Noting that Midland buys old debt it knows is not legally recoverable because of various state laws preventing collection after a number of years, Sotomayor asked, “Apparently, you collect on millions of dollars of these debts. So is that what you do?”
Yes. Yes it is.
This is a conversation every consumer lawyer has had many times with clients. No, you don’t owe the debt any more. Yes, they can still collect it. Yes, that’s fucked up. Apparently the Supreme Court just learned about zombie debt, and a few of the justices, at least, seem to agree that it’s pretty fucked up.
The decision in Midland Funding, LLC v. Johnson should be out in June.
Martha Kunkle is making the rounds again. The Billings Gazette first wrote about Martha Kunkle in November 2009. That didn’t stop the Wall Street Journal from writing about her just last week, over a year later. A zombie story about a zombie debt collector.
But hey, it’s a good story. A dead woman bilked thousands of consumers out of their money for Portfolio Recovery Associates. Consumer law doesn’t get much cooler.
Pete Barry was on the Morning Show with Mike and Juliet this morning. His advice on making sure you are not dealing with a rogue debt collector: make sure you get an address and phone number, at least.
But in the end, it can be hard to know whether the collector on the phone is legitimate. Scammers may have account numbers, social security numbers, and other information that at least sounds valid. It may even be a debt you actually owe—to someone else.
Previously: Fake Debt Collectors Terrify Consumers