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Statute of limitations and rules on medical collections in WA State. It has been over 6 yrs since date of service.

Seattle, WA |

My fiancé & I are planning to buy a house soon. He hasn't seen his credit report in a decade. Now on his credit report is 2 collection agency charges. He paid a different collection agency for hospital charges from 9/3/2005 surgery. He contacted the agency on his CR yesterday; they do not have the debt anymore, it’s now at another agency. In 7/2010 this agency sent him a note w/service date 12/2003. He then replied by cert mail saying he was not in hospital on that date. Never heard from them again. He called them today about the other charges on CR to tell them to remove it. The acct #s & amounts are different. Can they go after him now that he called to ask about it? They knew his address since at least 2010 & never attempted to collect before. It has been more than 6 yrs now.

Attorney Answers 3

Posted

His call to inquire about the charges will not renew the debt. Only a payment or specific promise to pay will renew a statute of limitations in Washington. I suggest you dispute it through the credit reporting agencies. They will forward the dispute to the businesses that have placed the information on his credit report. Here is a link that should explain the proper steps to take... http://www.ftc.gov/bcp/edu/pubs/consumer/credit/cre21.shtm.

Please note that all advice given hear represents unofficial personal opinion. Legal advice should only be received from a retained attorney.

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Posted

Washington Statutes of Limitation

Written contracts and accounts receivable: 6 years, (RCW 4.16.040).

Oral contract: 3 years (RCW 4.16.080).

Recovery of property and judgments: 10 years, (RCW 4.16.020).

Disclaimer: This answer does not constitute legal advice. I am admitted in the States of New York, New Jersey and Massachusetts only and make no attempt to opine on matters of law that are not relevant to those three States. This advice is based on general principles of law that may or may not relate to your specific situation. Facts and laws change and these possible changes will affect the advice provided here. Consult an attorney in your locale before you act on any of this advice. You should not rely on this advice alone and nothing in these communications creates an attorney client relationship.

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Posted

He needs to pull his credit report and send a dispute to the credit bureaus.

He needs to contact the debt collectors and dispute the debts. Doing this triggers a requirement that they provide a notice to him if this is the first contact (sneaky but worth it).

He also needs to contact the debt collectors to dispute the debts as the letters come in. They may be too old to collect at this point. They have to prove otherwise.

If there is a judgment, find out how and where he was served. If service was proper, he is out of luck.

Contact does not renew the statute of limitations, but payment and promises to pay do. Do not do that, inquire only.

Mr. Goldstein is a Virginia-licensed attorney only. The information is not, nor is it intended to be, legal advice. You should consult an attorney for individual advice regarding your own situation. Answering this question does not in any way constitute legal representation. Contacting Mitchell Goldstein or the Goldstein Law Group does not constitute legal representation, nor is any information you provide protected by attorney-client privilege until otherwise advised.

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4 comments

Asker

Posted

Is the 6 years from the date of service or from the date it was received by collection agencies? Would the contract for the A/R be the form in the hospital for the surgery? he contacted the collection agency and he hasn't received anything yet. Also the agency on his CR is not the same one that has the debt now.

Mitchell Paul Goldstein

Mitchell Paul Goldstein

Posted

The time begins to run from the date you went into default (when you had to pay and did not).

Asker

Posted

Doesn't if fall under contracts, like when he signed for the hospital to perform the surgery and he agrees to pay for services? This is where we are confused.

Mitchell Paul Goldstein

Mitchell Paul Goldstein

Posted

It depends on whether your state treats this as an oral or a written contract. It is not always easy to determine. The time runs from when he had to pay for services, which is usually when he is billed.

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