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Posted in Paying Your Bills
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kyebean

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Should I pay 3 year old bills that have NOT gone to collections?
I have 3 delinquent utility accounts (the combined balance is no more than a couple hundred) that are almost 3 years old. They have not gone to collections, they are not in my credit files, and the businesses have not contacted me for years. I wasn't even using the services at that point so I don't feel morally obligated to pay them. Is it worth paying these, or is there virtually no chance of the accounts being sold to collections? Would contacting them without paying make it more likely for them to sell the accounts to collections? Thanks for your help.

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It Depends

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This is not an expert opinion, simply my own. They can be sold to a collection company at any time. I have heard of it happening many years later. I have a family member that went through hard times got back on Capital One payments, 10 years past, it wwas off of her credit, yet all of the sudden a creditor bought the debt for pennies on the dollar and tried to aggressively pursue it. Of course since it was long past the "credit" age she knew they couldn't touch her credit and told them to take a hike. However, in your case, one of these collectors still have time to buy the debt of off of the utility company and proceed against you.

If you are able to afford it, I would think it is in your best interest to not cross your fingers for the next 4 years, but rather get it off of your mind. I belive credit collection agencys are required to give you notice that they will be reporting it to the Bureaus so you could always wait until contact then immediately pay it off. (Check on the law on prior notifications first as I am not familiar with it).

Lastly, I would assume contacting them will initiate collection so that is probably not advised unless you are going to work out an arrangment to pay it. However, being proactive may assist you in being able to negotiate a lower sum.

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