Can a company send you to collection after four years and no bill or contact to let you know that they never recieved payment?

Asked over 3 years ago - Youngstown, OH

Well I had cable 4 years ago and my mother paid the final bill so I was under the understanding it was taken care of. Well last week my mom called me saying that a debt collector was calling her house asking for me. When I contacted them they told me it was from this in 2006. I never recieved ANYTHING no bill and nothing from previous collectors conerning this? Is this legal?

Attorney answers (2)

  1. Teri A. Walter

    Contributor Level 19

    Answered . If the bill is unpaid, yes, they can neglect to pursue you for it for a long time and then send it to collections. If it's been paid, have your mother get evidence of the payment, which should resolve the matter. If not, you'll want to confirm how long the statute of limitations is in Ohio for unpaid debts (4 years in Texas). After the statute of limitations expires, they can still call you, but they can't get file suit and get a judgment against you for the debt.

  2. Eric Stephen Southward

    Contributor Level 8

    Answered . It is good to know your rights under your state and federal laws as well. The debt collector is allowed to try and reach you at the address/phone number they have on record. Once told that you don't live there, they can ask for location information about you from your mother. However, they cannot try to collect your debt from your mom, tell her about the debt or make any comments about it. Once you contacted them, they are required to send you a letter (do they have your new address now) after their initial communication to you, informing you of your rights. As explained in the previous address, this is the time to verify the debt. They must give you 30 days for you to request verification of the debt. This is when you dispute the debt, stating it was paid. You need proof of that payment, but if you have it, they have to suspend collection activities. And yes, they can wait any amount of time they want to collect it. In most states, the Statutes of Limitations on debt is an affirmative defense to a lawsuit, it doesn't not prevent them from trying to collect it nor from suing you. It is a limitation on which to bring an action (which means suit) not an action to collect through the mail or phone.

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