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  #4 (permalink)
: Don't panic. It's very possible that this debt is outside the statute of limitations. (In Illinois, for instance, a cell phone bill has statute of limitations of 2 years, but you'll want to check your state's laws.) SOL means they can't sue you.

If they can't sue you, I'd advise NOT to pay it. Even if it stays on your report as a collection, it will have less effect as it gets further and further in the past. But, if you make a payment, it becomes a fresh collection, and will drop your score. It will also void the statute of limitations, as well as resetting the seven year time period where they can report it.

Verizon has no record of it because they sold the alleged debt to the collection agent, probably for a fraction of what they claim you owe. Basically, they will try to scare you into paying the debt and make a huge profit at your expense. Collection agencies are bottom feeders, I recommend not giving them a cent. If you feel a moral obligation to pay, do so with Verizon itself whom the contract was actually with. But, as they say you owe nothing, don't pay anything.

Pull all three of your credit reports from Experian, Equifax and Transunion. If this collection is on there, dispute it. If you contact this collector, do so in writing and keep copies of everything. If you speak to them by telephone, record the conversation. (most of the time, they will notify you that this call may be recorded, which also amounts to them giving you permission to record.)

Familiarize yourself with the Fair Debt Collection Practices Act (you can Google it.) More often than not, these bottom feeders will violate your rights when collecting... if you have proof, you can then retain an attorney on your behalf, who will work on contingency (they get attorney's fees only when they win for you.) It's not inconceivable that this CBE could end up sending YOU a check for $2500 if you document everything well.
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