Once a debt surpasses the statute of limitations in Missouri, a debt collector loses the right to sue you for payment. Any debt collector threatening to sue you beyond that statute of limitation has violated the Fair Debt Collection Practices Act.
Although you may still have a moral obligation to pay off the debt, you will not have a legal obligation.
In Missouri various debts each carry a different statute of limitations. The federal laws limit how much time a debt collector can utilize the legal system in an effort to collect on those debts. Missouri, however, does not regulate collection companies.
In Missouri, a debt collector may legally seek repayment of rents, payment for money or properties or collection of debt on account (in writing) for up to 10 years. Written and oral contracts may be legally collected up to five years.
If you are dealing with debt collectors and overwhelmed trying to decide what to do, don’t panic. There are steps you can take to help deal with your debt.
Before talking with debt collectors, know your rights. The Fair Debt Collection Practices Act placed limits on how the debt collectors can contact you and how they can deal with you when they do reach you.
It is crucial to know what you can afford to pay. Whether it is a lump sum to settle an amount or a monthly payment that you can afford, it is important to know what you can offer. It is not helpful to go into a discussion not having a good grasp on what expenses you have and what you owe.
Equally as important, you need to know what you owe overall. Make sure you the debt is yours. Everyone makes mistakes, but you don’t want to be held responsible for another person’s debt. Even honest mistakes may have a debt collector after you instead of someone else. If you don’t think you owe the debt, let them know.
It is also important to let them know if you can’t pay the debt. While they are legally allowed to contact you, they may decide it isn’t worth their time or effort to continue to contact you.
If you are struggling with past due accounts and debt collectors, call our offices today. Brent Westbrook has represented more than 700 clients and has developed a reputation as an excellent bankruptcy attorney. Call him to discuss your options.