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Debt Statute of Limitations

Many people do not know there is a statute of limitations on debt. The debt statute of limitations refers to the amount of time after which creditors can no longer sue you to collect a debt. If a debt collector threatens to sue you over a debt that is beyond the state statute of limitations, they are in violation of the Fair Debt Collection Practices Act.

If you are being harassed by a debt collector and think your fair debt rights are being violated, you can click here for Fair Debt and Fair Credit Case Review or call toll free 888-595-9111 to request a free case review. There is no charge for the case review and the services of a fair debt lawyer or fair credit attorney may be available to you at little or no cost.

State statutes of limitation on debt collection apply to open ended contracts such as credit cards and store credit accounts and contracts for sale under the Uniform Commercial Code (UCC). Also covered under most State’s statutes of limitation are oral agreements, promissory notes, written contracts, loans, mortgages and car payments as well as foreign and domestic judgments. Under the right circumstances the debt statute of limitations can be renewed for just about any type of debt.

Credit Statute of Limitations on Credit Reporting

zombie debt junk debt high yield debtMany people confuse the debt statute of limitations with the statute of limitations on credit reporting. The credit statute of limitations is the maximum amount of time given to credit bureaus to old debt on your credit report. For the majority of accounts, it is seven years from the date of delinquency though bankruptcies and tax liens can be reported for longer. The credit statute of limitations is dictated by the Fair Credit Reporting Act Process and does not influence the state statute of limitations for debt collection.

Click here to view a full list each state’s debt statutes of limitation (SOL).

Debt Statute of Limitations

Numbers on this chart indicate years.

State
Oral
Agreements
Written
Contracts
Promissory
Notes
Open
Accounts
Alabama
6
6
6
3
Alaska
6
6
6
6
Arizona
3
6
5
3
Arkansas
3
5
6
3
California
2
4
4
4
Colorado
6
6
6
6
Connecticut
3
6
6
6
Delaware
3
3
6
3
D.C.
3
3
3
3
Florida
4
5
5
4
Georgia
4
6
6
4
Hawaii
6
6
6
6
Idaho
4
5
10
4
Illinois
5
10
6
5
Indiana
6
10
10
6
Iowa
5
10
5
5
Kansas
3
5
5
3
Kentucky
5
15
15
5
Louisiana
10
10
10
3
Maine
6
6
6
6
Maryland
3
3
6
3
Massachusetts
6
6
6
6
Michigan
6
6
6
6
Minnesota
6
6
6
6
Mississippi
3
3
3
3
Missouri
5
10
10
5
Montana
5
8
8
5
Nebraska
4
5
6
4
Nevada
4
6
3
4
New Hampshire
3
3
6
3
New Jersey
6
6
6
6
New Mexico
4
6
6
4
New York
6
6
6
6
North Carolina
3
3
5
3
North Dakota
6
6
6
6
Ohio
6
15
15
?
Oklahoma
3
5
5
3
Oregon
6
6
6
6
Pennsylvania
4
6
4
6
Rhode Island
15
15
10
10
South Carolina
10
10
3
3
South Dakota
6
6
6
6
Tennessee
6
6
6
6
Texas
4
4
4
4
Utah
4
6
6
4
Vermont
6
6
5
6
Virginia
3
5
6
3
Washington
3
6
6
3
West Virginia
5
10
6
5
Wisconsin
6
6
10
6
Wyoming
8
10
10
8
confidential informationThere may be instances where discussing your situation over a public forum could potentially compromise your interests. On these occasions we will contact you directly via email in order to answer your inquiry in a confidential manner.

58 comments

  1. Does the Statute of Limitations apply to a Military Star Card (offered by Army Air Force Exchange Service)? Opened in 1994 and last used in 2006?

    • The Military Star Card is a government as such it isn’t handled the same as traditional credit cards. For example the government can garnish military pension for none payment. If this account is causing you other financial trouble, we may be able to help you re-prioritize your other debts through debt settlement, and in the process, we can enforce your other consumer credit and debt rights. Call us at 888-595-9111 and get a free case review, there is no obligation and it sounds like you can use the help!

