In today’s debt ridden society, many individuals have experienced the call of a debt collector telling them that they must pay a debt that they owe. Many debt collectors are trustworthy and respectful of the individuals that they are contacting, but some companies try tricks to get people to pay debts that they are not legally obligated to pay, such as expired debts.
What Are Expired Debts?
Expired debts are debts that are more than seven years old that have had no activity on the account for that time period. Legally, a person is not required to pay these debts because they are past the statute of limitations for collections. This law was put into effect to stop the debt collection agencies from harassing individuals for debts that were so long ago that there is virtually no way of validating the debt.
Although attempting to collect a debt that is past the statute of limitations is against the law, some unscrupulous debt collection agencies attempt to collect on these debts anyway. These companies are depending on the person’s ignorance of the law to get away with charging them for the expired debt. Since these debt collection agencies have nothing but time invested in the account, each expired account that they get people to pay is pure profit for the debt collection agency. Many of the debt collection techniques that are used to attempt to collect an expired debt are more aggressive than when trying to collect a legitimate debt because the collection agency is trying to scare the person into paying the debt quickly.
What Can You Do About It?
Federal law states that a person has no obligation to pay a debt that is more than 7 years old if there has been no activity on the account. If a debt collector attempts to collect a debt that you know is past the statute of limitations for collection, inform the debt collector that you know the debt they are trying to collect is no longer valid and if they continue to contact you about the expired debt, you will report them under the Fair Debt Collection Practices Act.
If representatives from the debt collection agency continue to contact you about the expired debt, or you find that they have changed the date for the last activity on the account to extend the time period that the debt is valid, make good on your threat and report them under the Fair Debt Collection Practices Act. You can even take the debt collection agency to small claims court to force them to stop contacting you about the debt, make them remove the debt from your credit report, and pay damages to you for harassing you about a debt that was not valid for collection.