A recent Supreme Court decision ruled that a national collection agency did not violate the Fair Debt Collection Practices Act when it pursued an expired debt.
In a split 5-3 decision, the court sided with Midland Funding, which had repeatedly called an Alabama woman regarding $1,879 she’d owed for over a decade.
And though some consumer advocates felt that the decision was a blow against the FDCPA, others felt that the ruling was justified because bankruptcy law doesn’t stipulate that expired debts can’t still be paid off.
Though a technical decision, nonetheless the ruling protects collection agencies from making attempts to collect on expired debt.
The ruling was met with criticism from consumer advocates as well as bankruptcy lawyers…
“The result of [this] decision appears to give creditors a free pass to file stale claims without fearing FDCPA liability,” said Andrew Muller, who is a partner at Stinson Leonard Street LLP. “The flip side is that trustees and debtors’ lawyers may be under increased pressure to more closely review claims to determine whether the claims are subject to a statute of limitations defense.”
At issue (imho) is the right of businesses to attempt to collect on unpaid bills and invoices, even if the debts become expired.
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After all, when you get down to it you really have two choices:
- you can keep doing what you’re doing (and hope for a different result)
- you can work with a collection agency that can help you recover what’s rightfully yours.
Either way it’s your money… you decide.