Yes, a debt collector can contact you after the statute of limitations is up. This is because the statute of limitations on debt collection only limits the amount of time a creditor or debt collector has to sue you in an attempt to collect on the debt; it does not limit the amount of time they have to attempt to collect the debt in other ways.
What Can a Debt Collector Do to Collect on a Time Barred Debt?
Once the statute of limitations on debt collection is up, a creditor or debt collector is time barred from suing you in order to collect on the debt. The statute does not apply to other attempts to collect, such as:
- Sending you bills
- Calling you and asking for payment
- Accepting payments on the debt
- Mailing you collection letters
These collection attempts are still subject to the Fair Debt Collection Practices Act (FDCPA) and may not violate any of the Acts provisions.
The FDCPA and Collection Attempts on Time Barred Debt
The FDCPA is a federal law that was passed in 1977 in order to help protect consumers from unfair, deceptive, and abusive practices by debt collectors. The Act prohibits a number of particular collection practices and leaves it up to the Court to determine if other practices, not specified by the law, are covered prohibited practices. Some of the things that a debt collector may do when attempting to collect on a debt after the statute of limitations has expired which violate the FDCPA include:
- Implying that not paying the debt may result in arrest, garnishment, or seizure of your assets
- Threatening to file a lawsuit if the debt is not paid
- Misrepresenting the legal status of the debt
- Falsely indicating that the sell or transfer of the debt will result in your loss of any legal defenses to payment of the debt
- Sending you documents made to look like they were issued by a court or other government agency
These are all prohibited collection practices commonly employed by debt collectors when a lawsuit is impractical, not financially feasible, or time barred by the statute of limitations in an attempt to then bully or scare you into paying the bill since legal action is no longer an option.
What to do if a Debt Collector Contacts You After the Statute of Limitations is Up
Depending on your state's statute of limitations on debt collection, anything you say or do concerning a debt may start the time limit the debt collector has to sue you all over again. Therefore, you should be very careful when dealing with time barred debt. What you should do depends on how the debt is affecting your credit and if the debt collector's actions are in violation of the FDCPA. An experienced consumer protection attorney can help you with this.
If a debt collector is attempting to collect a debt from you and the statute of limitations is up, please contact our office at 1-800-219-3577, for a free, no obligation consultation. We can help you determine the best course of action to stop the harassment, settle the debt, repair your credit, and possibly get the collector to pay you money.