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Consumer Watch: Time-barred debts in Oklahoma

Consumers have rights when it comes to old debts (KOKH).

Consumers have rights when it comes to debt collection, and knowing your rights can protect you from abusive and unfair behavior.

The Fair Debt Collection Practices Act protects you from unfair, abusive, or deceptive debt collection practices. According to the federal trade commission, this act covers personal, family, and household debts. This includes things like a car loan, medical bills, and even your mortgage.

Debt collectors are not allowed to call you before 8 a.m. and after 9 p.m. They also aren't allowed to call you at work if you have told them over the phone or in writing that you are not allowed calls there.

If you owe money you could be sued for it, and you should respond to that lawsuit If you are sued and do not respond you will likely lose, and that could lead to wage garnishments. If you respond, you may win the lawsuit or you can come to a payment agreement.

There are some debts that you can no longer be sued for, and these are called time-barred debts. Depending on the type of debt, in Oklahoma you cannot be sued after five years of carrying most debts. The negative information can stay on your credit report for seven years or longer, though.

You should know that debt collectors are allowed to call you about time-barred debts. Here are your options on time-barred debts:

Pay nothing-- knowing that is your debt, it will result in collection attempts, and it is still affecting your credit score.

Pay some amount-- this revives the debt, and could mean you might be sued for the full amount.

Pay off the debt -- get a signed document from the collector saying the payment is being settled, and you'll be released form obligation. Do this before making any payments.

Even the promise of making a payment could revive the debt, so it is important to get paperwork explaining any agreement you are considering from a collection agency before agreeing to any payment plan.

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