Has a debt collector ever attempted to collect an old debt from you?
Debt collectors have only a limited number of years to file a lawsuit to collect on a debt. This is referred to as the statue of limitations. In general, there is a four (4) year statute of limitations in California for filing a lawsuit to collect a debt. Debts that are beyond the statute of limitations are considered “time-barred debts.”
Debt collectors can still contact you regarding time-barred debts, but be wary of these debt collectors. If you suspect that a debt is time-barred, you should ask the debt collector if the debt is beyond the statute of limitations. Debt collectors are required to either answer truthfully or decline to answer. You should also ask the debt collector the date of your last payment. This information will help determine whether the debt is time-barred.
If the debt collector refuses to provide this information to you, then you should send the debt collector a written letter within thirty (30) days of your initial notice of the debt. In this letter, state that you are disputing the debt and request verification of the debt.
Be aware that a partial payment on a time-barred debt may actually restart the clock on the statute of limitations. Often times, debt collectors will harass, threaten, or intimidate you in the hopes of luring you into making a partial payment on a time-barred debt so that the debt becomes eligible again for legal action.
If you believe that your debt may be time-barred, please contact our office for a free, no obligation consultation at 1-800-219-3577.