Should I fight a false debt claim or just let the statute of limitations run out?

UPDATED: Jan 29, 2011

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Should I fight a false debt claim or just let the statute of limitations run out?

When I left college, I was careful to withdraw before the deadline(after which I would still owe tuition), and left the school debt free. Later I started getting phone calls from a third-party collector. I wrote the school. They claimed to have no record of my withdrawal. It’s been 6 months since I’ve heard from the collector and I have about 8 months until the statute of limitations is up. However I just got a letter from the the state of IL saying that they are giving my tax refund to the school. Should I protest and risk being pursued? Or cut my losses and hope to fly under the radar until the SOL runs out?

Asked on January 29, 2011 under Bankruptcy Law, Illinois


MD, Member, California Bar / FreeAdvice Contributing Attorney

Answered 12 years ago | Contributor

You need to find the documentation to show you left the school before the withdrawal date, go to the school and show exactly that documentation.  Otherwise, you should deny the charges, either wait until the statute of limitations runs and then file claims through your credit reports or contact the Attorney General in your state, explain your situation.  Oftentimes, the state's consumer protection laws can help you, especially if you have educational charges you do not need to pay back.  I would also contact your state's department of education and get this straightened out because now your taxes are being impacted, which could harm your credit reports more than this collections matter. If you are still in fear this is not enough, contact your state's bar association and see what low cost or no costs services you qualify for (if any) and see if an attorney can help you.

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