Debt Collectors and Your Rights

Debt collectors do a lot of things when trying to recoup money owed: They call you relentlessly, send you all sorts of strongly-worded letters, and even threaten you with lawsuits. But are these threats for real, or are they just empty words? Can creditors really sue you? Credit card debt has many possible repercussions including costly interest, credit score damage and yes, even a lawsuit. However, what many people do not know and what debt collectors might not tell you is that debt has a statute of limitations, meaning that it is only relevant under the law for a certain period of time. Before the statute of limitations runs out, collectors can successfully sue you for amounts owed. However, once it expires, your debt becomes “time-barred.” This means that debt collectors can still initiate a suit against you, but as long as you make it clear that your debt is older than the statute of limitations, the court will dismiss the suit. The statute of limitations for debt varies widely by state and ranges from three to 15 years. The clock starts ticking at the time of last payment and resets each time you make a payment. Thus, in making a payment, you effectively re-age your debt. Additionally, signing a document in which you promise to pay the debt or waive the right to stop a collector from suing might also re-age your debt. On the other hand, it’s important to note that making a payment in no way affects the amount of time negative information about debt stays on your credit report. Defaulting on your credit card debt will stay on your credit report for seven years from the time of first delinquency, no matter what you do in the meantime. This amount of time is completely independent of the statute of limitations. Still, while you might think it’s wise to pay a small amount in order to get collectors off your back that might not be the case. If you can manage to agree to an affordable payment plan or reach a settlement with your collector, do so, because the sooner you can change the status of your debt to “paid” or “settled” from “not paid,” the less detrimental debt will be to your credit score. However, if these things are unattainable, don’t make the mistake of paying a small amount in good faith. This will only re-age the debt and increase your vulnerability to lawsuit [one_half]

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[/one_half] [one_half_last] We have attorneys in: Jacksonville, Florida, Miami, Florida, Tampa, Florida, St. Petersburg, Florida, Orlando, Florida, Hialeah, Florida, Tallahassee, Florida, Fort Lauderdale, Florida, Port St. Lucie, Florida, Pembroke Pines, Florida, Cape Coral, Florida. We have attorneys in: Alabama, Al, Alaska, Arizona, Az Scottsdale, Arkansas, California, Ca, Colorado, Co, Connecticut, Conn, Delaware, De, D.C., Florida, Fl, Georgia, Ga, Hawaii, Idaho, Illinois, Ill, Indiana, Iowa, Kansas, Kentucky, Louisiana, La, Maine, Maryland, Massachusetts, Mass, Michigan, Mi, Minnesota, Minn, Mississippi, Ms, Missouri, Mo, Montana, Nebraska, Nevada, Nv, New Hampshire, New Jersey, N.J., New Mexico. N.M, New York, N.Y, Brooklyn, Queens, Staten Island, Long Island Westchester, North Carolina, North Dakota N.C, Ohio, Oh, Oklahoma, Ok, Oregon, Pennsylvania, Pa, Rhode Island, RI, South Carolina, S.C, South Dakota, S.D, Tennessee, Tenn, Texas, TX, Utah, Ut, Vermont, Virginia, Washington, Wa, West Virginia, Wisconsin, Wyoming. Alabama: No representation is made that the quality of the legal services to be performed is greater than the quality of legal services performed by other lawyers. Colorado: Colorado does not certify attorneys as specialists in any field. Florida: The hiring of a lawyer is an important decision that should not be based solely upon advertisements. Before you decide, ask us to send you free written information about our qualifications and experience. Iowa: The determination of the need for legal services and the choice of a lawyer are extremely important decisions and should not be based solely upon advertisements or self-proclaimed expertise. This disclosure is required by rule of the Supreme Court of Iowa. NOTICE TO THE PUBLIC: Memberships and offices in legal fraternities and legal societies, technical and professional licenses, and memberships in scientific, technical and professional associations and societies of law or field of practice do not mean that a lawyer is a specialist or expert in a field of law, nor do they mean that such a lawyer is necessarily any more expert or competent than any other lawyer. All potential clients are urged to make their own independent investigation and evaluation of any lawyer being considered. This notice is required by rule of the Supreme Court of Iowa. Kentucky and Oregon: THIS IS AN ADVERTISEMENT. Mississippi: The Mississippi Supreme Court advises that a decision on legal services is important and should not be based solely on advertisements. Missouri: Neither the Supreme Court of Missouri nor the Missouri Bar reviews or approves certifying organizations or specialist designations. Nevada: The State Bar of Nevada does not certify any lawyer as a specialist or expert. New Mexico: LAWYER ADVERTISEMENT. Tennessee: None of the attorneys in this firm are certified as a Civil Trial, Criminal Trial, Business Bankruptcy, Consumer Bankruptcy, Creditor’s Rights, Medical Malpractice, Legal Malpractice, Accounting Malpractice, Estate Planning or Elder Law specialist by the Tennessee Commission on Continuing Legal Education and Specialization. Certification as a specialist in all other listed areas is not currently available in Tennessee. Texas: Unless otherwise stated, attorneys claiming certification in an area of law are not certified by the Texas Board of Legal Specialization. Wyoming: The Wyoming State Bar does not certify any lawyer as a specialist or expert. Anyone considering a lawyer should independently investigate the lawyer’s credential and ability, and not rely upon advertisements or self-proclaimed expertise. *** If you do not have the money to hire an attorney, you should call the legal aid office in your area. Because the law does change, this site and the information in it may have become outdated. You should be aware that changes may have taken place in the law or in court rules that would affect the accuracy of anything shown here. [/one_half_last]