Old debts have a way of haunting your for years. Once a company decides to stop chasing you for money, they have a few options to recoup the funds. Frequently, the companies will chose to sell your debt to a collection agency for pennies on the dollar. They breathe new life into your old debts and slowly come clawing after you. Zombie Debts are coming for you, Barbara.
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This new company now owns your debt. The long-forgotten, often beyond the statute of limitations money you owe is now their obligation to collect. Don't let this Zombie Debt stink up the joint with the funk of forty thousand years. Here's how you handle it:
1. Understand how this all works. These Zombie Debt collection companies purchase your old and outdated debt with the intention of tricking or pestering you into paying them. An uncollectable $500 credit debt may be purchased for $20. They will contact you in any way possible to encourage you to pay the original $500. When that doesn't work, they'll try to "cut you a deal" to pay just $250. Anything they get from you over $20 is profit.
2. Don't engage with collectors. Knowing your rights goes a long way. Collectors may not call you early in the morning or late at night, at work, or too often. Once asked, they must send a written notice and verify all debts. If you provide a written request for no further contact they must oblige.
3. Should you pay it? 99 times out of 100 the answer is NO. Once a debt has passed the statute of limitations, which varies by state, you are not legally obligated to pay it. Paying any amount towards this debt will restart the clock and you could be liable for it in its entirety.
4. Now what? Nothing. You have no obligation to pay old debts. These Zombie Debt collectors are banking on you not knowing that. Let the company know, in writing, that you are off the hook for this and they'll leave you alone.
After you've taken the steps to make the Zombie Debt disappear forever, keep an eye on your credit report. You never know when it could rise again to terrorize y'alls neighborhood.