How does it affect me?
Collection activity by “third party” debt collection agencies hired to collect a debt can be very aggressive and threatening. When debt collectors or their attorneys come calling, most of us panic a bit at first. The Fair Debt Collection Practices Act prohibits the very worst behavior by third party debt collectors. (Through a very large “loop-hole”, the corporation or entity “holding” the note, credit card agreement or invoice is not covered by the prohibitions in the FDCPA if it contacts you). When debt collectors start threatening you with lawsuits and salary garnishments, it can become very difficult to stand your ground. Before you make any payment arrangement, consult with one of our attorneys to determine whether the debt can still be collected.
Georgia has a six-year statute of limitations on the collection of most debts based on contracts and a four-year statute of limitations on debt collections originating from open accounts and sales. In Hill vs. American Express, decided January 24, 2008, the GA court of Appeals found the six-year statute of limitations applicable to credit card debt.
Your credit report should allow you to determine the date of your last payment on an account and assist you to establish the date the account went into “default”.
What does that mean to you when debt collectors begin to harass you about old debts?
The statute of limitations restricts the time in which legal proceedings may be brought. This means that debt collectors have a limited time after a default to collect a debt. After that time expires, they may continue to try to persuade you to repay the debt, but they may no longer resort to the court system for help. They may not obtain any kind of judgment against you or garnish your wages.
Bottom Line: Take the opportunity to consult with one of our attorneys to sort out the facts in your case before you make any payment arrangement on an “old” debt.