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Verbal acknowledgement of debt


77nation
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This is my first post here. I've been trying to research on my own and have come up with a lot of info (including on this site - thanks all) but I'm right in the middle of something and can't find an answer.

I had a collector contact me several days ago. Turns out their attempting to collect on a very old credit card debt. The collector gave me some totally outrageous total which she said was so high "because the interest kept adding up all that time". Thoroughly freaked out I said that yes, I believed the debt was mine. I agreed to try to work something out but made it clear I was in no position to offer anything but the most minimal monthly payment. She said she'd get back to me after she "worked with the numbers" and "talked to the bosses". She was also looking for a "sizeable down payment" and I told her I really didn't know what I could do about that. I made no promises and did not agree to anything.

Well, turns out that this dang thing isn't even on my credit report anymore. I recently got a credit card and I think this brought them out of the woodwork.

I'm wondering what, if anything, I can do now. I'm assuming this thing has reached the statute of limitations but I don't know if I reopened Pandora's box by verbally acknowledging the debt. Any help/advice would be greatly appreciated. Sorry if the post is too long!

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Welcome...

First rule of dealing with CAs...if it isn't in writing, it didn't happen (unless they were recording, which is unlikely).

So...start at the beginning...assume this isn't yours until they PROVE otherwise. And, if they do prove it, then they also have to prove its within the SOL before it affects you in anyway.

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Welcome to the club :)

I'm going to assume that this is a new collectors calling you for an old debt.

We advise never to talk on the phone with a CA for several reasons. CAs are known to say anything to get you to pay. I remember I talked to one of my CAs and I said to him that, "I would like to have the item deleted from my CR after I pay", he said, “oh yes, when you pay it will be removed”, I said, "Great, I need that in writing, in fact just fax that to me"… he quickly said, “hold on, let me talk to my supervisor”, a minute later he came back and said, “Oh, I mean it will get listed as Paid.”

So, my point is, if you allow contact only via mail than the CA is unlikely to lie to you because it is now in writing and can be used against them in court. BTW, a collection listed as Paid is only slightly better than unpaid, so don’t settle for that if at all possible, this may take patience.

But you said this wasn't even on your CR yet and depending on the DOFD, it may or may not hit your CR.

Another reason you don’t want to talk to a CA on the phone is because they are experienced telephone negotiators and you probably are not. There is zero emotion for them to collect your debt while you are full of emotions and you may end up agreeing to something that you will regret later.

So a person can just say, “please stop calling me, you may contact with me only via mail” and then hang up?

Well, they could do that but I recommend that when a CA calls the first thing to do is RELAX, ... you are not going to jail, it is not a crime to have a collection, so breathe in and ask,

Their Name, Position, Company Name, Address, Fax number, and the account number of the debt”, be sure to write this all down and have it correct, repeat it back to them if necessary. Then after you have that information say, “Upon further investigation I am not sure that this debt is mine so you need to send me proof that this debt is indeed mine, also I’m sorry but I need you to stop calling me anywhere; you are not allowed to call me at home, work or anywhere else for that matter, however, you may contact me thru the mail. Thank you and I look forward to your letter, have a great day.”

Now just hang up and immediately follow that up with a C&D / DV letter, Make sure you send this letter with some sort of Delivery Confirmation (DC), I usually send mine Priority Post w/ DC.

Cease and Desist is just legal jargon that means ‘stop’.

DV means Debt Validation

oh before I forget...

If they don't call back within a day or 2, send the DV letter before they call, just to CYA. ...if you have their info.

In my C&D letters I state that they cannot call me, but they may contact me via mail.

Remember to keep all your records.

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Can't begin to thank you enough for getting back to me at all, let alone so quickly. Now is the part where I'm afraid I get repetitious and boring, but I do want to be clear before I speak with the nice lady again.

This thing has fallen off my credit report. My credit report, as of today, does not show it at all though it may have shown something like it in the past. Statute has run out. So my understanding is that they can't collect under those circumstance. But, by acknowledging the debt, have I changed that? Have I somehow started the whole statute clock ticking again?

I'm thinking I can simply say that I've researched things further and discovered I don't know what the heck she's talking about (in a much nicer way) and then request proof. Does that sound like a reasonable plan?

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