We have previously blogged about the two-year federal statue limitations which applies to cell phone bills. It seems as if debt collectors and debt buyers have purposely ignored this federal law as they routinely sue and threaten to sue Alabama consumers when it has been well beyond two years. The irony is that the debt buyers claim that they stand in the shoes of the original creditor — Sprint, T-Mobile, Verizon, AT&T, etc. — but then they do not like the fact that this federal law limits cell phone companies to bringing suit within two years of the default. This is yet another example of debt buyers wanting special rules for themselves but not for others. They routinely want courts to enforce the rules of procedure against consumers who do not answer a complaint in a timely manner but then debt buyers become indignant and incensed when the same judges apply the most basic rules of evidence to debt buyers who come into trials with absolutely no evidence.
We recently were contacted by an Alabama consumer who was threatened by a collection agency with being sued over a cell phone bill which had gone into the fault almost 6 years ago. The collection agency threatened the Alabama consumer by saying that suit would be filed by the end of this year which is when, the debt collector said, the statute of limitation of six years would expire. This is a blatant violation of The Fair Debt Collection Practices Act which prohibits filing suit beyond the statute of limitations and prohibits threatening to sue beyond the statue limitations. It is inconceivable that debt collectors and debt buyers would not know about this federal law when they claim to, at a minimum, be representing the original creditor and, in fact, normally state that they stand in the very shoes of the original creditor.
If you are dealing with debt collectors such as collection agencies which are threatening you with suit or threatening you with garnishments or threatening you with judgments over cell phone bills which are more than two years old, you may very well have a legal right to suit the collection agency for violating the law. If a debt buyer has actually sued you over this then it is quite likely that this is also a violation of the Fair Debt Collection Practices Act if the debt is more than two years old. Even if a default judgment has been entered against you, the very act of filing the lawsuit more than two years after the cell phone bill went into default is quite likely a violation of the fair debt collection practices act. If you have any questions about this matter or would like to have a free consultation with us, please feel free to contact us through our website or by calling us at that 205-879-2447 (for John Watts) or calling Stan Herring at 205-714-4443.
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