Most forms of consumer debt have an expiration date and once that debt
passes it will be difficult or impossible for debt collectors to successfully
sue a consumer, the legal term for that date is the statute of limitations.
When exactly the expiration date expires involves a number of complicated
legal issues, however when the deadline draws near one tactic that debt
collectors will use is to tell consumers they should make a “good
faith” payment of $1.00 or $20.00 to show that they “want
to work” with the debt collector. They will often pretend to be
friends with a consumer and say they can cut the consumer a great deal,
but first they need a small bit of good faith money.
That is a trick.
The laws which govern when exactly consumer debts expires are complicated
however making a payment on most forms of consumer debt, including credit
cards, bank cards or small loans will reset the clock on when the expiration
That means if a consumer has a credit card debt for thousands of dollars
and the loan will expire in a week and they have not already been sued,
if in that final week the consumer pays even one dollar, the clock resets
on the loan and it may be good for another four years or longer.
Generally speaking, if it has been more than five years since the last
charge or payment on a credit card the debt has probably expired, however
the laws about debt expiration debts are complicated and you should contact
an attorney before you decide the debt has expired. If you are being contacted
by debt collectors about a loan that you think has expired you should
contact an attorney for guidance, such as our office who will be happy
to give you a free consultation.
This document has been provided for informational purposes only and is
not intended and should not be construed to constitute legal advice. Please
consult your attorney in connection with any legal issues related to the
matters discussed in this article as the applicability of state, local
and federal laws may vary.