  2. Hi, I am searching for good answers to a bad check debt I have that is 5 years old. The account haz been sold off about 2 to 3 times because I see different companies calling me on the same account. In short, I payed a debt for my father for a construction business he had to cover emergency needs for a clients building, the client failed to pay my father even through legal court, I never actually got the money, therefore left with the debt. The account is 5 years old, the company with the claim is harassing me even though I threw the statute of limitations of California on them where the checks originally written. I need to know what all this means.

    Let me know

  3. I recieved a call saying i owed on fines frim 1996 and that it was now up to 9000 dollars is that legal? I have been in the same area all this time and am ashamed but paid alot of fines in 2003, so why now?

    • Generally speaking only consumer debts are covered by the FDCPA and traffic violations or government fines are not a “consumer debt.” But often, you can “borrow from Peter to pay Paul” and you may benefit from exploring debt settlement. Call us at 888-595-9111 and let’s evaluate your financial situation and see if your debts can be re-prioritized. And if you are having other issues that we didn’t catch from your comment, call us for a free, no obligation case review.

  4. In NC I have been making payment for 10 years to the hospital now they sold my debt and I am getting calls saying I have to pay $300 per month and nothing less. I can;t afford it I have 3 children. I never missed a payment to the hospital in 10 years.
    Any advice would be greatly appreciated.

    • Consumers do have rights under the Fair Debt Collection Practices Act (FDCPA) Take advantage of this site’s FREE, no obligation case review and let’s figure out how to get you some real help, you may be entitled to $1,000 or more! Make the collector follow the law or pay you, call us at 888-595-9111 and we’ll get you taken care of.

  5. Hi, i was leaving in michiga untill 2000. i left 10000 debt on a credit card And i moved back to my country. 2 years ago i moved back to usa but inFlorida. They send me a letter for a settlment. Now the debt is over 14 years, did the statute of limitation jas expired? Should i contact them and what i should tell?

    Thank you in advance

    • The Statute of Limitations on debt is a rule that sets a time limit within which a creditor may sue you for payment of a debt. The length of time varies from state to state. If a debt collector threatens to sue you over a debt that is beyond the state statute of limitations, they are in violation of the Fair Debt Collection Practices Act. When a statute of limitation expires, it does not mean that the debt goes away, it only means you can use it as a defense to stop collectors from collecting thru the court system. Collectors can still try to collect thru other methods. Under the right circumstances the debt statute of limitations can be renewed for just about any type of debt. If you are being contacted by a debt collector and think your fair debt rights are being violated, Fair Debt Case Review or call toll free 888-595-9111 to request a free case review.

  6. I disputed a collection for an apartment (which I thought was left without a balance when I moved) on my credit report thru the credit bureaus in February. Date of 1st delinquency is 11/2010. I have not spoken to the collection agency at all. They did however update the report and added “disputed”. But now I am receiving phone calls from another place, saying things to the effect of placing it in the local court system and suing. Can they do this?

  7. I just received an ‘Un-Certified’ letter via USPS claiming Worthless Check Charges [NC] dating back to 2007. The letter was sent claiming to be a Check Recovery Agency in SC.

    That business is legit, but I feel the letter to be bogus.

    What are the SoL in this situation?
    Thanks.
    keifer

    • Sounds like a junk debt buyer. Let’s see the letter, please send it to us 866-773-6153. If we can evidence a violation of your consumer rights we may be able to recovery a damage award and will represent you at no cost in that claim. Call us today 888-595-9111

