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If I stopped paying on a credit card in 2004 and the account was purchased by a collection agency, can they sue me?

Parachute, CO |

I had the credit card in Texas and now live in Colorado. I was offered 2 payoff options or they said they would take me to civil court for fraud.

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Attorney answers 6


Here is the answer to your question: Yes, if you fail to pay your credit card debt as you promised to pay it off, then they can sue you in order to take legal action to enforce the debt.

From what you have posted, I am not sure where they are coming from when they invoke the idea of fraud. Perhaps, they want to get putative damages for fraud, but they would have to show some sort of lying on your part in order to go down that road.

I hope that this answer helps. If so, please do not forget to rate it as helpful. If not, I am happy to answer follow up questions in the comments here. Best of luck to you!



The credit card company was Household Bank-not sure where they are based. From what I have read there is a good chance that it has exceeded the statute of limitations for collection through court. The total collection amount is <$5000 (all interest & late charges) or I can settle for $1000. Should I pay it when I can?

Jason Carl Kennedy

Jason Carl Kennedy


I am sorry, but that is not a question I can answer outside of the attorney-client relationship, which you and I do not enjoy. All I can say on this subject is that IF the statute of limitations has expired, then generally they cannot get a court to order you to pay the debt. But self-help measures, such a negative reports on your credit score, may still be available. Further, statutes of limitations can be circumnavigated by shopping for another court to apply a different statute; courts frown on that, but it is a possibility.


Depending upon what state laws govern the account agreement, you might have a statute of limitations defense to a civil collection action. If you get served with a lawsuit you should seek legal assistance in defending the lawsuit.


Yes, they can sue you if they purchased the receivable or if it was assigned to them. The question is "where" they will sue you... most credit card agreements have a choice of law and forum selection provision that makes the lawsuit cheap and convenient for the credit card company, or the purchaser of the debt. If its an out-of-state venue, then they would have to domesticate that judgment in Colorado to enforce it here. The other poster is right. If they have not done anything with the account since 2004, a statute of limitation may prevent them from recovering anything. The longest statute of limitation in Colorado of which I am aware is six (6) years. But again, its probably different in other states. You may be able to use to find a "debtors' rights" attorney in Western Colorado. Go get an initial consultation and take the correspondence they've been sending you to the meeting. If their claim is still valid, an attorney can help you negotiate a settlement that you can live with. But you're going to need that attorney to analyze whether their claim is barred by the statute of limitations.


There may be an FDCPA violation here. You should contact a consumer attorney in Colorado and discuss the matter with them. The SOL issue is an affirmative defense. That is, you must assert that defense after the collector sues you.


A lawsuit on the debt is likely time barred if you raise the statute of limitation as a defense in court. If you were to fail to answer, the defense would be waived.

A lawsuit on a consumer debt filed by a collection agency must be filed in the county where you live or the action will violate the Fair Debt Collection Practices Act (FDCPA). The threat to sue is likely a violation of the FDCPA as well as is the false allegation that they have a viable fraud claim. If you can identify the debt collector and if the collection agency is substantial enough to have assets and insurance, it may be worth considering filing a lawsuit against the debt collector. You may be entitled to recover up to $1,000 plus attorney fees and costs.

You can reach Harkess & Salter LLC by phone or email. Stephen Harkess is an attorney licensed in the state and federal courts of Colorado. This answer is for general information only and does not create an attorney client relationship between Stephen Harkess or Harkess & Salter LLC and any person. You should schedule a consultation with an attorney to discuss the specifics of your legal issues.


Anyone can sue anyone.
The real question is if they can win.
That depends on many factors that a credit card
defense attorney can use to depend you.

The answer given does not imply that an attorney-client relationship has been established and your best course of action is to have legal representation in this matter.

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