In that case, why do collectors call about it? Because they can. In many states, time-barred debt collection is completely legal, and companies can even decline to answer when they're asked if a debt has expired, perhaps by yelling, "LOOK OVER YOUR SHOULDER IT'S A REAL-LIFE MANTICORE," and then changing the subject. Of course, do some research after the collections agency calls you and you'll soon find that the collectors are effectively as impotent as a lonely man without his Peter Parker doll. But think about it: What kind of person would immediately trust that a person yelling at them about an old debt might actually have a right to that debt?
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"But that Peter Parker doll broke years ago!"
See, most time-barred debt collectors are happy to call around and find a hundred bitter, cynical people who do nothing but make farting noises into the phone at them and then take the required actions to get the collectors off their backs. It doesn't matter, because eventually they'll come across an Aunt Mildred who agrees to do the right thing and make a good faith payment. And because the statute of limitations starts from the last time you made a payment on the debt, this single payment can reset the clock entirely, meaning poor Mildred is back on the hook for the full amount and will be forced to severely limit her weekly prune-juice budget for years to come.