Ask The Get Out of Debt Experts Debt Collector Lawsuit

The Creditor Could Not Validate My Debt and Dropped The Suit. Will They Sue Again? – Beth

“Dear Steve,

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!


Dear Beth,

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.


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.


  • Steve,
    Thanks so very much for responding to my questions. I really appreciate the link to the MA info.  Sounds like a good idea. I had seen something about this on the net but could never find it again. Thank you, also, for telling me I can handle it! 🙂
    Is there anything I can do about the re-aging on my credit score? We are buying a house, fortunately my husband’s score is good enough for them to approve us through him.  (I remarried!) 
    I no longer use credit cards, haven’t for several years, have no car payments, bought my brother’s hand-me-down for cash.  No major debts for a long time now.  Just the odd doctor or dentist bill that insurance doesn’t pay and we pay those off quickly. I love not having debt!!
    I love your site! You are a very remarkable person to donate your time and advice for those of us who are not as savvy! Thank you for what you do!

    • The reading. Oops. forgot to address that. Yes, get a consolidated copy of all three credit reports and see who is reporting it. Then dispute the item with each credit bureau reporting it. You probably have a 75% chance of it being removed at first pass. The date reported should be the date the account first went delinquent.

      While you love not having debt, your credit score suffers. You can be both debt free and build a great credit score to help you at times when you want to buy a house or car. Good credit means lower rates and lower rates saves you loads of money. Read this guide

      Thank you so much for your kind words. You can help other as well here, just keep commenting and providing moral support.

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