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Can the Creditor Start the Clock on My Debt All Over Again? – Deb

“Dear Steve,

About 7 years ago I went through a nasty divorce. I ended up signing paperwork to just leave with my children and not pursue any compensation from marriage(of 11 years). A few months later, the nightmare began. I didnt realize I also was responsible for debt that had my name on it. I was a single mom, making minimum wage and unable to pay. I even turned my car in as a voluntary repossion because I knew I could not pay. Needless to say my credit went down the drain. No one wanted to hear my story, they just wanted to be paid and I coulnt do that. So I decided I would live a “cash only” life and wait it out until the time limits passed for them to pursue me.

I pulled my credit report last week and it appears that my creditors sold my accounts right before the 7 years for them to come off my credit. Now the collection agencies are showing the date as recent? Does this start the 7 years over again? Some day I would like to get back on my feet and maybe own a home, but I cant even imagine how many times these companies can do this!

Is that legal? Can they just make the clock start over? The debts are over 7 years old now and unfortunately I am not in any better shape financially. Can I do anything about it or is it just a waste of my time?

Thanks in advance for any advice.


Dear Deb,

According to the Fair Debt Collection Practices Act an account placed for collection or charged off cannot be reported for more than seven years from the date it was first reported.

Contact each of the credit bureaus which are reporting this information incorrectly and point out the problem to them. They should correct the information at that point.

Living on a cash basis only will not help to rebuild your credit. You will need to think about improving your credit rating in order to prepare for a better financial future. You can follow the simple process here.

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Please update me on your progress by posting updates here in the comments section of your question. I’m very interested in how this works out for you.


You are not alone. I'm here to help. There is no need to suffer in silence. We can get through this. Tomorrow can be better than today. Don't give up.

About the author

Steve Rhode

Steve Rhode is the Get Out of Debt Guy and has been helping good people with bad debt problems since 1994. You can learn more about Steve, here.

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