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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About Michael Bovee

Michael started CRN in 2004 with a mission to provide detailed debt and credit help and advice that encourages and allows people struggling with debt to solve their debt problems just like a pro - but without the high fees.

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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.

  3. john jones says:

    I bought a truck in December 2000 the truck was a complete lemon and put three transmission in within 4 months, i quit paying on the truck in june 2001 and let them come get it. I went to prison in Jan 2003 and got out in oct 2010, been doing great got a good job and got approved for a home loan in april 2014, when out of the blue i received a letter from a collection company saying i owe 9 k on that old repo, it is past the sol which was 6 years, the collection company did provide proof of the debt. Should i send the collection agency cease communication letter?

    • Michael Bovee says:

      John – I do encourage people use a cease communication letter to stop collection calls and letters from coming in on old debts that are passed the SOL for legitimately collecting in the courts. This one should be too old to be showing on your credit report too.

      Send any communication like this using certified mail return receipt requested. If you hear from the debt collector again, after you know they got your letter, post an update and lets go from there.

      • john jones says:

        thank you very much for answering my question. Would tolling i think its called be used in this situation due to the fact that i was in prison for 8 years

        • Michael Bovee says:

          I doubt it, but talk to an attorney in your state with a practice that focuses on debt collection defense to be sure.

          • john jones says:

            Ok will do. One more quick question if i send them a cease letter and they decided to take me to court do they have to come to my state? The state i bought the truck was in tennessee the collections company is out of ohio and i live in montana. Do they have to come to Montana to go to court?

  4. Hello,

    Thank you for this information. I received a debt collections notice for a phone bill dating back to 2003/4 (unsure) it is now 2014. Should I simply write them the basic cease and dissit letter? Any advice would be appreciated!

    Additionally, this is not showing on my credit report.

    Thank you in advance.

    • Michael Bovee says:

      Carol – What is the name of the collection agency that sent you the notice? What state do you live in?

  5. Stephanie says:

    I recently received a call from a debt collector that stated I owed over $4K on a BofA credit card opened in 1999. He stated that my last payment was made 07/2007. I told him I was certain that I paid this off through Bank of America. He responded with there’s no way I could have done that, that I would’ve had to pay the agency. I told him I would look into it and get back to him. I also told him I check my credit report frequently and I know this is not on my report. He said even though he can sue me he can call me everyday for the next 30 years and proceeded to tell me that some people are just irresponsible in the college years and ignore things they have messed up in the life into their adult years. I was very offended because I had been polite to him the whole time, but I wasnt surprised. Now the agency has called me literally everyday since then, sometimes more than once. Would I be able to send him a cease communication letter in this instance. Please advise.

  6. Hi. Just wondering if you would know if the SOL continues to hold true if the original debt, before being sent to the collection agency, was a debt to the Superior Court of California for traffic violations and failing to make payments / therefore going to collections? It’s been 7 to 10 years, I’ve gone to court ( & jail ) many times, and none of the Superior Court judges were able to allow me to make payments, etc., as the fine was already in collection. I think that I stood before 5 or 6 judges, who tried everything that they could to give me some kind of break. I haven’t been able to drive to work or make any money, due to the DMV hold, so I’m unable to pay $3,000.00+ in full. I haven’t gotten any letters or calls from them for quite some time, though the collection calls continued to come from the court, even after being sent to GC. I may be wrong. I’ve never been arrested on any warrants for this. I think that they told me that it would be taken out of any tax returns. Anyway,…I wanted to ask your advice on this because those types of debts don’t show up on credit reports. I was going to look it up on the DMV website as I wrote this to you, but I know what DMV’s answer will be already,…” If you want a print-out,…$15.00 “–probably $30.00 by now. My friend actually told me to go to “Homeless Court”.,…10 years ago I was “House-less”, so…that’s why I couldn’t even send in $1.00 to keep it from going to collections I realize my question seems so obvious. I just had to ask. Thank you for your time and expertise.

