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Collections Law/Cell Phone collection


Approximately 4 years ago I divorced and plunged deeply into debt as a result, one of my outstanding debts was a cell phone bill. When it first showed up on my credit report (about 3 years ago) I disputed the charge because it was much more than I actually owed. The debt was removed. Within the past couple of  months I have been trying to buy house and have had several mortgage inquiries, now all of a sudden this debt has reappeared on my credit report as a brand new debt dropping my  score 100 points! Had the statute of limitations  expired (debt occurred in VA I now live in NC). are new debts going to keep popping up because  of the mortgage inquiries?

The debt has two separate Statutes of Limitations - one for Credit Reporting and the other for Suit. The debt may very well be Out of Statute for Suit but not for Credit Reporting. SOL for Suit in NC is 3 years and the Federal 2 year SOL on telephone bills may very well apply.

BUT.... the Federal SOL on Credit Reporting is 7 years and that certainly has not yet expired.

Your question is: Does a Mortgage Inquiry bring old creditors out from under their rocks? The answer is "YES" because, they reason, if you are applying for a mortgage you now have cash for a house down payment and they want it. By re-entering their Trade Lines on your credit report they hope the mortgage bank will make paying them a condition of the loan approval, which is becoming very common.

You don't say whether the Trade Line was put there by the Original Creditor or by a Debt Collector. If by a Debt Collector you might want to look for any violations of Fair Credit Reporting Act #FCRA# or Fair Debt Collection Practices Act #FDCPA# and sue them for it - and make removal of the Trade Line a part of the settlement. Original creditors are not subject to FDCPA but they are subject to FCRA.

Your best course of action at this point is to settle with them. Since the debt is Out of Statute for Suit they cannot sue you successfully so settling for 100% of the amount claimed would be unwise.

I operate a board that will help you in both these matters - settlement strategies and spotting FDCPA/FCRA violations and suing over them. Go to - it is completely free and I think you will find it helpful.

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Steve Katz


Debt Collection, Credit Reporting, FCRA, FDCPA, TCPA issues


Founder of Debtorboards, co-author of Debtsmanship, former Collector, Credit Counselor


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