We've all dreamed of it. "Maybe I just won't pay that bill. Maybe I'll just let that debt sit for awhile and, hopefully, they'll forget about it. That could work... right?"
No matter how much or how little debt you may have, we all wish we could wave the magic wand and make it disappear without having to pay. But what would be the punishment if you chose to ignore your debts? What would happen if you really acted on those debt-eliminating fantasies and simply didn't pay?
Like so many financial and debt situations, the answer to these questions isn't concrete -- though you can probably expect debt collectors to vigorously pursue that debt, both within and outside the confines of the law. However, what you may not have expected is that there is a statute of limitations on collecting debt. The timeframe varies from state to state and usually collection agencies are able to avoid going beyond the statute of limitations, but they exist nonetheless.
If debt collectors keep harassing you after the statute of limitations has passed, then the collectors could be in violation of the Fair Debt Collection Practices Act. There is also a 7.5-year limit for reporting a debt by collection agencies. The clock starts from the original date of delinquency for the debt-holder. However, if the collection agency sells the debt to a new collector, then the clock starts over.
There are complex rules, regulations and situations that can arise with debt and debt collecting. So if you are in a tough financial spot and are considering taking some kind of action -- any action -- then you should consult with an experienced bankruptcy attorney first.
Source: FOX Business, "What Happens If I Never Pay an Old Debt?," Credit.com, June 2, 2014