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Discussion in 'Credit Talk' started by Jenoration, Aug 10, 2003.
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Take a deep breath and spit it out:
How many credit card accounts, when did you first get behind on each one (and never catch up again), and what state are you in? What state were you in when you got the cards?
Also, get copies of your credit reports and see what is on there, so you can know who you're dealing with.
SOL refers to the statute of limitations. Depending upon where you live, where the creditor "lives", where the contract was signed/agreed to, what type of contract/debt it was (verbal, written, credit card, mortgage, dentist office), etc., the owner of the debt has a specific period of time during which they can file suit against you in order to obtain a judgment against you for the debt. After they obtain the judgment, there are certain things that they can and can not do (wage garnishment, asset seizure, account seizure, lien against your property, etc.) to attempt to collect this debt.
However, if they fail to obtain a judgment (e.g., they just don't bother) and the SOL runs out for that type of debt and it's location, then you do NOT owe this debt AT ALL, and nobody can (legally) collect the debt from you.
Problem is, most people don't realize this, and they end up paying some unscrupulous collection agency or old creditor for a debt that they are NO LONGER legally responsible to pay!
The SOL, however, should not be confused with the reporting of the debt to the credit bureaus. In most cases, the debt can only be reported for ~7.5 years from the original delinquency date, regardless of whether you ever paid it off, settled it or just hid for long enough for the SOL to run out. The ODD is the date on which the debt last became delinquent and NEVER AGAIN became current. (I say LAST became current because, if you were delinquent for 4 years and then made arrangements to pay, made payments, then quit paying AGAIN, the original delinquency date would be the LAST date, and the ~7.5 year clock starts again.
This is all "general" info. If you reply to Breeze's request for add'l information, we can offer more specific advice.
Thanks to Breeze and JShimmer for the helpful advice...In total, I acquired 3 credit cards and 4 store credit cards. The total credit issued to me on the 3 cr.crds. alone was originally $4,500 and is now over $8,000 due to finance & late charges. I got all of them when I was 21 in 1998 and paid the min. balance (sometimes more) on them for about 1 year. I never intended to get a cc but the temptation was there since tons of cc co. booths were set up at my college campus handing out free t.shirts and stuff if you apply. I was a full-time student with no job, which I truthfully stated on my application and had no income other than financial aid and my parents' money (not much). I was naive to believe that I could pay the min. balances on all 3 cards forever when my own income was so unreliable. This is why I fell so far behind in my payments. After paying my rent, bills, tuition, books etc... I had nothing left for them. It was like this for several years. When I left college in 2000, I went to school for massage therapy. This is what I do currently and I am still struggling financially to catch up. The problem is that I have literally run out of time with these cc co.'s and I still don't have the money to pay them now. What should my next step be?
What state do you live in now, what state did you live in when you got the cards. That's important for the SOL issue.
Also, you said you paid minimums for a while. When did you stop paying at least the minimum on each account? That's the date you went delinquent, which will also figure into the equation. And, did you ever get them current again, or were you always behind once you didn't pay a minimum payment?
In other words, did you catch up at some point and then stop paying again?
PS--Welcome back, jshimmer!
Thanks, Hedwig ...
I have always lived in Texas, both before and after getting the cards. I'm estimating that I fully stopped paying the minimums on my credit cards around Nov. 1999, which is about 13 months after I got them. When I became unable to pay the minimums on these cards, I called the companies to try to work something out and they were less than accomo-dating. They basically said that if I wasn't going to send the minimums (which were all at least $40.) then I might as well not send anything; since I asked if I could send in whatever I could ($10. or $20. at a time). After that point, I went into a state of denial about all of it to escape the stress and 1 month rolled into 1 year and so on. So I never really was able to bring the accts. current after the "delinquency" date. Thanks for your reply Hedwig!
Assuming 11/99, you are almost home free. Keep a low profile, don't make any promises to pay, don't sign anything. The statute of limitations has almost run and, this coming November, these debts will become legally uncollectable.
Actually, since you are in TX, just don't keep much money in the bank, don't keep much money anywhere but under your mattress for a while. If they find assets they might sue. So you need to have no assets.
Your pay cannot be garnished in TX, so don't worry about that. Just sit tight and wait them out. No letters, no nothing would be best, unless someone is taking some kind of action right now.
The one thing that might make this even better would be to know exactly how TX defines the "Cause of action" that actually begins the SOL. It can be different than the last date of delinquency.