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Ghost collecting coming back from the dead?


Ghost collecting coming back from the dead?

I have an old CCARD account with Citi that went bad back in 2005. It went thru the channels, first pursued by Citi, then sold off. DOLA on my end would be around August or September of 2005.  I am in IL, where there is a 5 year SOL, from what I gathered. Eventually, this item has completely fallen off my CR from all 3 bureaus, not even any evidence of having an account with them at all. 


Fast foward to today, and I get a call and letter from a Collection Agency regarding this debt, but I am not seeing any evidence on my CR about this coming back onto it, or about an inquiry that they made to get verification. Any thoughts? Do I send them a DV letter? Do I ignore it entirely, seeing as there is nothing on any of the CR? 


Any thoughts/help would be appreciated. Smiley Happy



Message 1 of 9
Senior Contributor

Re: Ghost collecting coming back from the dead?

Unpaid debt never goes away until its paid. Old negative tradelines by law fall off your credit report and time barred (OOS) debt will keep you from being sued for the debt, but that doesn't mean that whoever owns the current paper (debt) can't try to collect on it. You'd be surprised how many accounts are collected by just sending out letters requesting payment.


You can send a DV letter if you like, or simply ignore the demand letter you got since the CA has no recourse to force payment. What you might try is to offer a highly discounted  PFD to the CA which will probably be accepted (offer 10% of face value). Make sure you get in writing that this payment satisfies the debt in full and keep that paper forever. This way you kill the zombie debt and you can feel satisfied that you settled the obligation.

Message 2 of 9

Re: Ghost collecting coming back from the dead?

Thanks for the info. I don't see how a PFD would be of help, seeing as it's not actually reporting on any of my 3 bureaus (I'm in the midst of getting a mortgage, so I looked at EX last week). I'm just trying to cover all the bases to avoid having this from pooching the whole deal.

Message 3 of 9
Valued Contributor

Re: Ghost collecting coming back from the dead?

So what's robably happened is that the debt was sold for pennies on the dollar.  The JDB has subscribed to notifications from the credit bureau and was notified you applied for a mortgage and is trying to use that leverage to get you to pay on the debt.  I had the same thing happen to me with a debt that was discharged in bankruptcy then sold. 


I wouldn't DV the debt.  There's a risk they may put it back (illegally) on your credit report.  So I would send them as strongly worded letter.  Others may disagree but this has worked for me.  What you are trying to do is let them know you know your rights and will enforce them, the goal is not to have an improper report show up in the middle of a mortgage application:


I deny I owe this debt.


The date of first delinquency on any debt I may have owed was more than seven years and six months ago, to attempt to report any claimed debt, especially one which is disputed, is a violation of FCRA. and I will collect daamges from you if you try to do so.


The Statute of Limitations for any debt I may have owed is five years and has run out, so any claim on this debt is unenforceable in court.


Do not contact me further regarding this claim.

BK7 Filed 8/11/2009 Discharged 11/23/2009. Purchased new home 4/11/2012
Starting Score:11/16/2009 EQ 566 11/16/2009 TU 538
Interim Score: 12/27/2012 EQ 683 09/17/2012 EX (lender) 670 1/01/2013 TU 701
Current Score: 11/06/2013 EQ 708 11/06/2013 EX 702 11/16/2013 702 11/06/2013 TU 729
Goal Score: EQ 740 EX 740 TU 740
Take the FICO Fitness Challenge
Message 4 of 9
Valued Contributor

Re: Ghost collecting coming back from the dead?

^^^^Like that letter!

5/2012: 560 credit scores across the board
12/2014 750+
3/2017 780+
5/2017 800+
Message 5 of 9

Re: Ghost collecting coming back from the dead?

I like the idea of a strongly worded letter, but here's my thought: According to the letter they sent, they said they will assume that the debt is valid, unless I notify them within 30 days in writing. I close on this mortgage at the end of the month. I'm worried that by sending a letter to them, they would make a move on it sooner. 


Also, I looked at a previous EQ report and it says that DOLA was September of 2005. Old enough for SOL but not quite old enough to technically have it drop off the CR. 


Thoughts? Smiley Happy

Message 6 of 9
Super Contributor

Re: Ghost collecting coming back from the dead?

I agree that the strongly worded letter will probably get them to back down.

Most JDBs will pack up and move on to someone else once they realize that you are informed ~ there are a lot of other people who will just send money and i bet they'll leave you alone.
March2010 FICO® ~ 695 TU, 653 EQ, 697 EX
Message 7 of 9
Established Member

Re: Ghost collecting coming back from the dead?

I'm having a similar situation.  Since I've sent PFDs all of a sudden I'm getting calls/letters from Portfolio Recovery on two debst that CO'd in 2002 and has been off my reports for a few years...a Citibank card as well.  They must be getting some notifications about CBR activity or something.  I haven't (and obviously don't plan for a while until scores increase)  applied for anything.

Starting Score - 482 EQ (2/4/2012)
Current Score - 542 EQ (SW 3/22/2012), TU 505 (2/25/2012)
First goal - to get into the 600s
Message 8 of 9
Community Leader
Legendary Contributor

Re: Ghost collecting coming back from the dead?

One thing missing in the discussion is the DOFD on the debt.

IF the DOFD was more than 7 years plus 180 days ago, that would explain why it is not in your CR.  And never can be.


Did the OC ever, at any time, report to the CRA after they placed the account for collection?  If so, they were required to have reported the DOFD on their account to the CRAs, and the debt collector is bound by statute to report that same date, period.


I would recommend sending a DV to them for two reasons.  First, it will block further communications with you, and second, bar them from reporting anything to the CRAs until they have provided verification of the debt to you.  While worring about their credit reporting is not necessary if more than 7 years plus 180 days has expired since DOFD, I see no clear evidence of that at this point.  DV them and put that issue to bed, at least for the interim.  I see no reason not to invoke your cease collection bar authority by way of DV.



Message 9 of 9