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Do I have to pay old debt under Massachusetts law?

I owed a debt to an appliance company and I admit that I bought the stove and so forth. But I went through a tough time a few years ago and couldn't pay my debts. I didn't file bankruptcy but maybe I should have. So I bought this stove nearly four years ago and stopped making payments right after that. And now last week I hear from a debt collector about the debt. Can they wait that long to come after me for collection on the old debt? Thanks.

 
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Old Debt

Yes, the statute of limitations is six years from date of the breach of contract.
 
Attorney James Decoulos

Statute of limitations on debt contract

Attorney Decoulos is correct.  This type of debt is sometimes called a "zombie" debt, because the consumer believes the thing is dead but then it comes back to life, usually when the debt is assigned to a debt collector.  However, the statute of limitations for an action based on contract (which is the basis for your debt) is six years in Massachusetts.  Accordingly, although it is not the case with your debt, in some cases the consumer can avoid the debt and refuse to pay the collector, in cases where the original default occurred more than six years ago.  There can be exceptions to this rule:  For example, if the consumer makes a partial payment after the default, that action may start the six year clock running again.  Hope that helps.

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