to pay and threatening a court action? Who was the original creditor?

      Post a comment reply to my above questions and I can provide better feedback that will likely remove the stress you mom is feeling about this.

      • mark dangelo says:

        she had the credit card in KY but they are tring to get her now and her health is not so good now and it is to hard on her i don’t know what there name is but i think the SOL is long past but i don’t know i do know if it is a credit card the SOL is 5 years because it is classed as an open contract.

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