What do you do if you get a call from a debt collector for a debt you don’t remember, still can’t pay, or one that you paid off long ago? Check the date on it. If the debt is over 4 years old, there is a good chance that the statute of limitations has expired, and a collector can’t continue to collect or attempt to sue after that point.
Despite the law, there are collection agencies that will try to continue collecting on a debt long after any expiration date has passed. They’ll file hoping that you won’t find out or show up in court. That’s where the Fair Debt Collection Practices Act (FDCPA) comes in.
The Statute of Limitations
The state of Florida allows a creditor or agency a four-year time period to sue for a debt. After the four-year period, the debt is considered “expired.” The collection actions after the four-year period is considered “abusive behavior” under the FDCPA.
For open-ended accounts (i.e., credit cards) and oral contracts, Florida’s statute of limitations is four years. The clock begins ticking on the date you made your last payment. However, if you make any payment after that, the four-year limit will start over. For instance, if you are close to the end of (or over) the four-year mark and make even a small, $5 payment in an attempt to settle the debt, the four-year period will start over, at day one, adding more years to the limitation period.
If the statute of limitations is over, and you still find yourself being sued, don’t ignore it. The court can issue a summary judgment, allowing the collector to issue wage garnishments and access your bank accounts to satisfy the expired debt. Collectors file these expired-debt suits hoping that you won’t show up in court to defend yourself.
The FDCPA prohibits collectors from attempting to collect a debt that they cannot legally have. If an agency has attempted to collect, you can pursue a claim under the FDCPA.
Stop Collection Abuse
Pursuing an expired debt is defined as abusive behavior under the Fair Debt Collections Practices Act (FDCPA). You have the right to file a legal claim of your own in addition to having the case against you dismissed. Be sure to have a qualified Florida FDCPA attorney on your side who can help you seek maximum compensation for your claim.
We have produced many successful outcomes for consumers just like you at The Law Offices of Jibrael S. Hindi. Millions of dollars have been recovered for FDCPA violations, and you can be the next to benefit from an experienced FDCPA attorney. Do not put up with the demands and harassment of debt collectors. Contact us today for a free case evaluation. Jibrael does not collect a penny until you get paid!