Do I really owe you?
September 19, 2013 8:27 AM   Subscribe

Once a debt has gone to collections, is there any reason to pay it off?

Asking for a friend. A store credit-card debt from more than 10 years ago has been in collections for some time. Periodically, offers will come in to settle for some smaller % of the original debt. Other than to end the annoyance factor, are there any practical reasons why this debt should be settled?

The credit hit has already occured, and in fact this debt doesn't even show up on credit records anymore. Will paying the collections agency off offer any benefit? Anything not being considered here? This is in Florida.

posted by eas98 to Work & Money (14 answers total) 6 users marked this as a favorite
Best answer: Absolutely NO Benefit.

Pretend it never happened, move on with life.
posted by Ruthless Bunny at 8:33 AM on September 19, 2013 [1 favorite]

Best answer: I'm a Florida lawyer with a creditor's rights practice. But, this is just legal information. I'm not your lawyer or your friend's lawyer.

Florida has a five-year statute of limitations on breach of written contract. However, this period can sometimes be reset if partial payment is made. So, the claim may be time-barred or it may not. Your friend may wish to send a letter of dispute pursuant to the Fair Debt Collection Practices Act. Many forms are available online.
posted by Tanizaki at 8:35 AM on September 19, 2013 [2 favorites]

Anything not being considered? Um, yes, ethics and responsibility.
posted by Dansaman at 8:48 AM on September 19, 2013 [24 favorites]

Yeah, I'm with Dansaman. If you spent the money under an agreement to pay it back, that is the ethical thing to do.
posted by michellenoel at 8:55 AM on September 19, 2013 [2 favorites]

Best answer: It's worth noting that if it's off your credit report, paying it may well cause it to reappear. Send a do not call letter and move on with your life.
posted by MeghanC at 9:01 AM on September 19, 2013 [1 favorite]

If you are looking to obtain credit, it would be beneficial to pay the debt if it will be removed.

Google for "pay for delete".
posted by doomtop at 9:02 AM on September 19, 2013 [2 favorites]

If you can afford to pay it off, then I think doing so to get rid of the annoyance factor would be reason enough.
posted by cosmicbeast at 9:03 AM on September 19, 2013

If you can afford to pay it off, then I think doing so to get rid of the annoyance factor would be reason enough.

If you are only concerned about annoyance, you can write a letter certified return receipt requested to the debt collector demanding that they cease all contact and they are required to do so under the FDCPA. After that, they can only contact you to either tell you once that they are ceasing communication or to notify you of a lawsuit.

If they continue contacting you otherwise, they might end up owing you $1,000.
posted by doomtop at 9:14 AM on September 19, 2013 [2 favorites]

seconding tanizaki.
posted by bruce at 11:01 AM on September 19, 2013

Seconding Ruthless Bunny! I had some bad-decision credit cards when I was 19 that eventually got charged off and dropped of my credit. They had a $1000 limit and I just got a letter the other day (I turn 31 next week!) asking for $1600 to settle. NO effing way, man.
posted by masquesoporfavor at 12:38 PM on September 19, 2013 [1 favorite]

Best answer: Don't even bother. They have resold it a number of times. You will send money and nothing will happen, they will transfer it to another account. STOP all contact with them. No phones, calls, emails, mail..nothing. Like you dropped off the planet.

Wait 7 years and then write to the credit reporting company-a strong letter stating that it is against Federal laws to report such stuff. Then report the credit reporting agency to BBR.

It will dissappear.
posted by ladoo at 7:09 PM on September 19, 2013 [2 favorites]

Response by poster: Thanks for the responses. I appreciate them.
posted by eas98 at 6:08 AM on September 20, 2013

HAHA I just got a letter today. It was a $1500 credit card and they are "willing to settle" for $6,000. It is not even on my credit and there is no way in hell they're getting my money. Don't pay 'em and wait it out.
posted by masquesoporfavor at 5:29 PM on September 20, 2013

Make very very sure that you do NOT initiate contact. That will push you back another 7 years.
posted by ladoo at 12:29 PM on November 9, 2013

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