Charged off debt collection attempts 15 years

I had a very bad patch financially in the late 80’s. I was so broke I couldn’t AFFORD to file for bankruptcy, so I just had to eat the hell of having trashed credit for many years. (Everything got charged off by late 1988)

I have since moved on, rebuilt my credit, gone on with my life.

But I still get debt collection notices from time to time that are for the debts that were charged off 14-15 years ago, and I heard a consumer affairs guy on the radio once talking about how that isn’t kosher, and that there is some legal way for me to say “Hey, old news guys, leave me be.” and they have to go away. Unfortunately, Googling just brings up the standard info about credit repair and basic credit law having to do with one’s credit * report, * (all of which I know about in great detail) but nothing about this situation.

Can anyone direct me to cite for this kind of situation?

Just read this online today:

The part that seems to apply here is that even if the debt was “charged off” and can no longer appear on your credit report, the money is still owed, and debtors can continue to try to collect it.

Hope this helps.

If you even pay $0.01 to them they can use that to reopen the entire amount. If those were discharged via bankrupcy let them know - let them know that they are not to call you - if they do afterward you can sue them.

If the debt was never discharged then the statute of limitations apply (again don’t pay them anything!). Again tell them never to call you again.

This was my understanding, which is why I never intended to pay. Paying in full would actually screw my credit, not help it, since it would put it right back on my report.

You mean, "Hey guys, you provided me with goods and services in good faith and now you're SOL"?

Yeah, I guess you can do that. Seems like setting up some kind of payment plan would be the right
thing to do though.

Maybe this should go in IMHO but it seems like time might erase the legal requirement to pay, but not the moral requirement.

Is this a situation where we’ve avoided paying the debt long enough to have some kind of legal protection against having to pay the debt?

Had I been financially able to at the time, I would have filed bankruptcy. I was so broke I could not. The effect was the same, I just couldn’t buy the government’s official sanction of my “SOL”. Would you be so judgmental if I had been able to? So, to borrow your phrasing, does bankruptcy merely erase the legal requirement, but not the moral one? Do you think it is the moral responsibility of everyone who ever declared bankruptcy to go back and pay the debts they got out of through the bankruptcy if they can?

At this point the money would not go to the original creditors that extended me the credit anyway. If I did choose to pay, I would be paying a company that bought by debt for as little as .01 or conceivably even less, and in the process I would screw my credit for another 7 years. (Probably less, since this is around the 10th company trying to collect on this stuff.)

Yep. Bringing up morality in response to a factual question in GD is in poor form…but if you want to open a thread for discussion on the ethics and morality of debt repayment in a proper forum, I’d be happy to participate…as your rival.

It could be a situation like mine. I had a new catalytic converter put on my car, by FIRESTONE. I lived in Florida. I moved back to IL 6 months later. I went for my emmissons test and failed. They said the guys just pluged up the noise and did nothing.

I called the local office of Firestone they said I had removed the anti pollution control device myself. I can barely put gas in my car. Short Firestone screwed me.

The credit card company said “SO WHAT PAY UP.” I said I’m not paying for something I didn’t get. That was 15 years ago and they still are trying to collect. I get mailed notices. I have great credit now and I won’t pay. Why should I pay for something they didn’t give me. And what could I do spend $300.00 plus cost to go back to FL to sue them? The bill was less.

Sure they can collect try to anyway. Besides I don’t owe a collection company I owe the Credit Card company. Yeah I know they have the right to sell my debt.

Do not do anything to acknowledge debts this old. The statute of limitations has most likely run in your jurisdiction long ago (4 years in California). Don’t pay a thing. Tell them to get lost.

I could be wrong, but I think there is something called “bad debt write offs” by companies (in the U.S.), and that gives some kind of tax break. So I wouldn’t feel bad about the old debts. Now what Enron did is really awful. Where are the “morals” there? :rolleyes:

The statute of limitations on a debt only applies if they never filed a suit against you before limitations ran out. If they have a judgment against you for the debt, that judgment may still be enforceable. If you’re talking about a significant sum here, I would very much recommend that you consult an attorney. Even if the debts have become unenforceable, a lawyer can help keep the jackals from following you around. The debt collectors are much more likely to leave you alone if they know you have legal representation.

The problem is if he tries to pay it off he will get slammed on his credit report. He is doing good now and the debt in not longer legally collectable.

As for the moral issue - is there some responsibility for companies that extend more credit then a person can hope to ever to pay off? When the CC companies do this they accept that some will fail to pay and get off the hook via bankruptcy or statute of limitations. The laws are there to protect people from such situations and the CC co’s are bound to operate within the scope of the laws - if the don’t want to they can take their business to another country or hire people named Vinny to help collect and take their business underground :wink: .

In short as long as you did not get into this situation intentionally, you have no moral obligation to ever pay this back - in my humble O

There is an bankruptcy option called Chapter 13 in which the debtor arranges some payment
plan (usually at some discounted rate) and attempts to pay off the creditors over time. So yes, there is an alternative to
simply declaring bankruptcy; one that indicates that the debtor is at least making an effort to honor obligations.

Paragraph 1: Untrue statement. The debt (the write off) happened over 7 years ago. Other than bankruptcies, derog over 7 years old may not be reported. Paying it off does nothing to change that. That’s the federal law. If you think it happened elsehwere, it was a mistake. The federal fair credit reporting act prohibits derog older than 7 years old from being reported…and paying it off has NOTHING to do with the original charge off date.
Other “issues” with credit reporting? Start a thread. My services are free. Facts about the FCRA mentioned above are not open to debate.

Paragraph 2: Sounds like someone who is happy to blame others. But that is another thread.

Resident Credit Reporting Expert ----Phil

Philster, that is interesting news, and completely opposite to what I’ve been told by several people, including two of my creditors.

Can you direct me to the laws which cover this, so I can be satisfied on this matter once and for all? I’d be much obliged.


Finagle… you are a fortunate person to have never personally confronted poverty so dire that eating was at times a question. I have lived it.

“Making arrangements” was not an option.
(And since I said I was unable to pay for the simplest bankruptcy, I would have thought that was evident.)


I’m sorry to hear things were so rough for you. I hope things are better for you these days.

Many people who file bankruptcy have nothing in common with the high-living, free-wheeling spendthrift stereotype. They earn little, spend little, but then are beset by a terrible personal hardship that sends them over the edge financially. They deserve our sympathy and care.

Only untrue if he doesn’t make any payment but I paragraph 1 has to do with him trying to repay the debt. If he repays part of the dept then it can be reopened and if he doesn’t pay the entire thing in full it can, and in my humble O, will go back on his credit report. Remember once this is reopened the colection agancies will tack on interest and other fees that they may or may not be entitled to but will slam his credit report non the less.

Also repaying a part of what you owe can open you up to getting a judgment against you.

** k2dave, ** that is exactly what I was told. In fact, the way it was put to me is that the 7 years applies to the date of ** last activity **, and making any kind of payment resets the clock.

No thanks! I may not have paid my debts, but I definitely paid a price for not doing so.