Just when you least expect it, your old debt rises from the grave like a ZOMBIE!  I will go over how to fight a zombie debt collector, but first let’s review what is “Zombie Debt”?  In the state of California, if you have not paid your debt within four years, your creditor may be time-barred from suing you due to the statute of limitations.  If they do sue you, you cannot get the case dismissed raising this defense. 


How To Fight Zombie Debt Collectors

But don’t get too excited and try to go four years without paying your debt!  It’s a crap shoot. It is a rare situation where your creditor doesn’t hunt you down and sue you for non-payment of your debt.  But there are cases where the creditor gives up; perhaps because they can’t find you, you have no money or the creditor believes it will cost them more to sue you than your debt is worth.


In most cases, debt collectors will try by all means to retrieve the money you owe them, even if the debt is considered zombie debt.  John Oliver talks about it in the debt buyers episode from last summer.  If your debt is considered zombie debt, then there are ways to fight the debt collectors.  First and foremost, you need to be informed.  Debt collectors can TRY to collect your zombie debt, but they cannot sue you. Your best option is to try and ignore the debt collector at this point. 


The non-stop harassment of the debt collector calling you might start to get to you though.  Be aware, if you get sick of the harassment and make even a small payment to the debt collector, then the 4-year statute of limitations clock starts all over again on your debt.  Your debt will no longer be considered “zombie debt” and the debt collector can legally sue you at this point if you then stop paying again.  


If you want the phone calls from debt collectors to stop, then you can try a debt settlement.  A debt settlement is when you negotiate with your creditor to pay a reduced amount of the total debt that you owe in a lump sum or over a short-term payment plan.   A debt settlement is appealing to the debt collector, because they won’t have to chase after you anymore and they would rather receive a reduced payment from you than nothing at all.  Furthermore, your reduced debt payment will be considered a loss on their books and they use that loss to offset other profits and reap the rewards of creative bookkeeping.


Stop Zombie Debt Now

If your debt amount isn’t huge, then you can attempt a debt settlement on your own by making a low-ball offer.  You really should educate yourself first though.  I offer extensive information and debt help blog posts on my website about debt settlement.  If your debt amount is on the larger side, it’s a good idea to contact an experienced debt relief attorney.  If you are not sure what path to take, schedule a free debt consultation with me and I will go over your debt relief options free of charge.  Knowledge is power!   


Daniel R. Gamez, an attorney focusing exclusively in debt relief, is licensed to practice in all state and federal courts in California and Texas. Mr. Gamez owns and operates the Gamez Law Firm in San Diego, CA. For more information, please contact Daniel Gamez at 858-217-5051, daniel@gamezlawfirm.com or use our online contact form. Stay updated with the latest debt relief tips by following on Facebook and Twitter!