    • Michael Bovee says:

      I am not positive of the answer regarding the SOL for court fines in California. I sent some questions out to professionals in California who would likely have the answer, and will post what I learn as soon as it comes in. Sorry for the delay.

  7. Mark R. says:

    I was contacted a few days ago of a credit card debt of at least 15 years ago, they said they were with a lawyers office and threatened me with all kinds of legal action. I’m not sure if it was paid or not but I was unemployed for 15 months around that time. I know its outside the SOL but i made the stupid mistake of agreeing on a settlement of $300 due to their high pressure scare tactics. What should my next step be?

    • Michael Bovee says:

      How was the payment remitted, and when was it set to process, if not already?

      Have you contacted your bank about what you can do once you realize you have been victimized by a scam?

  8. I was first asked if I had a reloadable debit card which I don’t, but gave them credit card # which I called bank and had that card canceled and they are issueing me another card #, it was suppose to thru on this coming Fri.

    • Michael Bovee says:

      You are out of the woods it sounds like. And will probably hang up on the next debt collection turkey that tries to lay on anything like that again.

      What was the name of the debt collection company, law office, or attorney? It would be good to post that here so that others can be warned about the same thing.

      • Mark R. says:

        After much research, I’ve found a settlement paid release letter on this debt which was paid in April 2007. The debt collection company is Steinberg & Assoc. 4533 MacArthur Blvd. Ste. 278 Newport Beach, CA. tel. 855-871-9879. What action should I take other than calling them and say this was paid? Something need to be done to scammers like these.

        • Michael Bovee says:

          I would first suggest you talk about all of what has transpired with an experience debt collection violation attorney in your state. The consult would be free, and if they see clear cut violations of state and/or federal collection laws, the attorney may go after the debt collector at no charge to you as well. What is the name of a nearby larger city? I will email you contact information to attorneys with the experience you want, and you can talk it over.

  9. I live in calfornia I received the credit card debt in the mail today which was from 10 years ago if I call the collection agency to dispute the The credit card debt will I be responsible if I contact them even though I’m past the statue limitations to denies the debt Will they be over to reactivate the statue limitations just buy the contact

  10. At the age of 17, I obtained a private student loan from sallie Mae with the help of a cosigner who is now deceased. That was in Texas in 2006. The loan didn’t have to be paid off until I quit attending school. I took 07-08 off and had to begin payments in fall of 07. The last payment I made was in late 07 or very early 08 like jan or February. I went back to school in fall of 08 and contacted sallie Mae to let them know in late 2008. The lady I spoke with was very rude and said that if a payment was not made that the loan would default the next day. When I tried to ask further questions she became more rude and I hung up. Haven’t talked to them or their debt collector about the debt since that time. The only adress I had outside of Texas was one in Kentucky for 3 months during this time. That was in 2012. After that short time I moved to arkansas in late 2012. Haven’t got a phone call for about a year (which I haven’t answered) until they called an extended family member in Kentucky the other day. How that number was at all associated with me is beyond me. It was an automated message telling that person to have me call a certain number. I wish I was in a position to just settle or begin large payments but I have a low paying job and three dependents. What state SOL would apply? What is best to do since the SOL is so close or would have passed? Not sure when the loan actually defaulted. Please give any advice you can.

    • Michael Bovee says:

      I would talk about which SOL applies, and if that has expired, with an experienced debt collections defense attorney. Post the name of a nearby city and I will email you contact info for ones I know nearest you. My sense is that you are passed being sued, but that does not mean the debt goes away, and it is growing.

      How much is the loan balance?

      • Little Rock
        The original loan was $12000. Not sure what it is now. Fixing to try and wade into it all, just wanting to be prepared before I contact them so I don’t get side swiped.

        • Michael Bovee says:

          You are way ahead of some folks who are more like – fire, ready, aim.

