Statute of limitations on a collection agency collecting a debt.

Asked about 6 years ago - Stanwood, WA

Is there a statute of limitations as to how long a collector can try to collect/harass someone for a debt. My mother still has a collector/atty calling and harassing her for a debt 7 years ago that has been charged off from a credit card company. She simply could not and can not pay it. She lives with me and has no income other than soc.sec. $750 per mo. She is 67 years old and can not work due to poor health. The attorney has even been calling my extended family members who have not been in contact with my mom for 20 years. Also...they have her home phone number but still call other family members telling them she is being sued. (privacy issues?) She has never received any notice of this in the mail. She oringinally tried to pay these debts when she could but the balances kept going up with fees. Now she just can not pay.

Attorney answers (1)

  1. Thuong-Tri Nguyen

    Contributor Level 20

    Answered . There are statutes of limitations for all civil causes. The WA statutes are at: http://apps.leg.wa.gov/RCW/default.aspx?cite=4.16 .

    The application of the statutes of limitations is sometimes complex. Determining which statute applies and when the time period starts are often subject to dispute.

    Debt collectors must abide by federal and state laws. A debt collector contacting third parties (family members) may be in violation of the laws.

    Your mother likely can instruct the debt collector to contact her only through writing.

    She can review her facts and options with an attorney.

    She can review the information available for free at WA LawHelp to see what her legal rights are. The website is: http://www.washingtonlawhelp.org/WA/index.cfm .

    If the debt collector is not following the laws, she can report the violation to the office of the Attorney General. The AG's website: http://www.atg.wa.gov/ . While the AG will be helping your mother specifically, if the AG gets enough complaints about a business, the AG may investigate and sue that business.

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