I have a credit recovery credit card company that is trying to recover a credit card debt that i dont remember from 1997. they sent me a bill for 8354.53 and said i owed them my first payment by nov.30. what should i do thanx
3 Answers from Attorneys
If you don't remember the debt, don't owe, and did not make a payment since 1997, apparently the statute of limitations has expired. If they sent you a bill you can do one of three things:
(1) ignore the bill, wait for them to sue, and use the statue of limitations as an affirmative defense, among other defenses;
(2) write to tell them to deny the debt, demand full proof, and assert a statute of limitations and wrong person defense; or
(3) hire an attorney to represent you in this matter.
There may be other options. However (2) may or may not grant you relief. Just don't admit or concede anything. Some of these debt collection companies are run by crooks. So, you might write the letter in good faith, but any misstep will be met by a lawsuit.
Do not talk to them, and do not pay them.
I would suggest paying a lawyer a small amount to write a drop dead letter. The debt is probably too old to collect and you have a right to tell them not to contact you.
A misstep in how you word a reply could restart the statute of limitations so a small legal fee may be smart. Be aware they still can sue, even if the statute of limitations has run, and if you get sued, a lawyer would be useful in drafting a response.
Feel free to call me (404-768-3509) if you need more assistance.
I agree with the other attorneys. If this is a Georgia debt (meaning the credit card was taken out in Georgia and last paid in 1997 or earlier) then it is barred by the Georgia statute of limitations which is 6 years for most credit card debts. The statute begins to run from the date of last payment. The amount does not indicate whether or not this is your debt; some credit card companies continue to charge interest so the debt may have grown considerably since it was last paid.
It also is possible that either someone used your information to take out a credit card and did not pay the bills or the junk debt buyer/debt collector has the wrong party (which is very likely).
What I suggest you do is go to www.annualcreditreport.com and get a copy of your credit report if you do not already have a recent copy. While this debt should have come off of your report in theory, if its a scuzzy debt collector, it might not have. Or they might have illegally "refreshed" the date of the debt. Either way, it still might be on there and if it is, it will give you a clue about the debt.
Regardless of whether this is your debt or not, you have the right under the federal debt collection practices act to dispute the debt and ask for validation. If it truly is your debt, you can also send a "drop dead" letter. But you want to be careful in how you word this as noted by the other attorneys. You do not want to acknowledge that this debt is yours (even if it is) nor do you want to revive the debt and sgtart the statute of limitations running again.
I also can write a letter on your behalf for a reasonable fee. Please contact me at email@example.com if interested.