          I sent you an email with contact details to an experienced consumer law attorney you can talk with about your next step.

  11. Hi,

    I was contacted the other day by a collection agency stating that they were representing cashnet and that cashnet was going to report me to telecheck and file charges against me for not paying. I had a checking account that was attached to a merchant account for a small business many years ago. This was the account they stated it was for. I agreed to pay the money as I thought it was legitimate. I used my CC to pay a small fee and agreed to pay the balance later. The lady on the phone stated this was from March of 2007. This was all happening while I was in the process of moving. The next day when I was settled I contacted Cashnet and found out that this was a payday advance type of company and that the company I was speaking to and agreed to pay was not representing them. I contact my CC company and told them about this and they said nothing had been charged to my card from the company. They put me in contact with the fraud department and issued me a new CC. I am now trying to research if someone used a check on this account or did something fraudulent with it seven years ago. I have not contacted the company I spoke to on the phone yet. They sent me an email stating the payment plan but everything about their company is murky and does not seem to be on the up and up. Any advice?

  12. I have a debt with Capital One with the last payment being 11/24/2009. I live in TX where the SOL is 4 years. Account Discovery Systems out of NY contacted me and said that the last payment was 11/24/2011. I have the credit reports with proof that the last payment was indeed in 2009. They have threatened to sue us in civil court. What should I do? My zip code is 76310 Archer Co. TX.

    • Michael Bovee says:

      Your next step would depend on what your goals are. Most folks who are certain about their state SOL for a legitimate lawsuit passing, would then look at what financing needs they have until the old Capital One account drops from the credit report entirely (keeping any eye that Account Discovery Systems, or any other collection related to this account, drops at the same time).

      You could send them a cease communication notice (use certified mail return receipt).
      You could contact an experienced debt collection rights attorney and talk to him/her about filing a FDCPA violation action against the collector. If the attorneys opinion that the threat to sue was something Account Discovery Systems knew they would not follow through with, it is a phone call worth making, as lawyers with a practice focusing in this area will often not charge you anything to take up the case.

      I can email you contact information to some attorneys in your area if you like?

      • I just want ADS to realize this debt is past the SOL and to leave us alone. My husband and I are both 65 and live off of SS. Please send some names of attorneys for Archer Co., TX

        • Michael Bovee says:

          I sent you a half dozen attorneys to choose from. None of them are all that close to you, but distance does not have to be an issue in these situations.

  13. Hi my name is Candice and I was contacted today saying I was going to get a summons to court . I had no idea what about so they gave me a nimber to call to find out. So I call and this legal agency says I have a $1000 over draft fee with us bank. Now we are talking over 9 yrs ago. They said they been trying to get a hold of me. This is the first time I received any notice on this. I only over drafted $200. And then closed my account. I disputed with blockbuster who did this to my account and they quit charging me. I was told by us they would take off the charges but didn’t. So I closed account and they sold debt to someone. Its been 9 yrs and im receiving threats of taking me to court. They r trying to sue for over $1000 on a 200 debt. Can they do that and what can I do. They say I have 24 hours to tell them if im going to pay half of it or im going to court. I dont knkw what company and have never received a letter .

    • Michael Bovee says:

      Candice – If you do not know the company name or phone numbers, wait for them to call back and if you are up to it, try to play along and get as much info as you can without giving them any personal info of your own. Post the names you can gather, and phone numbers, as an update comment here. You could also just tell them to pound sand if you hear from them again.

      Legitimate debt collectors would never tell you to pay half or you are going to court. Scam debt collection outfits do that, and I suspect that is what you are dealing with. I would like to get as much info about them and expose that if the shoe fits.

      Does anything about this debt still show on your credit reports? If so, what is on there now?

