ORLANDO, Fla. - Hundreds of Central Florida families will receive a yellow envelope in the mail this week that offers big relief from debt collectors.
Action 9's Todd Ulrich got Channel 9 to buy $1 million worth of medical debt for $12,500 from RIP Medical Debt, a national charity, in order to forgive the debt of about 1,000 families in need.
The charity selects families based on economic need.
About 600,000 families in Central Florida are chased by debt collectors, experts said.
Older debt is often sold for pennies on the dollar.
Collection agencies sometimes promise that a small payment now will erase one's debt, but experts advise against believing them.
"A small payment -- even a dollar or two -- can renew the statute of limitations on a $1,000 or $3,000 debt, and now it's legally enforceable when it was not previously," consumer attorney Jared Lee said.
Consumers' legal obligation to pay medical debt is five years in the state of Florida. But if they make a small payment, the debt will last another five years.
Consumers don't have the power to negotiate. All agreements need to be made in writing.
Click here to donate. Every $10 donated eliminates $1,000 of medical debt in Central Florida.
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