Hi, I am getting harassed by a collector for a debt that I swear is 10 years old. How do I stop it?
Collectors can be tenacious. And yes, they are just doing their job, but, to put it plainly, the way some collectors are trained to behave is bad, borderline illegal, and reprehensible by absolutely any moral standard. There are a variety of credit repair tools available that you can use to gain control and stop the bother.
Your Statute of Limitation
For a start, you mentioned that the debt is 10 years old. We have checked the statute of limitation (SOL) for your state and it is three years for this particular debt type (a charged off credit card). You have several credit repair options, any of which will get rid of this pain-in-the-neck (to be blunt).
The Collector Has No Legal Leverage
The SOL of three years means that it has been seven years since any collector had the legal leverage to sue you for the debt successfully. I use the words “leverage” and “successfully” because collectors sue debtors everyday for post-SOL debts. All anyone has to do in a situation like this is to claim the SOL defense and the case will be thrown out, but as it is, few people know their rights, and collectors thrive on their victims ignorance. Many credit repair strategies hinge on the exercise of rights that many victims are not aware of.
Beyond the Reporting Period Limit
In addition, this particular debt is way beyond the seven year credit reporting limit. It cannot show up on your credit report, and no collector can meaningfully threaten you with such action. In your case, a little defensive credit repair can get rid of this collector right away. If he is reasonable, all it will take is the word from you that you know your rights. If he is not reasonable, there is a defensive credit repair tool you can use called the cease communication letter.
The cease communication letter is a powerful credit repair weapon that can produce the happy result of stopping all collector contact; phone calls, letters, everything. In your case, it can be used without any concern of negative repercussion, but in some cases caution is critical, which we will discuss in a moment. Just send him a letter with the heading Cease Communication Letter, list all of the your identifying data, as well as that of the debt, and a simple sentence that you hereby demand that there be no further communication regarding the subject debt.
A Happy Credit Repair Ending
Strategically, when we send these out for our credit repair customers (we do all of this for our customers along with the relevant research) for debts beyond the SOL and/or the reporting period limit, we include that information in the letter. Communicating your awareness of these facts will insure the deflating impact of the letter. By the book (per the FDCPA) you may get a single follow up communication from the collector verifying that they will not contact you again, so do not worry about that one last call if it happens.
I mentioned that there could be negative repercussions from sending a cease communications letter. This does not apply to you, but many people working on credit repair get excited by the prospect of shutting down a collector. If you use this credit repair tool without first checking the SOL it is possible that a collector will just sue you, because they can, and because you have given them no other means of collecting.