Do you have a question about consumer credit? You may find an immediate answer by using the search engine. If you can't find what you're looking for, please fill out the form, being as specific as possible.
Please note: The Ask Experian team cannot respond to each question individually. However, if your question is of interest to a wide audience of consumers, the Experian team will include it in a future column.
The information contained in this column if for educational purposes only and is not legal advice. You should consult your own attorney or seek specific advice from a legal professional regarding your particular situation.
Please understand that Experian policies change over time. Column responses reflect Experian policy at the time of writing. While maintained for your information, archived responses may not reflect current Experian policy.
Topics addressed on July 9, 2008:
Collection agency can try to recover 10-year-old debt
My son has an account that was delinquent and charged off over 10 years ago. Yet, this evening we received a call from a credit agency looking for him regarding this debt. This is ridiculous! They said that they can continue to try to contact him no matter what. This debt is over 10 years old. What rights does my son have?
Some states have statutory time limits for debt collection. I suggest you check your state’s laws in that regard. If there is not state-mandated time limit, the collection agency has the right to try to collect on the debt your son owes. The collection agency purchased the account, and if he doesn’t pay the debt, it will have to absorb the loss.
However, the account will no longer appear on your son’s credit report. Collection accounts are deleted seven years from the original delinquency date of the debt. That ensures the collection account is deleted at the same time as the original account that your son failed to pay and that was subsequently charged off as a bad debt.
In most instances, collection efforts stop after the seven year period because the chances of collecting the debt become less and less the older it gets. If there is a chance some of the debt may be recovered, they may still try, though.
I’m assuming that your son is an adult and that he was not a minor when the original account was opened. If so, your son has two choices. He can either pay the debt, or he can ignore the debt collector’s calls.
As a parent, I know that you want to help your son. But, in this case, he is in the wrong. He owes a debt and the collection agency has the right to try to convince him to pay it.
Thanks for asking.
- The "Ask Experian" team