How long can a collection agency try to collect on a debt?

I owned a business (sole proprietorship) which was closed. All but one debt was paid off. The business has been closed for 12 years, and about 4 years after it closed, I got invoices for an unpaid phone bill. I still haven’t paid it, and strangely it has not showing up on my credit report for any of the 3 bureaus. I have very good credit and this collection is just not on there. I heard that 7 years was the limit that an agency can collect on something. I have no intentions of paying it since its not on my reports, but I am tired of getting bills from this company, and have asked them to stop sending me bills, but they keep on coming anyway! Any ideas?? Thanks.

...asked on May 19th, 2013 @ 8:34 am in Loan - Business

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They will eventually start putting it on your credit report. Why don’t you quit being a deadbeat and pay YOUR bill? You ran up the bill why shouldn’t you pay it? Geez, I hate people like you! Also, even if they haven’t put it on yourc redit yet, they can put it on and make it retroactive. Which means, they could put it on and show that you have had the bill for 12 years and never bothered to pay it. See how good your credit is then!

...answered by Flower Girl on May 19, 2013 @ 8:52 am

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They will collect your debt after you are dead and they get their mits in the estate…. I just wonder why they have not turned it over to collections??? Oh–well…
You could pay the bill???

...answered by Gerald on May 19, 2013 @ 9:09 am

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Generally the credit reporting agencies show 5 years of payments and charges, since it was 12 years ago it likely won’t show up.

...answered by William on May 19, 2013 @ 9:55 am

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If it’s not on the big 3 report , I don’t sweat it . . .

AND someone called me about some ancient gym bill in my name ( from a town I never lived in ).
Soooo, I figure it was an ID theft artist , looking for info to rip people off .

Old bills can be hanging around collection agencies and employees can be crooks that do ID theft also .

Some college clerks sell name / ss info for $ $ $ $ .
I figured that one out after there were attempts to open cell phone acounts under my maident name with my ss # , where I went to college 3 decades ago .


...answered by kate on May 19, 2013 @ 9:58 am

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This can stay on your credit for up to ten years. As long as the company keeps this as an open debt they can call you forever. Good luck.

...answered by julie A on May 19, 2013 @ 10:42 am

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The seven year limit you’re referring to applies to negative activity on your credit report. For example a late payment or bankrupcy will drop off your report after seven years.

BUT! that doesn’t really apply to your situation. You’re lucky that the collection agency hasn’t reported you for this debt. Regardless of what you’ve been reported for, you still owe this company for the services they provided. They still provided you with a service and you have never held up your end of the agreement by paying them.

The only way to get the company off your back is to settle the debt. You do have a small advantage since you’ve let this linger for such a long time, the agency is probably more willing to settle for a significantly lesser amount that what you owe. You’ve got to get in touch with them to talk about what they’re willing to accept. You could be presently suprised by how little they might accept to settle the debt.

But don’t assume that just because you don’t see them on your report that they’ll just go away. If they’ve never reported you, they still could. The last thing you want is for them to report you now, it would look terrible on your credit to have it reported now with a unsettled account that’s 12 years old!

...answered by Liz on May 19, 2013 @ 11:17 am

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you might call the company and enquire about the bill and tell
them everything you did ,they might just give up on it or not.
talk to them .

...answered by atlantismeditation@sbcglobal.net on May 19, 2013 @ 11:41 am

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I do not think they can collect after 12 years, but better confirm this with Citizens Advice as the law is different in different states.

You made a mistake contacting them as you have now confirmed you are receiving their letters and they can continue harassing you. Unless the bill is big, in which case they may send a collector to you, start returning their letters marked “Not at this adders, return to sender”

...answered by Franco on May 19, 2013 @ 12:34 pm

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You are better off to pay it. It’s your debt and you should take responsibility for it. Not only that, there is a chance they can report it to your credit and you are risking your “good credit”. Good credit is hard to get and I think it’s foolish to risk it over a phone bill. Pay it.

As a side not, I’ve seen credit reports where people saw a collection agency on there and told me it was from an account 15 yrs ago. This happens because a company might write it off and sell it to a collection agency. Then 5 yrs later that collection agency sells it to another one for pennies on the dollar and the vicious cycle continues.

...answered by curse08 on May 19, 2013 @ 1:26 pm

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OK, how about a real answer without all the preaching ?

The statute of limitations for most states is 6 year. Each state is different so you will need to look yours up…but none of them are 12 years…you are safe.

The SOL is the legal timeframe a company has to sue you for a debt. If they don’t do it, they forfeit the right to collect.

As for credit reporting, that time is 7 years, beginning from the date of the delinquency. Again, this will never appear on your credit report.

But here comes the sticky part…..

You say this is a business debt? The FDCA does not protect businesses from debt collections. They can continue tho send you letters or call you as much as they want. Just send them one more letter informing them that you know your rights, and all they are doing is wasting postage and killing a lot of trees….because they can not sue you for this debt.

...answered by Studly on May 19, 2013 @ 2:24 pm

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Studly gave you good advice…So I’ll yield my answer…

...answered by OC1999 on May 19, 2013 @ 2:28 pm

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When I spoke to my lawyer before doing my bankruptcy, he said that any phone bills would not show up on my credit history and that if I owed any money to the phone co. that I had to let him know so it could be included in my bk. He didn’t say why phone bills don’t go on your report, they just don’t.

...answered by Jill S on May 19, 2013 @ 2:55 pm

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