The financial advice website The Motley Fool has an article on zombie debt buyers called “Return of the Living Debt”. This is from 2004 but it is still relevant today – it is interesting to see what people were saying almost 4 years ago. Considering Alabama consumers are facing zombie debt buyers harassing them and suing them over junk debt that the zombie debt buyers can not even prove – we need to have as much information as possible to counter these attacks and make the junk debt buyers follow the law.
This describes the problem:
Lately lenders have been clearing the cobwebs off charged-off accounts and selling old, unpaid debts to collection companies. These so-called “zombie debts” are the subject of the latest press releases making the finance writer rounds. (Cue the Fleshtones’ “I was a teenage zombie.”) It seems that deadbeat bill payers are increasingly getting calls from collection companies that want them to cough up the cash from bills they flaked on paying, some even more than a decade old. Last year more than $75 billion in old debts were sold to collections outfits for pennies on the dollar.
The problem with these ghosts of bills past is that many of them should still be flatlining. Lenders can keep after you to pay them back for as long as they want. But once they sell the debt to another company, that company must adhere to a statute of limitations and cease hounding consumers after a certain period of time. The amount of time depends on federal and state laws, but eventually, these debts, if sold to a collection entity, do die.
This describes the solution:
What should you do if you start getting calls from the debt demon dimension? Don’t say anything. Get whatever information you can from the caller (the amount of the original debt, the original lender), and check it against your credit file. (Here’s how long the reporting bureaus keep track of your bad deeds.) Don’t admit anything: The smallest slipup on the phone can revive that debt and refresh your marred credit record. And don’t fall for any frightful tactics collectors use, such as illegally “re-aging” debts, promising to wipe away a red checkmark on a credit report, or bait-and-switch credit card offers.
Junk or zombie debt buyers are not going anywhere – the problem is just increasing. It is more likely today than four years ago that you will receive a call or a letter or a lawsuit from one of these junk debt buyers. If you do, educate yourself by reading and by contacting a consumer attorney. The consumer attorneys we know will meet with you for a free consultation to explain your rights and options. Take advantage of that so you can be fully prepared and armed to kill any zombies that appear on your doorstep….
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