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Wait a minute: You're harassing me on a 20-year-old debt

"[S]ign up a ton of people to make calls to see what [you] can shake down."

Well, there it is: the business model for a so-called "bottom-dwelling" collection agency that is not averse to purchasing years-old debt and subsequently hounding consumers for repayment.

Here's how that works. Say you have an outstanding debt. Maybe you eventually pay it off. Maybe you don't. Perhaps so much time passes that a statutory cut-off date ultimately crops up that bars a creditor from taking legal action against you for repayment.

Whatever the case might be, there are plenty of collection companies that will scarf up debt from original creditors who at some point are willing to sell it for pennies on the dollar because they simply no longer want to pursue the matter.

And then, of course, those aforementioned bottom feeders come after you in the event your name still shows up as borrower.

Here are two quick answers to questions regarding that practice that might logically come up for individuals and families who are suddenly receiving communicating regarding a seemingly ancient debt matter that has them fundamentally perplexed.

First: Yes, those actors can still contact you for repayment.

And, second: No, they cannot harass you. There are rules they must follow, and you can take legal action against them if they don't toe the proverbial line.

Again, you might have paid off that debt years ago. Maybe the collection company has misidentified you as a debtor. Maybe the debt onus has passed the statute of limitations date that cuts off required repayment. Perhaps the company won't stop pestering you -- at home, at work, through the mail, online and over the phone.

You don't have to put up with that. In fact, you might have a claim for legal damages. A proven debt-relief attorney can provide further information.

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