to clarify my previous question: 6 years ago, i had a checking account with Wells Fargo and didn't close the account, i believe i was -$120 at the time according to my credit report. i moved to another state and 2 years later, a collection agency called on behalf of Wells Fargo demanding i pay $2,500 in full. i didn't have the money and said i was willing to pay monthly as long as they send the last 10-15 transactions that was made with that account along with the collection agency's paperwork, it was never sent. another 3 years passes by and i'm being contacted by a processor who said i now owe $5,515 and if i don't pay they will garnish my wages. i honestly am struggling to pay rent and bills and can't afford for money to be deducted from my measly paycheck. can they garnish my wages without my permission and if there a way to fight this?
3 Answers from Attorneys
The good news is that they can't win a lawsuit or automatically garnish your wages on alleged debts that are over 4 years old. They would have to sue first and give you an opportunity to go to court and defend the case. If you are sued and you don't get an attorney and fight back, you could lose even if they sued after the expiration of the legal time limit.
By agreeing to pay, you may have reset the legal time limit and given them an additional 4 years to sue. But the good news is that if you don't scare, and you let them do to you what they will, they will either do nothing, or in all probability they will violate the fair debt collection laws and give you a free lawsuit against them. In the meantime, don't pay, don't promise to pay, don't talk to collection agencies, deal with them only in writing certified mail return receipt. If you are sued, I am sure you'll be able to inexpensively retain an attorney given the stale debt.
You have a right to seek verification of the debt. It sounds to me that this is exactly what you did, and your rights were violated. The current collection company may be in violation of the Fair Debt Collection Practices Act, which means you may have a lawsuit against them. Also, the debt is beyond the statute of limitations.
However, the statute of limitations may be revived by you agreeing you will pay the debt. But you did not agree to pay the debt; you only agreed to pay it if they met your conditions, which they did not. So I would say the debt is barred by the statute of limitations and anyone trying to coerce you into paying this debt now is in violation of the Fair Debt Collection Practices Act.
A strong letter from an attorney's office should stop the harrassment. Also, you need to check and see if you have been reported to check systems or credit bureaus. If you have, an attorney may help you to get that removed too. Good Luck!