Battling Zombie Debts: Protecting Yourself from Debt Collectors

Posted by Skyseo Roundtable on May 6th, 2023

Do I Have to Pay My Old Debts?


If you live in New York and have some old debts, there is a statute of limitations you need to know about. But it may not protect you against “zombie” debts.

Long Island Bankruptcy & Foreclosure

 If you live in New York, and debt collectors are calling, you need to know some basic facts:

  • The statute of limitations for old debt is six years
  • Many old debts are sold to debt collection agencies for pennies on the dollar
  • Some of these agencies may try and trick you into paying a debt that you don’t have to
  • You have a number of state and federal laws to protect you

The debts we’re talking about are consumer debts - credit card debt, auto loans, medical bills, student loans, mortgage, etc. Business debts and unpaid taxes are treated differently.

Battling “Zombie” Debts

In New York, the statute of limitations for old debt is six years from the time the debt became due or when you made your most recent payment, whichever is more recent. So even if a debt collection agency bought your loan, if it’s over six years old, they cannot legally force you to pay it.

However, unscrupulous debt collection agencies can try and get you to pay on these old debts, hoping you don’t know the law. They may even try to get you to pay a portion of the debt, which will immediately reset the timeline and bring your debt “back from the dead”, giving them the full legal authority to go after the entire balance.

This can lead to a cycle of harassment, destroyed credit ratings, and more. Luckily, there are laws in place to protect you.

Know Your Rights

New York has a series of laws to protect consumers from predatory debt collectors. If you are contacted by a collection agency, they must offer you the following information:

  • A list of what the agency can or cannot do under the Fair Debt Collection Practices Act
  • Detailed information about the original debt, such as who was the original creditor; the original amount of the debt, any interest accrued, and if there had been any payments.
  • They have to tell you if your debt has past the New York six-year statute of limitations, and if it has, that you don’t have to pay.

For more information on New York’s debt collection regulations, click here -

What to Do If You’re Overwhelmed

Debt collection calls rarely happen when things are going well in your life. Debts that should have been taken care of years ago suddenly appear out of nowhere again. While there are laws to protect you, it’s easy to get bullied into doing the wrong thing.

If this happened to you, and you’re too overwhelmed to take care of it yourself, please call Ronald D. Weiss, P.C. at 631-271-3737 for a free consultation. Ron has been handling these types of cases for years. He can guide you through the process, handle all the paperwork, and if things end up in court, he will be there on your side.

To learn more about how Ron handles various debt cases, click here -

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Skyseo Roundtable
Joined: June 24th, 2022
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