Question Regarding An Unidentified Debt Form 2003

Discussion in 'Credit Talk' started by HappyOne, Feb 20, 2009.

  1. HappyOne

    HappyOne New Member

    I Just Received A Phone Call From A Collection Agency Regarding An "debt" From 2003. I Have Not Received Any Information Regarding This Before. I Used To Work For The Company And Left In January 2003, Can They Wait 6 Years And Then Demand Payment. I Have Requested Proof Of This Debt Be Provided.
  2. sparq

    sparq Well-Known Member

    First, good job on requesting validation. Did you send the request within 30 days of the CA first contacting you?

    Second, what state do you live in? Six years is a long time, but more importantly, it's outside the statute of limitations on court action for credit card debt in most states. They can wait 50 years to demand payment if they like, but as time goes on their options are limited.

    Third, what kind of debt is this? Credit card, mortgage, judgment, etc?

    Fourth, don't capitalize every word. :)
  3. HappyOne

    HappyOne New Member

    In response to your ??? on my original post.

    1. Did you send the request within 30 days of the CA first contacting you?
    Yes, the request was made when they first contacted me, which was Feb 20.

    2. What state do you live in? I live in the state of NC

    3. What kind of debt is this? Credit card, mortgage, judgment, etc?
    From what they are saying it is an old cellular phone debt. I used to work for the company and my service was supposed to be free. So I am not sure what they are talking about.

    4. Don't capitalize every word. :) .... Sorry Caps lock was on and I was pissed and didnt correct it.

    From my understanding they have 3 years to even put it on my credit report... Is that correct? And if so, what can I do since it is on there now. There has been no activity on the account since 2002.
  4. sparq

    sparq Well-Known Member

    Great. A common mistake seems to be waiting until several months later to send out the DVs. Sounds like you have your act together.

    IIRC, the Statute of Limitations in North Carolina is three years for court enforcement of a debt. I'm not certain -- you should double-check this on your own. Sounds like they're trolling old debts in the hopes of getting someone to make a token payment, which would restart the SOL. This happens a lot, unfortunately.

    When (if) they respond to your DV, send them a certified letter telling them to never contact you again in regard to this debt. It only has to be one sentence, nothing fancy. Since you have a defense if they take you to court, the most they can hope for is to annoy you.

    As for the credit report, they have 7 years to list it on your report. Since it's so old, and since you said the company was supposed to be paying the bill, and since you've already disputed it with the CA, dispute it now with the CRAs. Technically, since it's in dispute, the CA can't respond to the CRA's request for validation, and in theory, it should fall off your report within 30 days.

    If you do nothing else, it should disappear from your report in another 12-18 months.
  5. ccbob

    ccbob Well-Known Member

    Could you explain the mechanics of this?
    I thought that if it was in dispute, the CA could respond to a request for validation by simply saying:

    a) yes this is our account
    b) it is in dispute.
  6. sparq

    sparq Well-Known Member

    From reading FTC opinions on the matter, responding to the CRA constitutes "further collection activity", which is prohibited once the DV process starts (assuming the 30-day window is met, of course). According to an FTC opinion published in 1997:

    The second part seems to suggest that reporting a debt as "disputed" violates the FDCPA as "continued collection activity". Combining the two seems to suggest that the CA must report the debt as "disputed" to the CRA upon receipt of a valid DV, but may not reply to an investigation from the CRA.

    FTC opinion being what it is, YMMV. Opinion statements like this are neither law nor binding, but they may help determine the behaviors of CAs looking to minimize their risk exposure.
  7. ccbob

    ccbob Well-Known Member

    OK, I get it.

    From what I've read here and elsewhere, what can happen is:

    - CA puts tradeline in CRA
    - CA sends letter to alleged debtor
    - alleged debtor sends D&V letter
    - CA removes tradeline pending verification (either voluntarily or in response to a CRA dispute)
    - CA sends verification to comply with FDCPA
    - CA re-submits tradeline to CRA (having complied with the FDCPA so they can resume collection activity)
    - CA leaves it there for the next 7 years.

    So, while disputing it may get it removed. Don't be surprised to see it return after the CA has sent what they consider to be verification. OTOH, if they enter a trade line and never send verification, then, yes, disputing the tradeline with the CRA should get it removed.
  8. sparq

    sparq Well-Known Member

    Exactly. I've never been a big fan of that "one-two knockout" philosophy floating around, because a CA reinserting a TL is no big deal.

    I just recently disputed with the CRAs on a very old (outside court SOL), very high-value debt. Two of the three have already removed, and I was starting to get annoyed at the third until I saw my certified letter to Equifax sitting on my desk. I completely forgot to send it. Whoops. :)

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