Steve Harms

Tuesday, January 31, 2012

Collecting Accounts Beyond the Statute of Limitations

A cautionary note:  I suggest you Google or otherwise read about the $2.5 million dollar fine imposed on a Michigan debt buyer for failing to tell consumers that on debt past the statute of limitations, the debt is revived by a payment.

Clearly, payment on debts beyond the statute of limitations can be demanded as the money is still due.  However, these debts can't be sued on, because each state imposes a statute of limitations, which is simply a "drop dead date" for bringing a collection suit in the courts.

Apparently, and the upshot as of this minute is a bit unclear, collectors CAN demand payment on old debt as long as the consumer paying it is told the debt is beyond the statute of limitations in that state, that a payment will revive that statute, and suit can be brought if a payment is made.  Also, some of the articles today on the Internet suggest the debt collector may be limited in reporting the debt to credit reporting agencies.

If you collect past due accounts, which are beyond the statute of limitations, check this out and comply with any new/existing requirements to avoid being charged by the Federal Trade Commission.

By the way, the Michigan debt buyer settled without any admissions of the FTC claims according to articles on the topic....the point of this blog is NOT to toss any stones at this business (which is why I didn't even name the company mentioned in the article), but rather to educate readers of the potential issue the FTC may raise with collections on older accounts, typically consumer accounts.

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