Is Zombie Debt Coming back to Stay with You? Tips on how to Deal with Debt Scavengers

Litigant recently called me in a panic. He said he just got called by an attorney from a business collection agencies agency and they said they would file a lawsuit against him in 30 days if he didn’t pay $3, 000 he to be paid on an old credit card. However, these were happy to negotiate funds if he could make the entire payment by the end of the week. How nice of them.

They had quite a story. They said if he didn’t settle the debt, it would be used in the original creditor who woul 破產 iva. file a lawsuit. And that my friend would be susceptible to further interest and penalties and attorney’s fees and that they could garnish his wages. Scary.

“What do i do?!?!?! Can they really garnish my wages?!?!?! How much must i be satisfied with?!?!?! Will you negotiate this for me?!?!?! inch he said.

I told him to take a inhale and I asked him a few pre-determined questions. I could discern that the last payment he made was in Come early july 2006. That’s pretty old debt. Sounds like zombie debt to me.

Who are zombie collectors?

It’s important to know who these companies are and how they operate. Generally, zombie collectors (also known as debt scavengers or junk debt collectors) buy early debt for pennies on the dollar from the original creditors who have long since charged off this debt. So hardly any money they collect is worth it to them. By many descriptions, the statute of limitations (i. e. the time within which a lawsuit Must be filed) has recently expired. If the statute of limitations has expired, the debt collectors have no right to hardly any money from the consumer. So it will be called zombie debt because it is “dead” debt that is brought back alive by these debt scavengers. Unfortunately, collecting zombie debt is big business because many consumers don’t know their protection under the law and want to protect their credit.

How do zombie collectors try to collect?

Having bought this debt, these companies try to collect hardly any money they can by selecting consumers they believe will most likely pay them any sum of money. Now how do they do it? First they frighten you. They will make you believe they are lawyers even if they aren’t, they will endanger to file a lawsuit, ruin your credit, use your assets, garnish your wages, and put a lien on your house. Next, they will work like they are doing which you favor by accepting much less than they allege your debt, they will make unwanted phone calls, they will this helps you small amount of time frames to pressure you into settling which causes the area consult an attorney or do any research, and they’ll lie. Sound dirty? It is.

The desire to resolve the issue avoiding further headaches is so strong that many consumers end up settling the debt even with they know its zombie debt. Just the threat of a lawsuit or salary garnishment will do to persuade consumers to pay hundreds or even thousands of dollars to stay the debt and protect their credit. It’s this that these debt scavengers rely on.

What do you do if you get a call from a zombie debt collector?

Firstly all-don’t panic! Take the time to do some research and understand your protection under the law. Keep reading for tips and guidelines to follow when dealing with these “debt scavengers. inch

Do not assume they are who they say they are , nor verify ANY information!

Who are these people? How do you know this is legitimate? Have you done business with them? How do you know it’s not a scam? How do you it’s not the result of identity theft? Ask them who they are and for contact information. And talk to them as you don’t know who they are or what they are talking about. They will try to have you verify information. Do not give them any information , nor verify anything! And I am talking about ANYTHING! Remember, you don’t know who they are and they are calling about a debt you know longer owe. (See the “Do not acknowledge the debt! inch section below. ) Just get information from them, hang up the phone, and then do some research first. They will try to use any information you give them against you. Warn other family members or roommates not to give them any information.

Do not assume that you owe this debt (or that they can prove it).

Wish zombie debt collector is calling you, doesn’t mean that your debt the debt. Don’t believe for a second that the original bank or debt scavenger has all of their paperwork and evidence together. Besides being prohibited by the statute of limitations, the debt has been dismissed in bankruptcy, or settled by agreement with the bank.

Remember the Robo-Signing scandal where bank employees signed affidavits without making sure any of the information in the individual? Financial institutions, including zombie collectors, can be sloppy and may never verify any of the information they have. After all, their goal is to have you pay them anything and they have no purpose of ever filing a lawsuit. They count on consumers not so sure their protection under the law and hope no one calls them on it.

Can they prove they bought this debt? They need to prove that you lawfully owe this debt, that they lawfully purchased this debt, and that the debt was lawfully used in them. They would need to prove this in court if they filed a lawsuit, if you do not ignore it and they get a default judgment against you.

Do not assume they may have the right person.

Most of the time, debt scavengers do not have current contact information. They have whatever information was on the account from years ago. They will then try to find the right person. As you can guess, they often times don’t have the right person and are just fishing around. So even if you had a charge card from the bank they are searching about, it doesn’t mean they may have the right person. This is another reason not to talk to them or give them any information.

