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Dave Says: Has the Limit Passed?

Dave Ramsey - June 05, 2012

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If the statue of limitations on a bill has expired, should I still pay it?

Dear Dave,

I bought a car a few years ago and purchased new wheels for $1,100 on credit. I haven’t paid the bill, and now collectors are trying to settle with me. I think the statute of limitations has expired. Should I still pay the debt?

Brian

Dear Brian,

I always look at things like this through two or three lenses. One has to do with your credit. Another is the legal aspect, and the third is this: What’s the right thing to do?

The right thing to do is pay the debt. You took the wheels, so you need to pay for them. You could probably scratch together $1,100 and make this whole thing go away. I’m pretty sure a lot of legal and collection costs, as well as interest, have been added over the years. But at this point, you can probably get them to settle for the original amount owed.

Now, can they still chase you under the statute of limitations? That’s a matter of state law, and since I’m not an attorney, I’m not up to speed on every law from state to state. Besides, I don’t like the idea of using that kind of argument to get someone out of debt.

Honestly, this is the real world we’re talking about, Brian. You’re going to have to deal with this, because even if there is a statute of limitations, most collectors will still try to chase you to the ends of the earth. And for $1,100 you can get them out of your life and erase a big black mark from your credit. It’s always better to have a transaction listed as “bad debt that has been settled” rather than simply “bad debt.”

And by the way, it’s also the right thing to do!

—Dave

For more financial help, please visit daveramsey.com.

Comments 1 comments

grobyn said...

09:34 AM
on Jun 05, 2012

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What is wrong with people? If you sign a contract to pay, PAY IT! If you sign a student loan, PAY IT! If you didn't think about how much the minimum payment would be and what your future salary would be, too bad so sad... Don't think about footing the bill to the taxpayers - it's yours!
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