  8. Hi – I live in FL and I’m going throug a nightmare with my Credit Card bank (Chase) and the billing company subcontracted by a gym I used to go (National Fitness). The last payment for that gym membership was due late March for $37.44, when NF ran the transaction to debit my CC, the transaction did not go through, so days later, they tried again and this time it went through, so they charged $37.44 plus a $28 fee. I disputed the $28 fee through Chase, however, Chase made a mistake and disputed both amounts, the $28 and the $37.44. I assumed that under the law, Chase was to “investigate” the disputed fee with the merchant, but no, all they did was credit my account (reversing the transaction and taking both amounts from NF). Days later I get a call from NF saying I owe them $121.44 and I was in early stages of collections! They were charging me for the original $37.44 and $28.00 PLUS 2 other $28 fees per dispute. Is this legal?
    I was so frustrated with my bank because they made the mistake of disputing both transactions, instead of just the $28, and on top of that, I was being penalized with more fees from NF.
    Is there a statute of limitation on fees from a “disputed” amount?

    p.s. I signed a gym contract, but I can’t find a copy. I requested a copy through NF and they have not sent it yet.

  9. I had a question regarding the statute of limitations on debt. Although the the information you’ve provided here is quite helpful I was wondering something. Does the statute of limitations go into effect from the first time the debt was reported as delinquent? Most of what I am dealing with is very old credit card debt from a previous marriage. Than you for your help.

    • More questions would need to be asked to accurately answer this question. Do you have a judgment on any of these accounts? It sounds like you would benefit from re-prioritizing your debts through debt settlement, and the Debt Help Lawyers at this site can provide you a free, no obligation Fair Debt consultation. The worst thing to do is nothing, so call us now at 888-595-9111 and we will get started figuring our how to help you!

  10. I received a letter today from. the “worthless check unit” in Lexington, sc for a check written in nov. 1999. The envelope said”Arrest warrant notification”. I googled the po box and it comes up legit on the sc.gov site. But over 15 yrs later for a $15 check to a gricery store? Ive traveled and moved alot since then but have had a SCDL for the past 9 yrs. Can that still be valid?

  11. I got a letter in the mail today from a collection agency that says i owe $57.00 to a cell phone company from 1994. First of all i paid that account off years ago and i do not have receipts to prove it after 21 years. The man told me i had to send a dispute in writing . How can it be my responsibility to send them anything after 21 years.? I have never had a bad debt on my credit.i have wonderful credit and want to know can they put this on my credit report ?

  12. Hi, is there a statute of limitation on 1st mortgage debt?

  13. my husband default on a credit card and because I lost my job we used all $6,400 that was the limit. we offered to pay $50 to $100 on it until we could get up on feet again, the Credit Union charged it off in 2014 while we were still making payments six months later we get a notice from a “lawyer” who is in fact a collections company telling us we owed them $8,550.00. we asked for a verification of debt and all we got was a simple letter giving us a the name of the credit union and the $8,550 amount and a random account number. we can’t pay it we just don’t make enough money to do so. what are our options??

  14. Hello I am receiving telephone calls at work and my mothers home threatening court action. I called the number that was left at my work office and they said i owed a payday loan from january 2010? I have used payday loans online in the past and had the money come directly out of my checking. But i do not recognise the name of the company and i do not think i ever defaulted. Plus i still live at the same address with the same bank account yet never received a letter from them. I told the debt collector to send me proff of the debt . Now a month or so later, no proof of debt and messages at mothers home saying im being sued? I do not live with my mother and at 82 she does not deserve to have this? What can i do?? John

  15. I took out a private Teri student loan in 2003. I went into default shortly after graduating college in 2005. About a month ago I began getting garnished. Essentially 50% of my monthly pay is being taken due to the default judgement against me for a debt over 9 years old that was bought by portfolio recovery. Is there anything I can do?

  16. I got a call tonight from a collector on a NSF check from 4-30-2007. I have moved a lot and now they say they are putting out an arrest warrant for me. Is there a statue of limitations for this in Indiana?

  17. If you never make an agreement with the collector, never make or miss a payment…does the statute of limitation time still start? When they contact you and send you a letter with what is owed and what payment option are available…..is this when the statute of limitation begin?

