What is a Debt Delinquency Timeline?
Do you have trouble paying back credit cards? Have you been avoiding a collection agency? From the moment you first skip a credit payment to when a collection agency takes you to court, this article will describe the different stages of the debt delinquency timeline.
Stage 1: Beginning of Your Debt Delinquency
Your debt delinquency begins once you’ve missed your credit card payment and the time gets to be 30 days after the billing cycle. At the beginning stage of the debt delinquency timeline, most debtors or lenders will use less pushy tactics to obtain payments from you. These tactics usually include calling, emailing, sending letters, and other communication techniques that appear helpful and friendly. These fall into line of allowed practices by the federal Fair Debt Collection Practices Act (FDCPA), as well as creditors possibly contacting credit reporting bureaus to report your account as delinquent (Bankrate.com).
Stage 2: 60 Days Since Your Last Payment
When the 2-month (60 days) mark arrives since you last made a credit card payment, you can expect that your credit card account will likely move into collections status. This means that the credit card company will write off your debt as a loss and sell the debt to a collect agency to recover the money owed (CreditKarma.com). Once the account moves into collections status, outreach calls, letters, and emails will most likely become more aggressive and less soft than in the first stage.
Stage 3: Paused Credit Card Account
As the different timeline stages continue creditor outreach calls, letters and emails will increase in aggressive quality. In addition to the aggressive outreach emails, the creditor will most likely discontinue your credit card account (unless they’ve done so in a previous stage). It is also important to know this stage, as interest and late fees will be added to the amount originally owed on your credit account (Bankrate.com).
Stage 4: Introducing the Debt Collection Agency
Stage four can be described as the charge-off status, in which the creditor writes off your debt as uncollectible. In this stage, the creditor will likely contract or sell your account with a third-party debt collection agency, while notifying credit reporting agencies that a third-party collections agency has taken the account. Any third-party collections agency that jumps on the account will follow the FDCPA while trying to collect money from you.
Stage 5: Getting Sued by the Creditor
If you choose to ignore all contact attempts from a collection agency, the agency will most likely resort to a lawsuit against you. A lawsuit is the fifth stage of the debt delinquency timeline; if you ignored the first four stages, you should take a break and not ignore this stage. Most courts allow debtors to respond within 20–30 days, so be sure to review the lawsuit forms for any errors. When you get sued by the collection agency, it’s important to know all of the different options to take to avoid complicating matters. These options include disputing the lawsuit, utilizing your state’s statute of limitations, countersuing the debt collector, and/or filing for bankruptcy (PSICollect.com).