Can a debt collector collect on a debt if I don’t remember it and they can’t provide proof of the debt?

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Can a debt collector collect on a debt if I don’t remember it and they can’t provide proof of the debt?

I have a debt that started out as a $200 credit card bill. I don’t remember from about 3 years ago or so. Recently a debt collector in a law office called me and said that I owed $1000 because of this debt and charge off. I was told by a business owner friend that they won’t do anything but they threatened to send it to local attorney. Is there a 4 year statue of limitations in CA? And does that start at charge off? Also, I requested a proof of debt and they said they didn’t have any info and if I made them do that they won’t work with me. Is it likely they will sue?

Asked on October 30, 2010 under Bankruptcy Law, California

Answers:

M.T.G., Member, New York Bar / FreeAdvice Contributing Attorney

Answered 10 years ago | Contributor

Write a letter by certified mail return receipt requested to the law office collector and tell them that you are disputing the debt and that you would like to see proof of the original credit agreement.  That you believe that there has been a mistake made and that this may be a case of credit card fraud or identity theft.  That unless and until they produce the agreement that you can not discuss any form of settlement.  That the proof is your right under the law and if they continue to deny you that right and threaten you by asserting that right that they are violating the Fair Debt Collection Practices act and you will be reporting them not only to the appropriate federal agency but the local bar association and grievance committee.  See what they say then. God luck.


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