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Bad Checks - SOL - Can someone explain?


WorkingOnMyCredit
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Hey folks,

 

Can someone explain to me what the SOL on checks is and what it means?  I read a lot that the SOL is 2-3 years.  Ok, but doesn't that just mean 2-3 years where I could be sued?  That SOL doesn't mean that after 2-3 years, the debt becomes "zombie", right?  The check is still allowed to sit in collections and ding my credit for the normal 7 years?

 

I've been doing a lot of reading and trying to get my credit back in order.  I currently have 4 Returned Checks in collections.  3 at one place and 1 at another.  All are pretty old, dated back to 2007.  I've done a DV and then sent me a copy of the check.  I suppose that's validation?  I requested a PFD and even offered a bit more than the amount, but no response.  The 4 combined, including fees, is less than $250.  Anyway, honestly, I just want to pay them and go on with my life, but I read paying them would actually hurt my score more than help it.  

 

Thanks very much.

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There are 2 SOLs that we talk about here:

Judicial SOL - This is the length of time a creditor has to sue the debtor is a court of law. This varies based on state and type of debt. This is the 2 - 3 years you are seeing posted here. Note that this is an affirmative defense and so it must be brought up by the defendant when they are being sued in court. Also, if any collector tries to collect on a debt that has run the SOL, you can send a C&D letter without worrying too much.

Reporting SOL - This is the length of time a negative item can be reported on a credit report. This is determined by Federal Law in the USA and is 7 years for any negative item except for a Ch 7 Bankruptcy which is 10 years. This is seperate from the Judicial SOL. Sometime, creditors are allowed a 6 month leeway on this. That is why we mention 7.5 years

Now, a creditor is always allowed to ask if you are willing to pay a debt, even one that has run both SOLs. You however are not obligated to pay it. Therefore, if the creditor does not want to do a PFD, you can tell them that you are not paying the debt if the Judicial SOL has run. I would suggest doing that in writing as that has the same force of law as  C&D letter.

For bad checks however, you might find yourself being threatened with criminal action by a collector who is desperate to collect the money. This happens mostly from bottom feeders who think that most people do not know the law. First off, there is a SOL on minor criminal infractions too. Second, for the amount you describe, the AG is not going to waste their time on it. There are also instances (such as payday loans and postdated checks) where the state law says that it is not a criminal action. They have bigger fish to fry than someone who bounced less than $250 in checks. It also might be a violation of the FDCPA if either they cannot file a criminal case for any reason or if they do not file a criminal complaint.

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Wow, thanks WhoCares.  I really appreciate the additional and very detailed information. 

 

So, my understanding is if an item is past the Judicial SOL and they won't go for a PFD, maybe the best idea is to send a C&D letter or a letter stating I won't pay the debt.  I was thinking I might take the approach of this sample letter from the current site http://www.creditinfocenter.com/forms/sampleletter20.shtml.  It's clear they can't sue me, but would the C&D grant removal of the item(s) from the credit report?

 

Assuming they just ignore my letter or respond that I'm wrong, what would be my options?  

 

Lastly, it isn't clear to me what type of agreement a personal checking account's check is - Oral, Written, Promissory, or Open-Ended.  As many times as I've read the SOL on a bad check is 2-3 years, I haven't found sound evidence to back this up in the state of Wisconsin.

 

Thanks soooo much for helping me understand the process.  I hope to share the knowledge I learn with others in the future.

 

 

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Maybe the best idea is to send a C&D letter or a letter stating I won't pay the debt.  I was thinking I might take the approach of this sample letter from the current site http://www.creditinfocenter.com/forms/sampleletter20.shtml

 

Or you could save your ink and the giving of them a law lesson and write.

 

Dear XXXX,

 

I refuse to pay this debt.

 

Sincerely,

 

You

 

You have all the same protections without sounding like a tool in your letter. 

 

Your options if they ignore?  Join me in federal court where I'm suing an agency right now for violating a C&D letter just like I posted above or send more letters but this time get "really" mad and huff and puff and never even attempt to blow their house down. 

 

I do not know the SOL for your state and I would assume that a check would be a written contract and go under whatever the SOL is for a written contract in your state, unless your state specifically details a SOL for checks.   For example, a medical bill in my state has a two year statute of limitations even though the statute of limitations for a written contract is five years and an open contract three, because it's specifically addressed in the law.

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Ha, I like the short version of the letter better!  

 

yes, the "short version" is immensely better.

 

Coltfan is (as seems to be usual) 100% correct here.  Check your CALIFORNIA state laws on this, see if they have a specified SOL for bad checks.  His state does, WA state does as well.  Also, if they do, they'll have specific rules like how much interest can be added and what-not.  It pays greatly to look at your specific state statutes.

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Lastly, it isn't clear to me what type of agreement a personal checking account's check is - Oral, Written, Promissory, or Open-Ended.  As many times as I've read the SOL on a bad check is 2-3 years, I haven't found sound evidence to back this up in the state of Wisconsin.

 

Are you in Wisconsin? Becuase your profile states southern California.

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I live in California now, but these items are from back when I lived in Wisconsin.  I finally found the specifics, I believe, for the SOL on Bad Checks in Wisconsin.  https://docs.legis.wisconsin.gov/statutes/statutes/893/VI/63/1.  It does state the 2 years.  

 

I put together my letters this morning and will send them out today.  I'd be really surprised if they responded or complied, honestly.  

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