This again? I already paid you.
September 15, 2012 12:49 PM   Subscribe

I got a response to a debt verification letter I sent. What's my next move?

I recently received a debt collection letter. After some googling I sent them a debt verification letter (as I had no idea what they were on about).

Then I got an itemized statement from them. Showing that the account in question was opened in 1998 and Charged Off in January 2000.

After some thought I remembered having a credit card, which went to collections, that fits this timeline. But I paid this debt. Back in 2000 or 2001 I was contacted by a law firm and negotiated a settlement to avoid going to court. Of course I no longer have any paper work regarding this.

None of this appears on my credit report. So what is going on here? And what do I do now?

I live in Utah if that makes any difference.
posted by zinon to Work & Money (3 answers total) 2 users marked this as a favorite
It's a 12 year old debt. If its unsecured debt like a credit card, that's well past the statute if limitations. Talk to a lawyer. Don't correspond any further with them because there are various things you an do that will reset that expiration date.
posted by empath at 12:53 PM on September 15, 2012 [6 favorites]

+1 for empath's statement. Secure a lawyer, if it is cost effective. Try to hunt down any remaining correspondence pertaining to the 2000/2001 settlement you agreed to.
posted by fieldcannotbeblank at 1:18 PM on September 15, 2012

The lost settlement agreement is going to be key. While the statute of limitations would generally be a defense (varies from state to state, but mine is five years for breach of a written contract), that settlement agreement may have contained an explicit waiver of the statute of limitations defense. I do a lot of creditor's rights work, and I have added such clauses to settlement agreements.

Also, the defense can be waived by actions inconsistent with an intent to waive the defense. I do not know if your sending of the debt verification letter would be such a waiver because I have not (and will not do) the research. If I were the creditor, I might make the argument that the request for the verification letter reflects an intent to defend on the merits rather than on the statute of limitations because the information you would expect to receive in response would have no bearing on a statute of limitations defense.

Will hiring a lawyer cost more than this alleged debt? I would certainly be asking for a four-figure retainer in this case.
posted by Tanizaki at 1:49 PM on September 15, 2012

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