WA Do I need to pay a debt that was "written off"?

Discussion in 'Debt and Bankruptcy Law Forum' started by Phanelope, 19 April 2018.

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  1. Phanelope

    Phanelope Well-Known Member

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    I am handling my mum's estate and I'm attempting to pay off one of her debts. It was incurred in 2010 and the account I had was issued in 2011. I contacted the creditor (western Power) to get an updated account and they sent me another account dated 2011. I took this to the bank and they refused to pay it due to it being so old and also recommended I didn't pay it until it was updated.

    I went back to the creditor and told them I couldn't pay it until they issued an updated account. The woman I spoke to said they couldn't re-issue it as it had been written off. The research I found said I wouldn't have been liable for it because it was over 7 years old...if I hadn't contacted them and acknowledged liability... But they still have not given me an updated account and claim they can't. Additionally the lady I was talking to has stopped replying to my emails, so what should I do?
     
  2. Rob Legat - SBPL

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    A written off debt is still payable, and payment can be enforced. A statute barred debt, which is a different thing, is technically still payable but payment cannot be enforced. For contracts (which this is) the limitation period is generally 6 years - but each state has their own act, so check it. The limitation period is renewed if you acknowledge liability for the debt, including making a payment towards it.

    Simply enquiring about a debt does not mean you have acknowledged it. Their explanation that they can't re-issue the account might be their covert way of saying it's statute barred without outright saying it. Contact them in writing, state you're handling the estate of your late mother, and ask them to verify the debt. If they can't prove it is current, don't pay it.
     
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  3. Phanelope

    Phanelope Well-Known Member

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    I did ask them to verify it and they gave me a verbal run down saying my mum last made a payment in 2014 (which I’m assuming means it’s not statute barred until 2020). I have contacted them in writing via email, do you mean I should mail something to them?
     
  4. Phanelope

    Phanelope Well-Known Member

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    Should I put something in the letter like “ if I don’t get a response within 30 days from the date of this letter I will assume the debt has been settled and shall not be liable for any claim made after this date” and refer to trustees act etc.?
     
  5. Rob Legat - SBPL

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    By email counts as in writing - I was meaning as opposed to verbally.

    You can put a time limit on it to try to hurry them up, but it will likely be ineffective if you try to rely on it. If your mother did make a payment in 2014 the debt will be confirmed and the estate is liable for payment.
     
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