I was married for 17 years and we always had awful credit scores/debts. I basically “robbed Peter to pay Paul.” I got divorced in 2002, left with just what I could haul.
Continuing my survival strategy, I used my credit cards (none with more than $2000 limit) to purchase necessities. I fell into the old paying-the-minimum-but-the-late-fees-put-me-over-my-limit, which in turn caused me to accrue over the limit fees.
At one point, I sold what little amount of jewelry I had for $52 just to make it for a week or so.
I finally just couldn’t pay anymore and the collections began. In about 2004 or so, I contacted ACCC, (forget what it stands for) and they contacted my credit card companies, all of which agreed to a payment plan, Sears, Citibank and a local department store. At about the same time this all came about, Sears charged off my debt and declined to participate in the consolidation plan.
At the time, I thought if they didn’t want to participate and the debt had been “charged off”, then I wouldn’t worry about it. It took me about three years but I paid off what I owed, but for the Sears account. I ran my credit reports, closed old accounts, took the little course in debt management offered by ACCC.
Then, I began receiving letters from NCO. I didn’t even open them for a long time because I had no idea what they were. At some point I figured out it was the same amount as the Sears debt, but still refused to acknowledge because I hadn’t made any debt with them and was under the false assumption that Sears had “charged it off” and I didn’t owe it anymore.
So, about three years ago, I received a court summons, saying I was being sued by NCO and they were being represented by Buffaloe and Associates in Nashville (I’m in Knoxville). I appeared in court and spoke with the attorney representing them. I advised him I didn’t owe this company anything because I never made any agreement with the and that Sears had “charged off” the debt. (This is when I began learning about junk debt buyers and how they can do this!) Since I refused to acknowledge the debt, he rescheduled the court date.
I appeared again, after praying, praying, praying. When I arrived, he told me that NCO had not provided proper paperwork and that the case was being dismissed, but that it could be “reopened at anytime in the future.” I thanked the Lord and skipped out of the courthouse.
Finally, my questions!
1. If they dismissed the case, can it really be reopened at anytime?
2. They are re-aging the debt on my credit score every month or so. If I refuse to acknowledge the debt, can they do this indefinitely? The original debt is about seven years old now.
Sorry for such a long post!
It appears you got lucky and the debt owner identified they could not properly validate the debt at the time. That doesn’t mean they won’t be able to if they get the appropriate records to confirm their chain of title and details on the account.
Until the statute of limitations expires on the account they could sue you and after that time they could attempt to collect from you, forever. If you make a payment or acknowledge the debt it can start the statute of limitations over again.
What I suspect may happen is that the current debt owner my package it up with a bunch of other debts they want to dump and this process may start over again with a new debt buyer. But it sounds like you know what to do to handle it. If you go to ask for validation again, here is a recent article that will help to know what to ask for.
Please post your responses and follow-up messages to me on this in the comments section below.