  14. J eannie Turner says:

    I live in Ky and have many health problems had to retire and live on disability now. I received a call yesterday from a collection agency on a Capital one bill dating back to 1999 there was a discrepsence at that time. I thought this would have been off my credit years ago ? What options do I have my health is poor and they are very pushy and rude I just don’t need the stress. The agency was Convergent.Thank You

    • Michael Bovee says:

      Convergent buys up really old debts on the cheap and tries to get you to pay. A debt from 1999 is too old to be on your credit reports, and you can no longer be sued legitimately. You can send a cease communication letter to Convergent where you clearly identify yourself and tell them to stop all calls to your numbers, and send no notices to your addresses. Pretty much a “dear John” letter for collectors.

      Have you looked at your credit reports to see if they are reporting anything, or if any other collection agency is?

  15. Christin Hovis says:


    I have some old debt that is past the SOL for my state but I received a letter today from a company that says they purchased it. They now want the “outstanding balance” and want to work with me to pay it off. They even acknowledged in the letter that they cannot sue me but they will continue to report the information about my account to the credit reporting agencies. Do I just need to send them a cease and desist letter? Someone tried to sue me for this account last year before the SOL ran out but they gave up their fight and I didn’t have to pay anything. I just wondered if a cease and desist was enough or if I needed to ask for verification of the debt. The agency I received the letter from is Calvalry Portfolio Services. Thank you!

    • Michael Bovee says:

      A cease and desist letter is typically all that is needed in a situation like yours. Be sure to send that certified mail return receipt.

      If they can no longer legitimately sue, they are left with credit reporting as their only leverage. Do you have any credit or finance goals in the time left before this collection agency drops from your credit reports?

      • Christin Hovis says:

        What do you mean by credit or finance goals?

        • Michael Bovee says:

          Do you plan on applying for a home loan, auto loan, anytime between now and the collection falling off your credit reports?

          • Christin Hovis says:

            No, I have no plans for that in the immediate future. I’m just trying to bide my time right now until they fall off.

            • Michael Bovee says:

              Okay. My concerns for whether you were going to be applying for new credit before this collection falls off your credit reports would not apply. Your cease communication letter would prevent any additional calls and collection notices.

              If anything should occur after you get the green return receipt card back, post an update and lets go from there.

  16. I have an old charged off account by XYZ Bank. The account was sent to collections. The date of last activity for this account was roughly April 2006, making the SOL 2007 at the latest. In the last 7 months I have received 3 collection letters from the collection agency. I’m ready to take them to court because I feel I’m being harassed for a debt that is far passed the Statute of Limitations and they are violating my FDCPA rights with their continued collection attempts. For the record, they are not reporting this on my credit report. At this point I’m only receiving letters. What are your thoughts on the situation?

    • Michael Bovee says:

      Debt collectors get to call and send collection notices through the mail even though your states SOL to sue may have expired. You generally have to request all communication to cease in order for those letters they are sending to reach the level of collection harassment, or where you would have great success bringing an FDCPA violations claim.

      Have you sent this particular debt collector a cease communications letter? If not, and you choose to, be sure to send your letter certified mail return receipt, and keep a copy of your letter and the return green card you get back in a safe place. If collection calls or letters occur thereafter, post an update about them.

      Zombie debt does not go away. But you can block the zombie debt collectors from your life.

  17. I live in orange county of California. 90621. I have a debt over the period of 7 1/2 years for a car reposession. The original collector sent this account to another collector. They evaluated me for a hardship settlement but I do not want to take advantage of the offer because of the taxes I will have to pay for the debt. Can I get the new collector to stop reporting on my credit report because of my original date of delinquency???

    • Michael Bovee says:

      Who was the original creditor, and do they appear on your credit report still? If so, what date do they show you first stopped payments?

      Who is the debt collector now? What is it they show on your credit reports?

  18. I live in Kentucky i am getting unclear answer of what the statue of limitations are here. Recently was informed local constable was trying to serve me with papers from midland funding for credit card debt in amount of about $1,000. Its has been 6 years since last payment September of this year 2014. Should i pursue a resolution on the debt or let it ride?

