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No. of Recommendations: 2
First I will send a letter asking them to verify the debt and state in writing that the statute of limitations has not passed, and to quit calling me or my wife, and make sure all further contact is in writing, etc.

Just be aware - if the debt is legit (and it's not clear if it is or isn't at this point, since you haven't gotten any validation of the debt), if they are the owner of the debt, or an agent that the owner of the debt has hired, they still have right to try to collect from you until the debt is paid. You can request that they limit their contact to written, rather than phone calls, but as soon as the owner of the debt engages a different agent (i.e. collection agency), or your debt gets sold to a different owner, you will start to get phone calls again, and have to go through the process of notifying them that you want to be contacted only in writing. This can continue even beyond the statute of limitations or the ability for the owner of the debt to put any information on your credit report.

Since old debts are sold at pennies on the dollar, it doesn't take a lot for the owner of the debt to profit by making a few phone calls and trying to collect just a payment or two, no matter how old the debt is.

What if called the original provider and offered to pay them? Went around the collection agency in effect? What would happen then?

If the debt has been sold, the original lender probably will tell you they don't have the right to collect, and you need to deal with the collection agency. If the original lender still owns the debt, and the collection agency was hired by the original lender, it would depend on the contract between the original lender and the collection agency.

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