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Handling pushy debt collectors: The Real Deal

If you've ever been called by a debt collector, you know just how rude and pushy they can be. They don't really seem to care whether the debt is actually yours or you've been mistaken for someone else.
Syracuse (WSYR-TV) - If you've ever been called by a debt collector, you know just how rude and pushy they can be. They don't really seem to care whether the debt is actually yours or you've been mistaken for someone else.

There are certain things you should know about old debt, so you can push back if you ever get a call.  

Jeffery Fuller got a collection notice in the mail for a debt he knew nothing about from NCC Financial. The collection company told him he owes more than $1,000 dollars on a gym membership for Bally's Total Fitness, from 16 years ago!!! “I found myself getting a little concerned because I was like, oh my god, how could I have let this happen, my first thought; that's where your mind goes, how could I have made this mistake, I don't want anyone messing with my credit. Then I took a breath and started thinking, this is ridiculous, there's no way…”

Jeffrey was a member of Bally's but he says he cancelled his contract in 2001 with no problem, and hasn't heard from the gym since.
Jeffery Fuller got a collection notice in the mail for a debt he knew nothing about from NCC Financial. The collection company told him he owes more than $1,000 dollars on a gym membership for Bally's Total Fitness, from 16 years ago. (WSYR NewsChannel 9 )
Jeffery Fuller got a collection notice in the mail for a debt he knew nothing about from NCC Financial. The collection company told him he owes more than $1,000 dollars on a gym membership for Bally's Total Fitness, from 16 years ago. (WSYR NewsChannel 9 )
He has no idea how this collection company got his name. However, when Jeffery called and tried explaining to the company he didn't owe money, they didn't want to hear it, and they just started threatening him about what would happen to his credit report if he didn't pay.

The collectors told Fuller, “If I didn't pay that $401 within 15 days they were going to come after me, they were going to pursue this to the full letter of the law, they were going to garnish my wages, destroy my credit; they were not messing around, this was the end of the line for me.”

What those collectors told Jeff is the furthest thing from the truth in New York State. The Real Deal? In New York State, even if the debt is legitimately yours, if it's been longer than 6 years, it can *not* be used to hurt your credit. Collection companies will try every trick in the book to scare you into paying, because they only make money if you do, but don't be mislead.

To get them off your back, write a dispute letter and send it certified mail. If the debt is passed the statute of limitations, or you legitimately don't owe it, tell them that.

After you send them that letter, they have 30 days to prove the debt is justified; if they can't do that, it gets wiped clean.  

However, like Jeffery, be ready for a battle. “The more you challenge them, the more abrasive they become.”

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