  18. Hello,

    I have a question as I actually didn’t know about my a debt collection on my account. I had an open date around February 2010. This was a mortgage loan in North Carolina. I cosigned a loan for my parents but didn’t know it wasn’t paid off. Now I have a bad credit score and my debt was sold to a 3rd party agency. I am a college student so I can’t even pay for the debt as I am also working minimum wage. I am also trying to get my own place and a car. What should I do to increase my credit score and get the debt collection off my report? Please help!

  19. A debt collector just called about some debt and said they can no longer sue because it’s past the statute of limitations. I asked what the debt was for and they told me. I told them I was unemployed and can’t make any payment. Does that reset the SOL?

  20. A company out of Louisiana called and said I have a fraudulent check from 2010 that they sent to the check section in my County. It was from a bank I had back then and he had the last 4 # of my social security. Of course I don’t remember it, its been so long. They called me at work. Can they still collect on this debt?

  21. I have a debt with a gym from 2006 and just received a call that I was being taken to court over it. I live in NY. Isn’t that way beyond the statute of limitations?

  22. I have been getting multiple phone calls a day from ICS. They call and when I answer they hang up. They continue to call anywhere from 7-15 times a day and this includes Saturday and Sunday. Can they do this?

  23. I’ve received a letter regarding a debt that I cannot find on my credit reports(zombie debt). I really would just like to throw the paper away and ignore it. However, i’m worried if I don’t respond to the letter that i’m saying it’s mine? and it’ll reappear on my credit report? I’m then worried if i respond it’ll reappear on my credit report. I really don’t know what to do?

    Thanks,
    Kris

  24. being sued in civil suit- foreclosure for an open ended deed of trust. no payments made by ex since 2000 and he has since passed away. has the statute of limitations ran out for this deed of trust? need answer quick to respond within 30 days. thanks

  25. I just received a letter in the mail regarding an auto loan I had in 2006. I live in Virginia. My ex boyfriend pretty much totaled my car in 2006. Long story, but I was too afraid to do anything. I was young and had no car or money so I voluntary surrendered the car. In 2008 I moved to Georgia and shortly after my bank account was frozen out of the blue. After speaking to the bank, I found out I was being sued by the car company in Virginia. I had no idea about a court date or anything. I got that taken care of and started to pay the lawyer. I stopped paying the lawyer when I moved back to Virginia since he could not show me any proof of my balance every month. I have not heard of anything since 2010. Now I just received a letter from a different law group stating I owe twice that amount. What should I do? Am I past the SOL?

  26. I have 2 judgements against me from previous debt collectors but in the end it all is based off one credit card default which keeps getting sold to different collectors. The last would harass me at work and try to collect information through my boss. The new one says they will obtain a judgment if they don’t hear back from me soon. I can’t pay and have no job but I worry they will take my car since that’s all I have. How come the others got judgments but then I never heard a word?

  27. I dont know if you can help me or not. I have an attorneys office calling me by thr name of McGarvey, Fenton about a debt for almost 10 years ago on a car i voluntarily took back. I owed a little under $3000 and now their saying i owe $20,000.. Ive never received anything from them and have not agreed to any arrangements. Ive asked for them to send me documents yet they wont. I want to know the statue of limitations for this and can they garnish my wages or take money out of my checking account for this old bill? I want to know my rights and i can do about them harassing me about this.

    Thanks,
    Val

  28. I have been paying on a Alaska postsecondary students loan that went into default back in 2002. The loan was turned over to a collection agency. The original loan was for 5500 dollars and the collection agency stated I owed 13,0000 in late fees and fines. I have been making monthly payment to this agency for 15 years and have paid the debt many times over yet they still say I owe around 6,000 dollars. How can this be and isn’t there a SOL I can pursue? I’m so frustrated! Help!

  29. I purchased a Jeep Cherokee (new) in 1995 in Illinois and financed it through Chrysler Credit Corp. Somehow, I don’t remember how or why, I lost the payment book and simply stopped making payments. I was never contacted by Chrysler Credit, or anyone else, and I have no idea how much I have left to pay on the debt. I kept the vehicle all these years but now, over 20 years later, the car no longer runs and I would really like to get rid of it but in order to junk it, I need a clear title. Chrysler Credit, I have since found out, is no longer in business but there is still a lien on the vehicle. What to do?

