How to handle Collections and Debt Collectors

The Fair Debt Collections Practices Act

Debt Collectors are professionals that have been tasked with contacting consumers about past-due debts and this page will be a very large help to you if you are being contacted by one right now.

Please BOOKMARK this page, as it will contain valuable information you can use to manage your interactions with a debt collector and how to work with one if a debt collector is calling and you owe money.

First things first….

How old is the debt that is being collected? This is measured by the date of the last payment ever recorded, to todays date. This is what defines the “Date of Delinquency”, and it matters. Debt Collectors cannot collect the debt anymore once the date of delinquency has passed and you can demand that they forever cease and desist contact with you if that’s the case. If you do not want to pay an account that has expired, that’s up to you.

If you get calls from Debt Collectors attempting to set up payment plans on old or “Zombie” debts, just refuse, and tell them to never call again.

Statute of Limitations on Debt Collections By State

Each state has it’s own measured limit to how long a debt collector can try to collect debts. Here’s the whole list, by state. Ready?

4 Different Types of Consumer Loans exist, and all have different times that apply, so lets break it down:

  • Oral – (Oral agreements are those that only exist in spoken communications)
  • Written – (Written, are contractual agreements and good examples are credit cards, with written terms and conditions)
  • PromissoryPromissory notes are similar to written contracts but include specific details that you, the borrower, promises to uphold. This can include monthly payment amounts, interest rates, and length of the loan.
  • Open or Open-ended accounts are loans with a revolving balance that you can borrow from and repay over and over. This can include credit card debt and lines of credit with lenders. 
StateOralWrittenPromissoryOpen
Alabama6 Years6 Years6 Years3 Years
Alaska3 Years3 Years3 Years3 Years
Arizona3 Years6 Years6 Years3 Years
Arkansas3 Years5 Years3 Years3 Years
California2 Years4 Years4 Years4 Years
Colorado6 Years6 Years6 Years6 Years
Connecticut3 Years6 Years6 Years3 Years
Delaware3 Years3 Years3 Years4 Years
Florida4 Years5 Years5 Years4 Years
Georgia4 Years6 Years6 Years6 Years
Hawaii6 Years6 Years6 Years6 Years
Idaho4 Years5 Years5 Years5 Years
Illinois5 Years10 Years10 Years5 Years
Indiana6 Years6 Years10 Years6 Years
Iowa5 Years10 Years5 Years5 Years
Kansas3 Years5 Years5 Years3 Years
Kentucky5 Years10 Years15 Years5 Years
Louisiana10 Years10 Years10 Years3 Years
Maine6 Years6 Years6 Years6 Years
Maryland3 Years3 Years6 Years3 Years
Massachusetts6 Years6 Years6 Years6 Years
Michigan6 Years6 Years6 Years6 Years
Minnesota6 Years6 Years6 Years6 Years
Mississippi3 Years3 Years3 Years3 Years
Missouri5 Years10 Years10 Years5 Years
Montana5 Years8 Years8 Years5 Years
Nebraska4 Years5 Years5 Years4 Years
Nevada4 Years6 Years3 Years4 Years
New Hampshire3 Years3 Years6 Years3 Years
New Jersey6 Years6 Years6 Years6 Years
New Mexico4 Years6 Years6 Years4 Years
New York6 Years6 Years6 Years6 Years
North Carolina3 Years3 Years5 Years3 Years
North Dakota6 Years6 Years6 Years6 Years
Ohio6 Years8 Years15 Years6 Years
Oklahoma3 Years5 Years5 Years3 Years
Oregon6 Years6 Years6 Years6 Years
Pennsylvania4 Years4 Years4 Years4 Years
Rhode Island10 Years10 Years10 Years10 Years
South Carolina3 Years3 Years3 Years3 Years
South Dakota6 Years6 Years6 Years6 Years
Tennessee6 Years6 Years6 Years6 Years
Texas4 Years4 Years4 Years4 Years
Utah4 Years6 Years6 Years4 Years
Vermont6 Years6 Years5 Years3 Years
Virginia3 Years5 Years6 Years3 Years
Washington3 Years6 Years6 Years3 Years
West Virginia5 Years10 Years6 Years5 Years
Wisconsin6 Years6 Years10 Years6 Years
Wyoming8 Years10 Years10 Years8 Years

Debts that do not have any limitations

  • Child Support
  • Alimony
  • Federal Student Loans

Re-Aging Debts – How Debt Collectors can TRICK you into reviving dead debts.

See the chart above? Is the debt now too old to be collected? If you’ve determined that it is, debt collectors will try to get you into a payment plan and offer you settlements as deep as 90% to get any money from you.

YOU DO NOT NEED TO PAY THEM.

DO NOT ENTER INTO A PAYMENT PLAN FOR OLD DEBT.

If you agree to a payment plan and start paying on a debt that’s beyond the time limits you’ve brought the dead debt back to life again. When you make a payment on something that’s beyond the “Statute of Limitations” you renew the time all over again and that gives your debt collector the ability to now file a lawsuit against you to collect that debt. It’s a major mistake to pay zombie debt. Don’t do it!

Debt Collection Calls

Debt Collectors use the phone as a tool to collect past-due debts. They rely heavily on it to harass you and your family and they know how to motivate you to pay the debt by keeping the pressure on all day, and all week. The representative calling you is compensated for every account they collect on, so they are incentivized for getting you to pay.

Debt collectors are trained to act in two ways:

  1. Aggressively
  2. Passively

Nearly 90% of all debt collectors behave in an aggressive way because their threatening demeanor works. It’s scary and motivating. It’s this very reason they use it and these collectors that use the tactic get paid, and some make millions doing it.

THERE ARE RULES HOWEVER:

  • Cannot call you before 8AM (Based on your time zone)
  • Cannot call you after 9PM (Based on your time zone)
  • Cannot have any contact with anyone else regarding the debt.
    • Cannot call your employer to reach you when work doesn’t allow personal calls
    • Cannot call friends, relatives or neighbors mentioning debt collection or “A personal business matter”.
    • Cannot call friends, relatives or neighbors seeking your location if they’ve already contacted you and have your location information.
  • Cannot repeatedly ring your phone in an attempt to “harass or annoy”.
  • Cannot lie to you about the debt, the amount due etc;
  • Cannot threaten to sue you for a debt when they have no intention of actually suing you.
  • Cannot threaten to file charges, report the debt to the IRS, Social Security or have you arrested. Simply put, none of these things can be done and all are a lie.