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a collection agency called me and said they were wanting payment

for a payday loan that...
a collection agency called me and said they were wanting payment for a payday loan that the automatic draft bounced five years ago in the State of Pennsylvania - do I owe this
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Answered in 19 minutes by:
4/18/2013
RGMacEsq
RGMacEsq, Lawyer
Category: Consumer Protection Law
Satisfied Customers: 17,276
Experience: Licensed Texas General Practice Attorney
Verified

RGMacEsq :

Thank you for using JustAnswer. I am researching your issue and will respond shortly.

RGMacEsq :

The statute of limitations for contract actions in Pennsylvania is 4 years from breach. So if it's been 5 since anything has been paid on it, it's "stale".

RGMacEsq :

They can't successfully sue you for it, which is probably why they're threatening felony prosecution...

RGMacEsq :

Now their threats are illegal.

RGMacEsq :

They are absolutely violations of the Fair Debt Collection Practices Act (FDCPA) and they wouldn't have a chance at getting you successfully prosecuted, even if the criminal statute of limitations has not run.

RGMacEsq :

This is very common that these companies will threaten criminal prosecutions, and like I said, that is illegal, but most of the time people don't know their rights.

Customer:

they say if I give them $1500.00 they'll forget the whole thing - the payments were originally automatic drafts but the bank closed the account because they kept making unauthorized attempts to withdraw

RGMacEsq :

If they call you back, do not admit any liability on the loan. I would tell them that (a) you know the statute of limitation has run, and (b) their actions are absolutely violations of the Fair Debt Collection Practices Act (FDCPA). Tell them if they call you again, you're going to hire an FDCPA lawyer and complain about them to the state and federal attorney general.

RGMacEsq :

If you give them money, they'll almost certainly shake you down again for more.

RGMacEsq :

They're not afraid to violate one law, so what's another?

RGMacEsq :

The best way to never hear from them again is to say that they don't have a chance of getting a penny out of you.

RGMacEsq :

Furthermore, paying anything toward the debt could reopen the statute of limitations and allow them to sue for the debt.

Customer:

they also said there was a man waiting to serve me but they would hold him off

RGMacEsq :

Assuming that the last payment was more than 4 years ago, then they can't successfully sue you.

RGMacEsq :

I truly doubt that. To "serve" you, that means that they would have already filed a lawsuit. If they've filed a lawsuit, that means that they've incurred legal expenses, filing fees, etc... and $1500 in full settlement would probably not even cover those fees.

RGMacEsq :

If they call, ask for the "cause number" relating to the case, as issued by the court clerk. Then call the court clerk to verify.

Customer:

they also said I would be arrested

RGMacEsq :

I doubt that they've actually sued.

RGMacEsq :

Like I said, that's illegal for them to insinuate that you'll be arrested.

RGMacEsq :

You won't.

RGMacEsq :

I see this all the time. They make these threats, and there's zero truth to them.

RGMacEsq :

They're trying to scare you into paying, but there really is nothing backing it up.

RGMacEsq :

You're in a worse position if you pay anything than if you don't, because you can reopen the statute of limitations, which would allow them to be able to sue you successfully.

Customer:

i don't have the number they gave me but it began with US and then 4 numbers followed by 2 numbers

RGMacEsq :

How much was the loan for?

Customer:

i can't exactly remember - maybe500.00 or less

RGMacEsq :

That "number" could be an internal reference number, but almost certainly is not a cause number. The reason is that they can't sue in Federal court (they would need at least a claim of $75,000 to be able to sue in federal court) and no state cause numbers begin with "US".

RGMacEsq :

I am 99% sure they're full of BS.

RGMacEsq :

They're trying to scare you into paying, but they have absolutely nothing on you.

RGMacEsq :

They're breaking the law in wrongly accusing you of breaking the law.

RGMacEsq :

Mention FDCPA and statute of limitations, and that you're not going to pay anything, and you'll almost certainly never hear from them again. They're in the revenue business, and they're not going to spend time and money trying to get money from someone who absolutely won't pay.

Customer:

they also said they were sendind a man to get me to sign something - can they come to my home

RGMacEsq :

Let me say it again: they're trying to scare you. There's nothing to this.

RGMacEsq :

They can come to your home to serve you with legal papers, but can't come into your home.

RGMacEsq :

And like I said before, I'm almost certain that there's no truth to that.

RGMacEsq :

Get more information about it, such as the cause number, what court it was filed in, what law firm they used to file it (lawyers have to file lawsuits), etc... and let them know that you're going to assert the defense of statute of limitations anyway, so you're not going to have to pay a penny.

RGMacEsq :

4 years is the statute of limitations. If they wait longer, they don't get a judgment against you.

Customer:

also, when I asked them to send me specific information, they said they couldn't but they had it all on file. I said i needed something to show an attorney and they said I didn't have time and needed to resolve this immediatele

RGMacEsq :

They have to give you that information pursuant to the Fair Debt Collection Practices Act (FDCPA). That's another provision.

RGMacEsq :

Again, I am almost positive that if you mention that, as well as statute of limitations and that you're not paying anything, you're not going to hear from them again, because they have nothing on you. They can only try to instill fear, because they have NO bite. They have no teeth to be able to bite.

Customer:

do i pursue trying to get the info from them or do I just tell them that the statute of limitations has run and that if they don't quit harrassing me I will engage a FDCPA attorney

RGMacEsq :

If it were me (and mind you, I am an attorney that deals with consumer protection law, so I know what I'm talking about here), I would tell them to prove it, pursuant to the FDCPA, that their actions were illegal pursuant to the FDCPA, that the statute of limitations have run on this debt, and that you're not paying a penny towards it unless and until they prove to you that the debt is valid and the statute of limitations have not run.

Customer:

they said that the bounced automatic payment and closed account was a felony

RGMacEsq :

No, it's not. It could be if it was with fraudulent motive to deprive another of money, or pursuant to some greater scheme, etc... but that's bunk.

RGMacEsq :

Furthermore...

RGMacEsq :

even if it were, the statute of limitations on financial felony crimes is 3 years.

RGMacEsq :

So even that would be too late.

RGMacEsq :

(but it's not a crime)

Customer:

thank you for all of your help - I will take your advice and tell them that the statute has run etc. if I need further questions answered, am I able to contact you?

RGMacEsq :

Yes. You can direct a question "To RGMacEsq", or ask a follow up here.

RGMacEsq :

 


If there's nothing else for the time being, please rate this answer. Please note that I don't get any credit for the time (~25 minutes) and effort that I spent on this answer unless and until you rate it a 3, 4, 5 (good or better). If you feel that I have gone above and beyond in this answer (my average answer is about 10 minutes) bonuses are greatly appreciated. Thank you, XXXXX XXXXX luck to you!

 

Customer:

than you

RGMacEsq
RGMacEsq, Lawyer
Category: Consumer Protection Law
Satisfied Customers: 17,276
Experience: Licensed Texas General Practice Attorney
Verified
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