Why do debt collectors and debt buyers lie about receiving a recent payment?

Simple answer — to claim the statute of limitations (time to sue you) has been restarted by the recent payment.

Why do debt collectors and debt buyers lie about receiving a recent payment?So let’s take an example of how a collector tries to lie to get around the statute of limitations.

Debt buyer sued you for a debt you defaulted on 7 years ago.  The statute of limitations for credit card type debt is, at most, 6 years.

So the debt collector has filed the lawsuit too late.


What if it can show a payment was made 2 years ago?  Then it will argue the statute of limitations was “restarted” and the suit was filed in time.

And if you made a payment 2 years ago, that’s fine.  It may be the time period has begun again.

But what if you did NOT make a payment?

But the debt collector swears you did?

Now this is a matter of proof.  We have run into this quite often and our solution is simple.

“Debt collector, show us the proof that we made the payment.”

Here are the possibilities:

  • You sent cash
  • You sent a check
  • Or they will say you  paid online or by phone

Remember they are saying this because it is either true (pretty rare) or it is a lie to try to restart the statute of limitations.  They hope you don’t catch them filing a suit after the time period to sue has expired (statute of limitations).

Cash payment — how do they know it was you and how will they prove this?

This is my favorite.

They tell the judge, “The defendant/consumer sent us $25 on an ancient debt so we filed the suit in time.  No statute of limitations problems here judge!”

“Where’s the envelope from my client?”

“Oh, we don’t have that we threw it away.”

“Really, you threw it away.  So no record except on your computer?”

“Yes, but our computer never lies and is 100% accurate.”

Ok great — show us when the entry was made, by who, where in your company, what the job description/title is for the person making the entry, your policy and procedure for receiving cash in the mail, your deposit that day with the cash identified on it, your bank statements showing the deposit of cash . . .”

They interrupt, “Judge this is crazy we aren’t going to turn that information over to a lawyer.  We say the payment was made in cash and that ends the discussion.”

Then I mention the judge how convenient it is that after not paying on a debt for all these years my client just randomly sent an envelope with cash in it and the envelope wasn’t scanned or kept.

I’ve never lost one of these battles — no one sends cash.  It is an absurd lie they tell.


You sent a check — where is the check?

This one should be so easy — if you paid by check, they simply produce a copy of the check.  You then confirm this with your bank.


They amazingly do not have the check.

“Oh we don’t keep scans or physical copies of the check.  But our affidavit swears we got the payment so that proves it.”

“Really, you don’t keep scans or copies?  Well, what’s the date of the check?  The check number?  The bank it was drawn on?”

“We don’t have that information.”

At this point the judge stares in disbelief.  They come into court on a case that is too old and their “silver bullet” is the payment made by check but they have no details.

When you confirm with your bank no such payment was made, they claim you used a different bank that they cannot identify.

Complete garbage — either they have the check or they have nothing.

You paid by phone or online — where is the transaction information so you can confirm with your bank?

This one is like the check — pretty easy to figure out.

“Tell us the date, the transaction number, which bank it came from, etc.”

They can’t or won’t.

At least in my cases, they have always said they can’t get that information and the judge should just accept the “business records” that show a ten dollar payment was made.

Why would we trust the records?

If they can’t give us the most basic of information so we can confirm with our bank.

Again — they lose when they have tried this in our cases.

Bottom line — if you did make a payment, it is easy for the debt collector to show this so they can restart the statute of limitations

But when they won’t give the easy proof it leads to one conclusion:  they are lying.

So when they tell you about payments you have made then ask them for proof.  Either they have it or they don’t.

If you are sued in Alabama and want to chat with us call us at 205-879-2447 or contact us through this website and we’ll get right back to you.

Best wishes and thanks for reading this!

John Watts


PS You are welcome to read our series of articles on debt collection lawsuits in Alabama where we answer over 150 questions commonly asked — covering from the beginning of the lawsuit to the end.

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