News & Resources

Legislation would prevent debt collection after statute of limitations expires

Jul 20, 2011 Mike Garretson

Tennessee Democratic Representative Steve Cohen is aiming to reduce the ability of debt collection agencies to seek payment for debt that has exceeded its statute of limitations, the Commercial Appeal reports. According to Cohen's website, his proposal - the Fair Debt Collection Improvement Act - would prevent the ability of debt-seeking creditors to initiate a lawsuit for money owed if the statute of limitations for that debt has expired. Generally, this is a 10-year time frame, however it's just six years in Tennessee. "We take the position that it is a violation of the Fair Debt Collection Practices Act and the Tennessee Consumer Protection Act to sue on a stale debt," said Frank S. Cantrell, general counsel of Memphis Area Legal Services, as quoted by the news source. Cantrell has taken on a plethora of these types of cases. Cantrell added that if Cohen's bill passes, it would decrease the incentive for debt collectors to purchase debts they know fall beyond the statute. The news source notes that debt collectors often buy stale debts to creditors for next to nothing, then employ aggressive tactics to pursue the funds.