  30. My husband had a gym membership 2 years ago and cancelled it after only having it a couple months. He had changed debit cards and the lady at the gym called him to tell him his payment didn’t go through for the month. So he gave her his new card number and told her he would like to cancel as well. She said not a problem and to have a nice day. We watched the account and nothing extra had ever come out so we knew it must have been canceled. Now they have turned it over to collections and are saying he owes $400 in membership dues because he never canceled it and they don’t have a card number on file at all. We have contacted the gym and they were horrible and rude to work with and I have filed a complaint with the better business bureau but not real sure what else to do and are panicking because the collections agency told my husband he has till the 19th to pay, but we haven’t received any written notice of the debt yet even.

  31. I live in Indiana. I have just been contacted by the court to appear for the remainder of a debt of which the judgement (per the verified motion for proceedings supplemental) was rendered the 5th day of January 1998. the last time I was taken to court over it was in 2007 and the last payment I made was in early 2009. have they exceeded the statute of limitations in this matter?

  32. I occasionally receive a letter from a collection agency regarding an autoloan that defaulted in 2001. it was on my credit for 7 years and then fell off (due to a judgement). Is this debt that was sold? Can they garnish my wages this long after?

  33. My dad recently received an information subpoena asking for information on my assets. According to the subpoena, I lost a court case back in 2004 for rental of a garage parking space in NYC. We had given up the space before the months they say we owe for.

    The amount of the judgement and that they are now trying to collect has more than doubled due to interest.

    The issues are:
    1 – I was never served and never heard about the case nor the judgement until a few months ago despite the fact that it was entered back in March of 2004 and it was sent to the county clerk to be docketed until September 2010.

    A few questions:
    1 – Is the statute of limitations 10 or 20 years for collection of a debt from a judgement from an individual in NY?
    2 – I was never served. Can I appeal the case? I was told by the plaintiffs lawyer that I had to have appealed in the 1st 5 years. I obviously am not putting much weight on their opinion. Can I appeal and if it is indeed 5 years, would it be from when the judgement was entered back in March of 2004 or when it was sent to the county clerk to be docketed until September 2010? Does the fact that I never was served change anything?

    Thank you very much.

  34. I recently was served paperwork from a former credit card issuer stating that I’m being sued for the debt. The last payment made was on 11/15/2011. The claim was submitted on Nov 13,2015 and filed with the court on Nov 20,2015. I’m pretty shaken up about but I’m not sure if the statue of limitations has run on out on the claim. I live in Ga.

  35. i had some bad checks in california about 12 years ago.can i still be prosecuted for these checks?

  36. Had a gym membership, contract ran out, went to month-to-month on auto-debit from my checking account. Auto-debit one month was refused, then the bank account closed for no funds. Gym wrote the debt off, collection agency bought the debt (less than $100) and now tries to tell me the SOL is 10 years (I’m in California). I can’t find any state that has a SOL of 10 years for any kind of debt. Is the agency blowing smoke, trying to intimidate me?

  37. I live in Texas and received a call today from DataCheck about a $6.36 check I wrote to a Winn Dixie in Jackson MS in 1998. Almost 20 years ago!!! This the first I have heard about this. The creditor stated my case was being sent to litigation and I could legally be in trouble. A criminal attorney would be in touch with me. They asked me to pay $173.36 over the phone. I told them I didn’t have any idea or knowledge of this and I would need to look further into the situation before I paid anything. I asked to see a copy of the check and he refused saying they don’t mail or email anything. The creditor was extremely rude and told me because I answered the call I had 24 hours to pay or my account would be turn over to litigation for criminal theft. Is there a statue of limitations? If I owe, can I not just pay the $6.36+ a $25 return check fee?

  38. Recently started receiling calls from data check saying a wrote a bad check almost 18 years ago. Has the statute of limit run out for them to legally collect? They called today saying I will be served on the 20th with papers to go to litigation. The check they say is $8.

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