Dealing with Debt Collectors Debt Help

7 Reasons Not to Ignore Collection Letters

Kristie McCauley
Written by Kristie McCauley

My almost 4-year-old does this thing where she puts her hands over her eyes when she does something wrong. She thinks that if she can’t see me that I can’t see her and what she is up to.

As an adult, you can quickly see how this is just not the case. Unfortunately, for her, I keep telling her to show me what she has or what’s she’s doing until she does.

It’s the “If I can’t see you then you can’t see me” theory (of a 4-year-old, anyway).

Adults have a similar action when it comes to collection letters they receive in the mail. They think that if they don’t open it, don’t read it, if they just don’t “see” it, or just ignore it that they’re home free.

Well, that’s not exactly how it works.

Why You Might Think You Should Ignore Collection Letters

Sure, there are some perceived benefits to ignoring those collection letters that are landing in your mailbox.

In reality, there is really only one benefit. If you ignore the debt collector long enough then they’ll just go away, leave you alone, and the debt just fades into the sunset.

The reality of the situation is that this is not going to happen. Keep in mind that debt collectors get paid when they collect debts. This means that if they don’t collect your debt they won’t get paid.

It’s a huge incentive to keep them coming at you rather than to just ride off into the sunset and give you a happy ending.

Here are seven reasons why you shouldn’t ignore those collection attempts.

1. It Can Get Legal

If you ignore the debt collector long enough, the agency can file a lawsuit against you in order to collect the debt. If you ignore the lawsuit, then a judgment can be made against you to collect the debt so the debt collector can garnish your wages or other forms of income in order to collect the debt.

About the author

Kristie McCauley

Kristie McCauley

Kristie Lorette McCauley is an award-winning expert on personal finance, mortgages, and credit. She has published articles on major finance and credit blogs, such as Yahoo! Finance, Quizzle, Money Crashers, and BankRate. She is also the author of books, such as How to Use the Equity in Your Home or Business Today to Invest for Tomorrow and How to Open & Operate a Financially Successful Personal Financial Planning Business.


  • This is terrible advice I agree for any debt past the SOL (statute of limitations) check your state each is different, some SOL’s are only 3-4 years and you can no longer be sued so long as you haven’t restarted the clock by making a payment during that time, that’s right the SOL can restart all over again once the collection folks get a payment of any kind out of you. Once the debt is 7 years old it should also be removed completely from your credit report. Her advice is good for fresh collections, however terrible advice that can actually hurt your credit even worse if you follow it for anything past the SOL date and especially if it approaching the removal date nearing 7 years old. Check your state laws where the debt was accumulated.

  • Read the bill carefully. There should be a paragraph in tiny print stating that they cannot collect, or even take you to court due to the date of service being so old. Also, if this statement is not on the bill, write to them demanding proof of and date of original service. Send by certified mail with signature receipt. Bet you never hear from them again.

  • A debt collector has notified me with a bill I know was paid 15 years ago. He insists it was not paid in full. In all these years I have never once received a letter telling me this. After all this time I have no proof I paid it. Is this a new form of fraud? What do I do.?

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