Determine if the statute of limitations has expired.

I called the debt collector back on behalf of my friend and they tried to tell me that the statute of limitations runs from the date of the last activity on the account, which was when the original creditor charged off the debt. Statutes of issue are laws that set the time within which a legal action must be filed, after which no legal action can be brought regardless of whether a reason of action existed. In other words, if you don’t file a lawsuit within the time set by the statute of limitations, the court will not allow you to bring an action.

First of all, this doesn’t make any sense, because the creditor would control the statute of limitations by waiting to charge off the debt. Could you imagine a creditor filing a lawsuit 40 years later because they we hadn’t yet decided to charge off the debt? In California, the statute of limitations begins to run on the date of default, which is the date that the consumer should have made a payment, but didn’t. This puts the creditor on notice that it must take action to accumulate the debt. The statute of limitations is two years if there is no written agreement between you and your creditor. If there is a written agreement, the statute of limitations is four years. If the creditor obtained a judgment against you in court, the statute of limitations is 10 years, but can be restored. Statutes of issue vary widely from state to convey, so you must check the laws in your state to determine the time limits applicable to your situation.

Community . is a infringement of the Fair Business collection agencies Practices Act to file a lawsuit after the statute of limitations has run, the sleaziest companies file legal cases anyway in the hopes that the consumer doesn’t respond to the lawsuit and the collection agency ends up getting a default judgment contrary to the consumer. This will then turn the previously uncollectable debt into very collectable debt. It is also important to note that although the statute of limitations prevents debt scavengers from filing a lawsuit, they are still permitted to try and collect the debt. However, many of their tactics violate a law called the Fair Business collection agencies Practices Act.

If you have determined that the statute of limitations has expired, then this is clearly zombie debt. If you have determined that the statute of limitations haven’t expired, then this article is not for you. In any case, you may want to contact an attorney for further consultation and legal counsel. Many lawyers provide a free consultation so you should take advantage. Search for an attorney that practices consumer protection under the law, financial debt, business collection agencies, debt help, Fair Business collection agencies Practices Act, or even bankruptcy in your area.

Do not make any payment whatsoever!

Popular trick of debt scavengers is to harrass you into saying yes to a payment plan and to immediately make a “good faith” payment of $10 or some other bit. They will try to get your bank account number and course-plotting information. This is a mistake! Do not make any payment no matter how small the amount or whatever they promise you. Do not negotiate. Do not make any deals. Do not agree to a payment plan. I think you get the idea.

Doing this will bring back the debt, which is sometimes called recognizing or reaffirming the debt. Even confessing that you owe the debt could be used against you. Often, it can be difficult for most people to say “no. inch Most people don’t want to be “dead beats. inch So it is important to remember that you are not being a dead beat because you do not owe this debt.

So i called these debt scavengers back. These were comfortable on the phone. I asked them for specific information about the debt these were calling about. Without confessing anything, I asked about the last transactions and transaction dates on the account they allege my client owes. Obviously, the statute of limitations had expired. I advised them that it is a infringement of the Fair Business collection agencies Practices Act to file a lawsuit or even endanger to file a lawsuit after the statute of limitations has expired.

She said the statute of limitations runs from the date of the last activity on the account and that was when the debt was sold to the business collection agencies agency! They’ve got some neurological!

I asked them to send me a letter making sure this debt and stating when the statute of limitations ends. She said “sure” and took down my address and cell phone number. We haven’t heard from her since, and probably never will.

If they think collecting from you is more trouble than it’s worth, they’ll move about the next poor victim that doesn’t know their protection under the law.

Final Thought

I have heard banks talk about a meaning obligation to pay the debt. Maybe to the original creditor (and what a strong maybe), but certainly not to the junk debt buyer. If the original creditor or business collection agencies agency to be paid you money, but the statute of limitations had run, do you think they would pay you? This is not about morality, it’s about the law.

As consumers, the best thing to do is to know your protection under the law. Please feel free to share this article with your family and friends for them to protect themselves and eventually put these zombie collectors out of business.

Linh T. Nguyen has been a California attorney for 14 years and can help you fight zombie collectors. If a zombie debt collector contacts you or someone you know, feel free to contact me. You have more protection under the law and more actions you can take than those discussed here. I’d be happy to talk to the debt collection agency for you or give you more information. Most of the time, the debt collector never calls again.

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