Q: Do I have to pay a debt that’s considered time-barred?
A: It’s up to you. Consider talking to an attorney before you decide. You can:
• Pay nothing. The collector can’t sue you, but can continue to contact you unless you send a letter by mail asking for contact to stop.
• Make a partial payment. In some states, if you pay any amount on a time-barred debt or even promise to pay, the debt is “revived,” and the statute of limitations resets. The collector might be able to sue you to collect the full amount of the debt, which may include extra interest and fees.
• Pay off the debt. Some collectors will accept less than what you owe to settle a debt. Before you make any payment to settle a debt, get a signed form or letter from the collector that says the amount you’re paying settles the entire debt and releases you from any further obligation. Also keep a record of the payments you make to pay off the debt.