CAMCO has contacted my significant other regarding debt they claim is from 1984. Of course when asked verbally over the phone to prove this debt they yell and claim that you are wasting their time.
After calls to the MN state AG's office I was told that this is a grey area of the law. They still may have the right to attempt to collect the debt.
They still have to abide by the FTC's Fair Debt Collection practices though.
After 7 years the statute of limitations is expired. They may not sue you and they may not report you to a collection agency.
HOWEVER, if you make ANY payment on this account you may re-activate it and restart the 7 year counter. They may then sue and report you to credit agencies.
If you are aware of the debt and they claim it is old debt (over 7 years).
First right a letter disputing - they must stop all collection practices at the time and prove in writing the debt exists.
If any claims are made that they will turn you over for a suit or to a credit bureau and the debt is over 7 years old contact the FTC at WWW.FTC.GOV or 1-877-FTC-HELP.
This is a violation of the Fair Debt Collection practices since they may not take you to court or report you to a credit bureau after seven years - AS LONG AS YOU DO NOT RE-ACTIVATE THE ACCOUNT BY PAYING THEM MONEY!
Second after the dispute if the debt is not valid make sure they leave you alone.
Third if the debt is valid and over seven years old you may contact them in writing to request not to be contacted again. They then may only send you a letter telling you they will not contact you further. Again, since the debt is over seven years old you may not be sued or reported.
Here are some FTC links on the Fair Debt Collection act:
Also, please note that in some states credit card debt statute of limitations expire earlier than seven years. For example, in MN the limit is six years. In FL the limit is five years.
Contact your state attorney general's office for more information.