Debt is something that almost everyone has experienced at some point in their life. It can be a struggle, and sometimes, it’s difficult to manage.
But what happens if a debt you paid or that dropped off of your credit years ago comes back to haunt you? This is called zombie debt. It can damage your credit and make life miserable. It’s a serious issue that many people face. What should you know about zombie debt?
What is Zombie Debt?
Zombie debt is a debt that has been declared dead or forgotten, only to rise from the dead and come back to collect. This can happen when a creditor decides to sell the debt to a debt collector. They’ll try collect on the debt years later, even after your legal obligation has expired.
The debt may be old. You might have forgotten about it. It may have even been discharged or paid off. However, the debt collector still has a legal right to try and collect on the debt. Sometimes, they will use aggressive tactics to try and get you to pay.
How Does It Happen?
Zombie debt can happen in a few different ways.
One way is if the creditor sells the debt to a collection agency or debt buyer. The collector then pursues the debt, often using aggressive tactics to try and collect the money owed.
Another way is if the creditor sues the debtor and receives a default judgment because the debtor never showed up in court. The creditor can then try to collect the debt years later, even if it has already been paid or discharged in bankruptcy.
What Can You Do about Zombie Debt?
If a debt collector contacts you about a zombie debt, there are a few things you can do.
The first step is to verify the debt with the collector. Often, debt collectors will try to collect on debts that aren’t even valid. You should also ask the collector for proof that they own the debt. Debt collectors are required to provide you with this information if you ask for it. If the collector cannot provide proof of ownership, they may not legally have the right to collect the debt.
Another option is to dispute the debt. You can send a letter to the collector disputing the debt within 30 days of receiving their initial letter. If you dispute the debt, the collector cannot continue to collect on it until they provide you with validation of the debt.
Finally, you can seek help from a credit counselor or bankruptcy attorney. These professionals can help you understand your rights and options when it comes to dealing with zombie debt. They can also help you manage your debt and create a plan to pay off any valid debts you may owe.
If you’d like to know more about zombie debt or you’re being haunted by a debt like this, we can help. For more information, contact the Law Offices of Robert M. Geller at 813-254-5696 to schedule a free consultation with an experienced attorney.