Consumers who deal daily with overwhelming debt from multiple credit cards, mortgages and car loans tend to focus on the sum total of their financial obligations. Looking at the finer details of the delinquent balances on each account becomes overwhelming.
Not all debts are made the same. Some have higher balances than others do. Some are more recent. Others are years old.
Perhaps too old, which begs the question.
Do debts age themselves out?
While statutes of limitations exist for debts, many collectors lack regard for rules and regulations governing their industry. Instead, they flout the law and focus on aggressive and oftentimes harassing practices.
Debts beyond statute go into the secondary market for both sale and continuous resale for pennies on the dollar. The growing practice of lenders selling off debts in secondary markets remove them from their books keeps old debts alive.
When faced with a debt collector’s out-of-the-blue call, debtors should
- Get the facts from the collector without admitting to the debt or agreeing to pay it as even a partial payment would reset the statute of limitations
- Determine if the debt is beyond the statute, a timeline that starts with the date the account went into default
- Based on those findings, choose to ignore, dispute or pay off the past-due amount
If a collector bought a legitimate debt, they do have the right to make contact with the responsible party. However, far too often that contact crosses a line into harassment, lies and threats of lawsuits. Simply put, they engage in what seems to be nothing more than legal shakedowns.
Regardless of a debt’s age, violating the Fair Debt Collection Practices Act seems to be par for the course for the collection industry’s “bottom-dwellers.”