    • Michael Bovee says:

      Midland Funding likely has data about your account that suggests to them that the SOL has not expired.

      Who was the original creditor that sold the debt off? Who is the attorney for Midland?

      How comfortable will you be doing the research needed to file your own answer to a summons with the court (raising the expired SOL issue)?

  19. Hi,
    I just got a “letter” from Dynamic Recovery with a Bealls debt of almost $700. I had this credit card around 1993 or 1994. I was unemployed and stupidly stopped paying anything on the debt around 1994. I lived in Texas at the time but moved to ND in 2001.
    The letter gives me an option of settelling the debt for around $250 by a certain date. Or pay in payments.
    Do I just need to send a cease communication certified back to them?
    Thank you!

    • Michael Bovee says:

      If I were dealing with a zombie debt (cannot be sued, and no longer can appear on my credit reports), I would do just that. Be sure to send with a return receipt request too. And keep a copy of the cease communication letter, and green card you get back, in a safe place.

  20. I live in California and SOL is four years. I have credit card debt that was last paid on 9/26/2010. I got a letter from a debt collection agency that stated that the debt was old. I sent a cease communication letter. I just got a call from Convergent Outsourcing. What is your advice.

    • Michael Bovee says:

      If it were me, I would wait for Convergent to send a follow up written communication, as is required.If they do, I would then send Convergent a cease communication letter to them certified mail return receipt requested (keeping a copy for my records). If Convergent Outsourcing does not send the required written notice, I would probably talk all of that over with an experienced FDCPA attorney in California. I can help you connect with one who offers no cost initial consults, and takes debt collection violation cases on at no charge to you.

      Debt passed the SOL to sue does not disappear, so be ready to send a few cease communication letters.

  21. Thank you. Convergent called my number but didn’t leave a message. So, l am waiting for written communication to send out my certified letter. I will let you know if I need further assistance with the FDCPA.

  22. I just received a collection notice from a company named TOTAL CARD INC. out of Soiux Falls,SD it states that they represent PINNACLE CREDIT SERVICES, LLC and they puchased a circuit city credit card debt from 2004. I was in a bad motorcyle accident an lost everything. I acquired the debt and have always lived in California and since re built my life and am doing well with great credit and a good job. They say I owe $772 but will settle for $145 if I pay now. It also says right in the bottom of the notice :
    Because of the age of the debt, pinnacle LLC will not sue you for it and will not report it to any credit reporting agency.

    So what do I do? I appreciate any info and help.

    • Michael Bovee says:

      You could pay the debt (settle for less with Total Card Inc) if you feel an obligation to do so. You could also ignore this collection attempt on really old debt, or even send them a written request to cease call communication with you, as you are well passed the SOL in California to be legitimately sued for the debt.

      What are you inclined to do?

  23. Hello,
    I just received a letter from First Step Group LLC saying that they purchase my debt from CACH, LLC. The original creditor was Bank of America, and the amount owed at the time I stopped paying was around 3000, now they are asking for over 11,000! This debt is more than 7 years old and the statute of limitations has expired. The letter says “the law limits how Long can you be sued on a debt. Because of the age of your debt, CACH will not sue you for it, and CACH will not report it to any credit reporting agency. But on the reverse says that “unless you within 30 days after receipt of this notice, dispute the validity of this debt, the debt will be assumed to be valid by us. If you notify us in writing that this debt is disputed, we will obtain verification of the debt or a copy of the judgement against you and such verification will be mailed to you by
    Due to an illness, I’m unable to pay this, and I want to know what would happen if I don’t respond to this letter? Would that restart the clock on the debt?
    Any help is very much appreciated, thanks.

    • Michael Bovee says:

      Yours is a BofA zombie debt now owned by Cach LLC. Cach can do nothing to collect from you, other than what amounts to begging you to pay. If it were me in your shoes, I would tell them to keep begging for payment they have inflated by nearly 300 percent, but silently.

