Will this Zombie Debt ever die?
March 18, 2010 5:03 PM   Subscribe

The debt has been deleted from all 3 credit bureaus after having been successfully disputed, and now, all of a sudden, the collector has come a-knockin'. How do I keep Zombie Debt from trying to eat my brains?

I am under the impression that the act of deleting this Zombie Debt from all 3 credit bureaus should "clear my name" but the fact that the collection agency has renewed interest in collecting this debt leaves me worried (and annoyed). Reading around online has only made me more confused about the issue.

To be absolutely clear: the debt used to exist as reported to Equifax, TransUnion and Experian. I initiated a dispute through each credit bureau and in each case the bureaus found the debt to be invalidated and thus deleted. This was done months ago, but after receiving two voicemails and one postal letter from the collections agency this week I decided to check each of my reports again. They remain clean, with no evidence at all of the debt in question.

Given that,

1. Do they have any recourse?

2. Is what they are doing legal, or simply annoying?

3. Can I make them (and the debt) go away for good?
posted by fictionalcara to Work & Money (5 answers total) 6 users marked this as a favorite
You could send them this letter to make them shut up.
posted by selton at 5:09 PM on March 18, 2010 [1 favorite]

As far as I know, disputing the debt with the credit reporting agencies, with the result that the debt was removed from your report, only shows that the collection agency failed to provide validation of the debt (which may mean that they CAN'T prove it, or that it just wasn't worth their while to do so). I don't think that it stops the collection agency from turning around and selling the debt to some OTHER collection agency, who could eventually add it back to your credit report.

As far as strategies for killing the (supposed?) debt dead, these are the folks to ask.
posted by Wavelet at 5:26 PM on March 18, 2010

Write a letter requesting written proof that you owe the debt to the collections agency and send it certified mail. They are then legally obligated to provide written proof that you owe this debt, or stop contacting you.
posted by kdar at 6:49 PM on March 18, 2010

Disputing a credit report entry is not the same as disputing the debt itself. How a credit bureau reports a debt on its files doesn't prove the validity or otherwise of the debt itself. You need to find out whether the debt itself is legally valid and collectible and then proceed from there. Ignoring it in the hope it will just go away is never a good idea, and can lead to more damage on your credit report in the form of a judgment against you.

What you haven't said is that you have paid this money or that you think you never owed it in the first place. You've made no mention of why you believe you don't owe this money. If you did owe it at one time and believe that you no longer do, then you need to make sure that your belief is legally sound. If you do owe the money, nobody can guarantee you that the collection agency will not pursue the debt to judgment. Either way, you need to take control of this situation - right now, the collection agency has the control of it.
posted by Lolie at 10:40 PM on March 18, 2010

As suggested by kdar ask for written proof that you owe the dept. That will settle the matter.
posted by knz at 3:18 AM on March 19, 2010

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