What are the reprucussions for refusing to pay a collection debt?

I was working with a law office for a truck repossession I had 15-16 years ago. I paid them by check, for anywhere between $25 and $100 a month, for the last 10 years. The account has now been taken over by another group. The last communication I received from them stated that I once again owed the full balance, of a little over $18,000. I admit my own record keeping of this has been poor but I got very little communication i the past unless I was late with a check. How do I find proof of the money I paid? What if I refuse to pay?

Asked on June 11, 2012 under Bankruptcy Law, Maine


MD, Member, California Bar / FreeAdvice Contributing Attorney

Answered 8 years ago | Contributor

You really do need to dispute the debt with the credit reporting agencies showing this debt. That is the first step. Order your three credit reports (you get one free from each for every year) and locate the tradeline. Once you find it, you can dispute it online through the credit reporting agency and the agency must investigate. Put the onus on the collection agency to prove this debt. Worst case scenario, you indicate the statute of limitations has run and you are actually owed money, not the other way around.

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