      What I mean to say is, you cannot be sued; the debt cannot show up on your credit report; there is nothing for Cach to do to coerce you to pay. If you write back and demand they cease communicating with you, they must. If they do make continued collection efforts after you send your written letter demanding they stop (send certified mail return receipt requested), post an update and I can help you take them to task for violating your rights.

      Not responding to the collection notice on this really old debt will not result in a restarted clock to sue in court, or to report on your credit. Not responding just means you might hear from them, or some other debt collector, in the future.

  24. Thank you so much for taking the time to answer me in these busy christmas days, you have given me peace of mind, than you again.

  25. Hello. I am living in PA and have been here on & off for most of my life. Most currently I have lived here for the past 8 years. Many years ago (from 1998-2001) I had a bit of credit trouble: Delinquent credit cards & auto repo. Everything has been either paid off or has dropped off my credit after enduring the 7.5 year hit. My credit is thankfully very good at this point and I work hard at keeping it so and being responsible.
    I received a call today from a collection agency (Portfolio Recovery) about a Capital One credit card that has been closed by grantor/ inactive/off my report for many years, but seemingly still has a balance of over $1000. This has to be finance charges on top of the (roughly $400) balance from circa 1999 because I know it never had that high of a limit. I also know that I never settled this account; I endured the hit on my credit for over 7 years and it eventually fell away. My credit has been clear for at least 8 years.
    What to do about this agency calling me? Do I have to do anything, pay anything or even talk with them? I politely refused to engage with them on the phone today and was able to obtain the website and a password to go in and look at the account from the representitive. I haven’t looked yet because I don’t want to do anything that would claim this debt after so long. I certainly don’t want to harm my credit, but I feel like 16 years later is a stretch to keep coming after me. What should I do?

    • Michael Bovee says:

      Portfolio Recovery should have long ago given up on collecting this old of an account.

      No, you do not have to do anything at this point if you choose not to. But if it were me, and I was dealing with a debt collector on an account so old, I would send them a cease communication request in writing via certified mail return receipt. PRA should honor it by not making any additional collection calls to you. If Portfolio Recovery Group does call after you know they got your notice (hence the certified return receipt), post an update about it and lets go from there.

  26. Hi Michael! Wow, this thread is long-standing, and incredibly helpful and relevant. I have a VERY old debt from a credit card from 2000- it’s been passed through the hands of several collectors, but still shows on my credit report as “last deliquency 2013″ which is utter hogwash. I DID call them to tell them my latest address and phone number (they’ve been phone-stalking my step-mother for 15 years): would that reset the clock? If I send them the cease communication request, are they forced to drop my account and take the info off my credit report? Thanks in advance for your advice. You’ve been incredibly helpful.

    • Michael Bovee says:

      The cease communication letter you send certified mail return receipt generally has no impact on credit reporting. It is designed to protect you from any additional contact from the collection agency. Phone calls and collection notices should stop, but credit reporting on this old account may persist.

      You can dispute the entry on the credit reports with the credit bureaus as too old to appear. If that does not take care of it, post an update and lets go from there.

      What is the name of the debt collector calling and showing up on your credit reports?

      • Looks like the same as the previous woman- Portfolio Recovery.

        What can I do about a collector illegally reporting ancient debt? I am so incredibly frustrated. I want to buy a house in the next few years.

        • Michael Bovee says:

          I would skip filing a dispute with the credit bureaus as a first step, and file a credit reporting complaint with the CFPB. That should get this off of your reports.

          I would still send Portfolio Recovery a cease communication letter certified mail return receipt. If you, or anyone you know, gets calls after you know they got your letter, post an update and lets go from there.

