In previous articles we’ve talked about the statute of limitations on a debt. To review, the statute of limitations is the time period in which a debt collector can sue you to collect a debt. Oftentimes debt collectors will still try to collect a debt after the time period has run out. This is legal but can very misleading. Many debt collection agencies use the uncertainty about the statute of limitations to confuse people into making payments on a debt that is outside the time period.
In effort to make communications between collection agencies and consumers more clear, several states require that debt collectors disclose the statute of limitations of a debt. A bill introduced to the Pennsylvania legislature looks to put the Commonwealth among those states increasing consumer protections from debt collection agencies. House Bill 1633 would require collectors to disclose the applicable statute of limitations on an account in initial communications. The bill requires both original creditors and third-party debt collection agencies to proactively disclose when the statute of limitations is up for a debt and inform consumers that “the debt or judgment is no longer legally enforceable” afterwards.
This requirement should aid consumers who are often tricked into thinking they can be sued over an old debt or are misled about when the statute of limitations begins to run. In some states, a partial payment by the consumer can restart the time period so it is very important to not make a payment on an old debt until you know all of the details.
If you’ve been contacted by a collection agency about an old debt, you should seek legal advice immediately. If you’re in West Virginia or Pennsylvania call the lawyers at Hinkle Law for some friendly and fee advice about your debts.