Debt collection is an $11 billion industry, and debt collectors will use a lot of tactics to collect. A recent article in the Washington Post highlighted an unsettling trend: some debt collectors are trying to trick consumers into reviving old debt that is barred by the statute of limitations. Debt collectors in California only have four years after the consumer has made their last payment to file suit to collect the debt. Thus, the statute of limitations is only four years. If debt collectors wait more than four years, debtors can use the statute of limitations as a defense.
Debt collectors use unfair tactics to revive “zombie” debts.
Debt collectors will often try to convince debtors to make a small payment. However, if the debtor makes any payment, even a small one, the entire debt can be revived. Other debt collectors have offered to give debtors a new credit card. But, these “credit cards” were actually programs to enroll borrowers in a repayment program in an attempt to revive their old debt.
Protect yourself and know your rights.
In debt? Check out our resources on debt collection. Additionally, Contra Costa Senior Legal Services offers free appointments to seniors to inform them about their rights as debtors. Don’t fall victim to the unfair tactics of debt collectors.