Question: Do I have to pay even if a credit reporting agency has done an investigation and deleted the bills off my credit report?
There is no cut and dry answer to this question.
The reason why there is no cut and dry answer is because there are many different variables that can dictate whether or not you are still responsible for a debt, even though it has been deleted from your credit report. Strangely enough, credit reporting and duty to pay are completely unrelated.
The Credit Report side
Companies are not required by law to report your debt to the credit bureaus, which means that you can still have an outstanding debt with them even though it is not on your credit report. Therefore, you may still have an obligation to pay. Before making a rash decision about which debts you will and will not pay based upon what is reported on your credit report, make sure you fully understand your duty to pay. There are two types of duties to pay.
Further, even if you do have to pay, there is a time limit for them to report the debt- typically 7 years.
The Duty To Pay
The first is quite simple; it is your moral duty to pay. A moral duty to pay is simply an obligation to pay a debt because it is the right thing to do and it has no expiration date.
A legal duty to pay is a little more complex. A legal duty to pay has an expiration date or statute of limitations. The statute of limitations on your debt will vary depending upon the debt. Here is a blog post on statutes of limitations.
The Difference is Important
Why is it important to understand the statute of limitations for your legal duty to pay? It is important because you can be sued and taken to court within the statute of limitations, even if the company is not reporting your debt to the credit bureaus. So, just because your debt has been removed from your credit report does not make you immune; you are still responsible for that debt, both legally for a period of time and morally forever.
What To Do With a Debt
So, if you have debt that you owe that is not being reported on your credit report, you may need to deal with it anyway, if the statute of limitations has not expired. If a judgment is entered against you, then that judgment is on your credit report for 10 years.
So, as you are investigating the debts, both on and off your credit report, the questions you want to ask are the following:
• Is it really your debt?
• Is it in the statute of limitations?
Once the statute of limitations is up for your debt, your debt collector can no longer take you to court; it has expired. If a debt collector is trying to collect a debt from you that is not yours, you might want to consult an attorney to learn more about your rights and options to take this case to court.
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