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Zombie Debt: What is it and how to avoid bringing it back from the dead

Posted by Kristina Gonzalez | Aug 12, 2022

Florida is one of the worst states for zombie debt collection. A zombie debt, as the name suggests, is typically an old debt that has long ago left your memory and possibly your credit report. These old debts are usually purchased by collection companies for pennies on the dollar. The collection companies then turn around and try to collect the debt from the consumer to make a quick buck. Many times, the collection company does not have legal rights to collect the debt, they are counting on the unsuspecting consumer to make the wrong move that will breathe life (and legal rights) back into the debt.

The most common types of zombie debt are usually credit card debts or medical bills. It may very well be a debt that you owe, debts that you have previously settled with the original creditor, or even debts that aren't yours at all. Usually, the debt is so old that Florida law does not allow the collector to sue you.

Usually, a collector cannot sue you over a zombie debt because the deadline by which they had to sue you has expired. Florida Statute §95.11 tells us how long a creditor may sue you after you default on a debt – this is called the statute of limitations. Credit card debts usually have a four-year statute of limitations, the time begins to run when you become delinquent on the account. An attorney that specializes in debt defense can assist you to determine if the zombie debt is time barred.

Whatever you do, do not make any voluntary payments on a zombie debt! If a debt is past the statute of limitations, making a payment or even verbally agreeing to make a payment may restart the clock on the statute of limitations. Once the clock on the statute of limitations is restarted and the collector has regained the right to sue you. It is good idea to consult with an experienced attorney prior to making any payments on zombie debt to assure that you are not bringing the debt back from the dead.

If a zombie debt is legitimately yours and the statute of limitations has not expired, it may be in your best interest to consider a debt settlement. This consists of reaching out to the collector and negotiating a payment on the debt owed prior to the collector suing you. Reaching an agreement with the creditor will stop collection attempts and once the agreed upon payment or payments are made to the collector the debt will be dead and gone forever. The attorneys at Holland Law have experience necessary to engage collectors in debt settlement and can resolve these debts so that you do not have to.

Do not ignore collection attempts for zombie debts! Reach out to an experienced attorney who can review your zombie debt and plan the best course of action for you. If you need assistance resolving a zombie debt or a debt collection lawsuit, contact the professionals at Holland Law Group today at (941) 744-5450. We offer a free consultation and are available to assist Floridians across the state, whether you live in Miami, Orlando, Tampa, Jacksonville, or anywhere else in between.      

About the Author

Kristina Gonzalez

Kristina is a native of Miami, Florida. Born to Cuban immigrant parents, she is the first in her family to go to college and obtain a law degree. She graduated in 2007 from the University of Florida summa cum laude with a Bachelor's Degree in English and Political Science. Kristina remained at th...

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