Old debts don’t live forever.
The shell of the debt may hang around, like this mummy, but inside the shell, the debt is dead.
But just like a bad mummy movie, old, dead debt can be brought back to life.
All it takes is an attempt on your part to be honorable , or an attempt by a debt collector to con you, and you can give otherwise dead debt a new life.
Because, in many states, the statute of limitations is reset when you make a payment on a debt that is otherwise non collectible.
How old debts get new life
The debt collector on the phone has a tough job: he has to convince you to write a check on a debt you haven’t been paying.
Suing you takes a long time and costs money.
So it’s cheaper if he can persuade you to mail or wire him some money.
Often, the collector tries to frighten or shame you into paying. He doesn’t care that you probably aren’t paying because the money isn’t really available under today’s circumstances. That’s your problem.
After all, he’ll tell you, this is your debt and your responsibility.
Often as part of the conversation about settlement or payment over time, the collector asks that you make a small payment, to show your good faith.
Which of us doesn’t want to act in good faith?
It’s a great pitch.
Only, that payment may revive the debt and endow it with a brand new set of years in which the debt can be collected. [Read more…]