Today I got this question from one of my Prosperity Partners:
“Hi, Netiva! I have a question; a collection agency has been calling me and I haven't called them back yet. I know what the debt is for; an old credit card I had when I was in college. I never paid it and they call me every now and then to collect on it. I'll have the money when I get my taxes back. I could definitely use the money to get caught up on my current debts more than this one lurking around, but I would also just like them to stop calling me; what do you suggest? It's about 4 1/2yrs old.”
When you get a call or a letter from a collection agency do 3 things:
1. See if the debt is within your state's statute of limitations.
You're in MI so the statute of limitations for MI on credit card debt is 6yrs. This is helpful because it lets you know if the collector still has time to sue you to enforce the debt. Namely get a judgment against you. So they still have 1.5yrs to pursue you for the debt. If it was past 6yrs you can pretty much tell them to stop contacting you because the debt has expired and watch your mail in case they try to still sue you for the debt despite knowing it's expired.
2. Next, look up the company
Look up the company to see if they are legit, if they have a past or open FTC violations if they are sue-happy, what successes/trials other persons have had in dealing with them. It helps to know what type of company you are dealing with.
3. Send them a validation letter
There are some form letters on the internet that simply state: Please validate this debt. DO NOT DO THIS. That's a waste of time, paper and a stamp. I have a sample letter on my blog, simply copy and paste it and personalize to your situation. Do Not Sign It! Send it certified mail. If it is reporting on your credit report; send it certified mail return receipt. Once you have proof of delivery with signature back you can dispute with the credit bureaus for deletion. Why? Because until they validate the debt they must stop all collection activity, which includes reporting and verifying info to the credit bureaus.
And before you ask; YES you still validate even if you know the debt is yours.
Hope this helps!
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