If Your Debt Has Re-Aged, There Are 5 Steps You Can Take
There are various options available to you if you believe (or know for certain) that your debt has been re-aged. Understand, however, that you must always be cautious about your credit.
Keep track of your credit history and obtain your free credit reports once a year. It’s a good idea to have a backup of the prior year’s records so you can keep an eye out for sneaky debt re-aging schemes.
Step 1: Figure out how long your debt has been accumulating.
Do not pay if you have been keeping an eye on your credit record, or if you recall when the bill initially became delinquent and the obligation is past the statute of limitations.
Determining the original date is, of course, difficult. You’ll need to look up the account’s most recent activity date to figure out that date. Add the number of years to the date of the last action after consulting your state’s statute of limitations on debt.
You should now have the original date after following these procedures. You’ll know the debt has been re-aged if the debt collection firm gives you a different date. Simply advise the debt collector that the debt is past the statute of limitations and send them a cease and desist letter via certified mail. If the agency tries again, make sure you save the receipt.
Step 2: Examine Debt Representation
Debts can be challenged with all three credit bureaus. Take advantage of the situation. Get your credit report from each of the three credit agencies if you haven’t previously. With such information, you should be able to compare the original creditor’s date of first delinquency with the collection agency’s date.
If you notice indicators that the debt has been re-aged, send a dispute letter to each credit agency where the debt appears on your credit report. You’ll have to provide them proof that the debt isn’t barred by the statute of limitations, but with time and perseverance, you should be able to get it totally erased.
Step 3: Submit a complaint to the Federal Trade Commission (FTC) and other government agencies.
The Federal Trade Commission (FTC) is in charge of safeguarding customers from exploitative businesses, including debt collectors that are ready to breach the law in order to re-age accounts.
File a complaint with the FTC if a debt collector has wrongfully re-aged your account. You should also submit a complaint with the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau and the Attorney General’s office in your state.
Note that filing a complaint is not the same as filing a criminal complaint, and while it may not result in immediate action, it does give these authorities valuable information that can be used against the debt collector in the future. When there are enough complaints, an inquiry will be begun, with the goal of shutting down the agency.
Step 4: Get Legal Help If Needed
Even if your debt has been re-aged and is still within the statute of limitations based on the initial delinquency date, you can (and should) submit challenges and complaints. If collecting the debt is still permissible, the collection agency will most likely sue you. In these cases, it’s always a good idea to hire a lawyer.
Step 5: Keep an eye out for any more illegal activity.
Debt collectors that are ready to go to the lengths of unlawfully re-aging your account are likely to pursue your money in other illegal ways. Keeping an eye out for these might indicate that the agency isn’t on the up and up and that whatever information they supply is at best erroneous.
For example, if a debt collector phones you before 8 a.m. or after 9 p.m., at work, or with the aim to harass you (many calls throughout the day and night), they are violating the law.
The debt collector is breaching the law if they attempt to contact you at work, phone your employer directly, or interact with anybody else about your debt in any manner. Your spouse and/or any other co-debtors are included.
They’re breaching the law if they ask a third party for anything other than your location. They are unable to make any reference to your debt.
It is illegal for a debt collector to phone you and impersonate a police officer, a court official, or anybody else.
A debt collector who phones you after telling them you only want to correspond via letter is breaching the law.
A debt collector is breaching the law if they continue to phone and communicate by mail after you have referred them to your attorney and said that all communication should be directed to that office.
These are just a few examples of how collection agencies habitually abuse the law in order to obtain money. Learn about the protections provided by the Fair Debt Collection Practices Act (FDCPA) so you can notice problems sooner. You do have rights, and laws exist to protect you from being exploited by government entities.