  27. Hi, I’ve just been made aware of a $80 Sprint phone bill I failed to pay in California back in 2001. R&J acquired the debt somehow and is now calling me. The person I spoke to said the debt was charged off in 2009, and if I don’t pay it they will start litigation for $614. Let me add that I never made a single payment, or responded to any previous correspondence in regards to this debt. I’m a correct in thinking that I can ignore this collection attempt?

    Thanks in advance, Mikey

    • Michael Bovee says:

      Based on what you shared, you could ignore it if you like.

      You could be proactive too. Sending a cease communication letter (use certified mail return receipt requested through USPS). If that collector contacts you after that, post an update and lets go from there.

      You could also contact an experienced FDCPA attorney to pursue collection violations for being threatened with a lawsuit where one is not likely to be file. Many consumer law attorneys that focus in this area of law take these kinds of files at no cost to you. I can send you contact details to some that offer no cost consults if you like? Are you in California still?

  28. I canceled a cell phone contract in NC (where I still live) in 2007 (or maybe late 2006). I did not pay the final bill with the cancellation fee. This item is not on my credit report at all.

    I recently received a collection notice on this bill and want to avoid it showing up on my report as I have just gotten all the negative items off/aged out and want to keep my good score.

    Should I ignore the notice, ask them to cease communication, or what? The amount is not significant, but not cheap ($250) and just don’t want it to show up on my credit report. Any help is appreciated.


    • Michael Bovee says:

      If it were me, I would send a cease communication letter (certified mail return receipt). I prefer being proactive. Ignoring the collection notices is not a big deal, at least for most, unless or until collection calls start in. Many will find those inconvenient, and then decide to send a letter to the collection agency.

  29. Hi,

    I have a debt that I have been paying a collection company for years on and have barely made a dent. The monthly bill now states something like this – due to the age of this debt, we will not sue you or report this to the credit bureaus . It is $19k. I don’t even know who the original creditor was – they list another collection company they obtained it from. All the old debt is off my credit report and I lost all old documentation in a flood over a year ago. I live in GA and probably first went delinquent on the CC in 2004-2005. Just wondering what I should do? Continue paying the $60 a month I have paid over the last few years? Don’t pay, etc?

    • Michael Bovee says:

      I can offer better feedback with some additional details from you. Who is collecting now? Who was the debt collector they obtained the account from? When did you start paying the 60 dollars a month?

      • Last online bank statement I have was March of 2014 – I think I have been paying it since 2013 though. I am paying to MCM and Maryland Nat’l Bank is listed as the prior – maybe not a collection agency like i thought.

        • Michael Bovee says:

          What was the beginning balance and what is owed as of today?

          Is your goal to resolve the debt? If you stop paying, it is highly likely you could negotiate a lower lump sum pay off with Midland Credit. Can you pull together a good cash offer quickly, or will it take you some time?

          • I believe the balance of that card was $8500-$9000; maybe $10k at the most? My goal is to resolve it. We are in the process of selling our home which will net us some money. This is the last debt we have. That will be my only hope of getting together enough cash to settle it. I am unsure of how low to start on that offer as well? I would hope that only paying $50 to $65 over the last 2 years will show I am cash poor!

  30. My wife just received bill from firm that’s she owe debt more then 10 years ago. It’s not showing on her credit report. My question please can they sue my wife for this debt after all this years. Also can this debt will show on her credit report again. I didn’t contact this firm or call them to tell them under FL state limited they shouldn’t send us anything about this debt. But should i call or send them a letter or just ignore them. Thanks

    • Michael Bovee says:

      You could send them a cease communication letter certified mail return receipt, or ignore it all together. But first, who is the debt collection agency calling?

      • asset recovery solutions.
        So this debt can’t go back on the credit reports due to time over 10 years

        • Michael Bovee says:

          Neither the creditor, nor Asset Recovery Solutions, should appear on her credit reports for a debt this old. And she should not be sued for collection for something this old either. If they were to sue, which I highly doubt will happen, the process for dealing with that would be fairly simple.

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