Not paying off your debts can mean trouble. Bizarrely enough, paying off some of an old debt can mean even more trouble.
The statute of limitations for debt varies by state, generally from three to 10 years. In many states, collectors can restart the clock if they can persuade the consumer to make even a tiny payment toward the old debt. Debt collectors generally do not tell consumers that making a payment will revive the debt so it can be legally pursued.
You can’t be legally sued by a debt collector after the statute of limitations has expired. But whether the time limit has passed or not, debt collectors can continue to hound you demanding payment. And if and when you give in and pay off even a tiny amount of the debt, new life is breathed into the statute of limitations—opening up the possibility that you will be sued.