The collection agency is trying to frighten you into paying some or all of the measly $255 on a debt that is beyond the statute of limitations to sue on. No one is going to sue you for this seven-year-old debt, when the SOL is four years on a written contract, two years on an oral contract, three years on negligence or fraud. Only if you made a payment or reconfirmed the debt in the last four years would you have any worries.
Even so, no one is going to sue you for $255, except maybe in small claims. You can defend on the SOL if this happens--and it won't.
Next time you get a call on this, ask for the person's name, the company name and address, and the file number, and then tell the person to quit calling you. Tell them to sue if they want, but quit bothering you.
Civil fraud is typically 3 years occurrence or 3 years discovery.
Criminal fraud is typically 4 years from occurrence or discovery by PC 810.5
Since a person who cashed a check knows about it when it happened, it looks like the civil and criminal statutes may have run (but the ultimate disposition will depend on the specific facts).
Keep in mind that big collection agencies are buying old debts all the time and "farming" them to get every nickel they can. It may also be that the agency won't identify themselves because of the liability to them which may be involved if they know they are acting wrongfully.
Why not get the free copies of your credit reports and see what's on there, just for fun?
I also get the feeling that this has been so long, that many of the details of what happened when may have escaped you. getting your credit report (a) is good to know, (b) lets you know what others might be seeing, and (c) whether this debt record, if it still exists, appears. (ie what if company were "refreshing" the debt wrongfully to keep it on the report?
Good Luck.... and if it bothers you to keep getting bothered, contact an attorney who will file a Fair Credit action, however, you need to know who is calling; it could be some ladies from India and they may never tell you their corporate identity.
Certified Tax Specialist -- State Bar of California Board of Legal Specialization (J.D.; LL.M.-Tax)
Electrical(M.S.E.E.)-Chemical(M.S.Ch.E.)(B.S. Chemistry)-Mechanical Patent (Intellectual Property) Attorney & MBA (562) 594-9784 --- http://patentax.com
Please remember to designate your question's BEST ANSWER.
Curt Harrington Patent & Tax Law Attorney Certified Tax Specialist by the California Board of Legal Specialization PATENTAX.COM This communication is general information and not legal advice, and does not create an attorney-client relationship. This communication should not be relied upon as any type of legal advice. Please note that no attorney-client relationship exists between the sender and the recipient of this message in the absence of either (1) a signed fee contract and (2) remission of an agreed-upon retainer. Absent such an agreement and retainer, I am not engaged by you as an attorney, nor is any other member of my law firm.
I agree that you should obtain the name of the collector and the debt collection company. They're in violation of the RFDCPA and the FDCPA for making a false threat of prosecution. You should obtain an attorney to file a claim on your behalf.
Feel free to contact me directly at firstname.lastname@example.org if you have any questions or need further information.