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Zombies seem to be popping up everywhere these days, and could even be making an appearance when it comes to your personal finances. With Halloween right around the corner, you may even have seem some Zombies running around your neighborhood asking unsuspecting homeowners for candy. While these kids in costume may seem cute and harmless, “zombie debt” is quite the opposite, and this post is designed to help you learn whether you may have zombie debt and how you can deal with it.
Zombie debt refers to debt that is very old and may even have become uncollectible due to the statute of limitations. In recent years, collection agencies have increasingly been buying up such debt for pennies on the dollar and often engaging in aggressive or even illegal methods in order to collect. Because the right to collect on the debt is often purchased for a fraction of the original amount owed, this practice can be very profitable for debt collectors and often they have little to lose and everything to gain in attempting to collect. As a consumer, knowing your obligations and rights under the law can help you protect yourself from companies attempting to collect on debt for which you are not liable.
Known colloquially as debt scavengers, these types of collection agencies often try to collect on the following types of zombie debt:
· Debt which is outside of the statute of limitations – a creditor has a limited amount of time to sue you for the collection of an unpaid debt. Importantly, this does not eliminate the debt, but limits the remedies a creditor has by which to collect on the debt. They can still try and get you to voluntarily pay the debt, but may not sue you. If they do, they may be in violation of federal law governing how debt can be collected.
· Debt that has been discharged through bankruptcy – When an individual files for Chapter 7 bankruptcy, most unsecured debts are discharged. Sometimes, debt scavengers try and collect on this type of debt.
· Debt that belongs to someone else – Identity theft, creditor errors, or resold debt that a new agency is trying to collect on can sometimes cause collection agencies to attempt to collect from you.
Unfortunately for consumers, these types of debt collectors use aggressive and legally questionable tactics to get you to pay up on debt for which you are not liable. In addition, there are ways a consumer can revive old debt creating new liability for debts that were previously uncollectible. Consumers have rights under federal law, and before you take any action regarding a questionable debt it would be best to contact an attorney who understands consumer protection. The Westbrook Law Group practices solely in the area of bankruptcy law and can help you determine what rights you may have against an aggressive creditor. We are conveniently located in downtown St. Charles, Missouri, and also have a satellite office in Troy. We offer free consultations and have evening and weekend appointments available upon request. To schedule a free initial consultation with an experienced St. Louis Bankruptcy attorney, call us today at (636) 493-9231, or fill out our contact form available to the right and a member of our staff will be in contact with you soon. Remember, your solution starts here.