Wht to do if I recently received a collection notice from a collection agency for a debt that has been settled years ago?

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Wht to do if I recently received a collection notice from a collection agency for a debt that has been settled years ago?

However, I do not have a copy of the old checks. If I send a cease and desist order should I put in there that the debt has been paid or just for them to cease and desist?

Asked on December 3, 2012 under Bankruptcy Law, Texas

Answers:

B.H.F., Member, Texas State Bar / FreeAdvice Contributing Attorney

Answered 8 years ago | Contributor

If you put on the letter that you are requesting a "cease communications" with you, they can still pursue other collection activities like reporting a delinquent account on your credit report.  Instead, start by sending them a notice that you dispute the debt as it has already been paid.  The burden then shifts to them to present you verification that the debt is still valid.  They cannot resume collection activities until they verify the debt is still valid and present you proof thereof.   When you send your request, send it certified so that you will have proof that you sent your dispute letter. 

Some less than reputable agencies will want to set you up on a payment plan while they are working on the verification.  You are not required to make any payments until they verify the debt.  If they refuse to accept your dispute, consider filing a complaint with the Texas Attorney General-- they have on online complaint system that's free.

You also mention that the debt is several years old... but you don't mention exactly how long ago it was.  If this is a pretty old account, you may want to have a consumer law attorney look at their collection notice, the verification you receive, and any other documentation that you can run down.  If the collection agency is trying to collect on a debt in which the statute of limitations has run, you may have a civil claim for violation of the federal or Texas version of the Debt Collection Practices Act.


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