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Debt Collection Statute of Limitations for all 50 states

Debt Collection Statute of Limitations for All 50 States

Are you being contacted about a debt you think may be past the debt collection statute of limitations? Although you cannot be sued for debts that are past the limitations period, you can still receive harassing calls and unwanted letters from collectors as unpaid debts never disappear.Your Fair Debt rights may be different based on how old the debt is, and tactics used to collect old debts may violate the law.

customer_serviceStatute of Limitations (SoL) listed by state and type of debt including Virgin Islands and Ontario with state civil code references.

Statute of Limitations 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 statue of limitations can be renewed for just about any type of debt.

Click on your State link to see the statute of limitations.

If after reading your state’s SOL you have any questions about your state’s complex Statute of Limitations laws, ask a Debt Help Lawyer for a FREE* consultation and get solutions for your concerns. The case review is FREE and a debt help lawyer may be available to represent you at little or no cost. Call toll free 888-595-9111 or click here.

In-depth explanation each section of the The fair debt collection practices act

IMPORTANT NOTE: The statutes listed here are current as of June, 2005 however they are subject to change so be sure to check your state’s civil code to verify all information.

I’m often asked how to determine which State’s statute of limitations to use in any given situation. Section 811 of the Fair Debt Collection Practice Act; “Legal actions by debt collectors” answers this question.


In order to obtain court judgments on most debts, collectors must sue in the judicial district where the consumer resides. However, there are exceptions:

Child support orders are recognized and enforced in every state. If you have child support judgment from NY and move to Florida, the NY statutes of limitation apply.

Signed contracts (not revolving credit accounts); collectors can seek a judgment in the state where the contract was signed. Once they have a judgment collectors or creditors can use either the state where it was granted or have the judgment domesticated to the state where you reside, depending on which state offers the longest SoL.

Example: You live in New Jersey and a debt collector is attempting to collect on a past due credit card bill. The collector must obey the NJ statute of limitations for open ended credit contracts which is 4 years. On the other hand, if you live in NJ but signed a contract to have body work done on a vehicle in Pennsylvania, then a collector can sue for a judgment in PA (good for 20 years).

Under written credit contracts such as car loans, mortgages, and so forth, creditors retain the right to decide which state to sue in, so always expect creditors to choose the state with the longest statute of limitations and the greatest amount of award!

WARNING! A judgment, regardless of which state ordered it, can be enforced in any other state.
See FDCPA: Legal actions by debt collectors

In-depth explanation of the Statute of Limitations

Debt and Credit Terms

Breach of Sale:
To break a contract; to not honor an agreement

Contract Under Seal:
Any written instrument with a raised or wafered (wax) seal or with the words “contract under seal”, “under seal”, “sealed” or similar words written in the text.

Default Judgment:
Granted to the plaintiff due to the defendant’s failure to act (usually the defendant fails to appear in court)

Deficiency Claim:
Used when products or services are lacking in some way or are likely to fail or become defective or have already failed.

A simple promise by one party to pay money to another party.

An order one person (the drawer) to pay another person (the drawee), demanding that the drawee pay money to a third person (the payee).

Demand Note:
Instrument of credit where the creditor (lender) can call in the note (demand payment) at any time. Can be written or unwritten.

Domestic Judgment:
Judgment awarded by a court in state where the debtor resides.

Foreign Judgment:
Judgment awarded by a court from any state other than the state where the debtor resides.

The final decision or disposition of a court in a legal proceeding that defines how much money is awarded, to whom and any appeal rights.

Judgment Proof:
Having insufficient assets to satisfy a money judgment. However a more accurate term is execution-proof because the collector was awarded a judgment but still has to collect the money (the court does not collect money) and if the debtor has no money then the judgment is useless.

Mechanic’s Lien:
To secure payment for labor or materials supplied in improving, repairing, or maintaining real property. (Usually difficult to obtain)

Note payable at Definite Time:
Promise by one party to pay money to another party no earlier than at some specified future date.

Open Accounts (open-ended credit):
Line of credit that may be used over and over again, including credit cards, overdraft credit accounts, and home equity lines of credit, store revolving accounts and other similar credit accounts.

Oral Contract:
An unwritten agreement between two or more parties. Often confused with verbal contract , informal contract, and verbal contract which are legally different from an oral contract.

Probate Claims:
Claims on real property, typically on the estate of the deceased.

Promissory Note:
An unconditional promise in writing to pay a person a sum of money.

Sale of goods under the Uniform Commercial Code:
Transactions for the sale (and leasing) of goods is governed mainly by sales laws of each state. Every state, with the exception of Louisiana, has adopted, Article Two of the Uniform Commercial Code (UCC) as the main body of law regulating transactions in goods. Goods are defined as all things movable and identified to the contract of the sale. It does not include secured transactions, leases, money exchanged as the price, or real property (land and property permanently attached to a piece of land). To be identified to the contract a good must be existing and one of the objects that is or will be exchanged. Transactions between merchants and consumers and those solely between merchants are regulated by Part Two. All transactions that are for more that $500 must be in writing.

Simple or Implied Contract:
Contract that is not under seal and can be expressed or implied, and oral or written.

Tolling (Toll):
The term “toll”, “tolled”, and “tolling” are used in almost all statute of limitations rules and it means to “stop the running of a statutory period for a certain period of time”.

Unaccepted Drafts:
An instrument of money was rejected i.e. non-sufficient funds (NSF), returned check, dishonored check or draft, bounced check.

Uniform Commercial Code (UCC):
Law that governs the sale of goods and credit transactions separate from the civil and criminal laws. Covers the sale and distribution of goods, negotiable instruments, and the financing of credit transactions on the security of the goods sold.

Uniform Consumer Credit Code:
Law to protect consumers obtaining credit to finance their transactions; to ensure that adequate credit is provided, and to govern the credit industry in general. Seven states and Guam have adopted the code.

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  1. I closed my small mom and pop store four years ago am I still liable for any invoices ?

  2. what type of debt are medical bills? And do you know of the deadlines of those types of debts?

    • Medical debt is a consumer debt. Statutes of limitations can be tricky because they often depend on the state, incurred or where you reside. You can learn more about SOL’s or just call us at 888-595-9111 and we’ll ask the questions we need to know to answer, and also see if your Fair Debt rights are being violated because even if you owe the debt, you may not owe the amount they claim you owe. We will provide you a free, no obligation case review.

  3. What type of debt are Household Finance? Where you get cash repeatedly until you accumulate a large bill? I just called them about an old one on my credit report that was closed & found out there was 2 open accounts that I believe are 10 years old? Scared me they are going to come after me now. Credit report shows nothing about these open accounts.

    • Are you receiving letters attempting to collect on this old account? If it wasn’t on your credit report, what prompted the call to HSBC-Household Finance? You may have experienced some sort of Fair Debt violation(s), and even if not, 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!

  4. Hi, My husband and I entered into a loan modification in 2008 . Hoping to secure a modification based on criteria , my late husband being diagnosed with stage 4 cancer and we were self employed . My husband traveled a lot for treatment and it was effecting our income. Cancer is expensive. We were told by Chase Bank that we had to be 3 months in arrears as well. I put the mortgage payment in the safe every month. As time went on my husband needed extensive treatment. The money for the mortgage after 2 years of putting it in the safe went to a treatment center in hopes of saving his life. We were still applying and reapplying for the LM as every time one was sent there was always another reason every 3 months to re submit. Unfortunately on Dec 3 2010 my husband passed. I called Chase Bank to let them know . I did what was asked I sent the Death Certificate and after some time I was asked to resubmit, very long story that I will try to shorten .After a year I was told the reason my mod was not going through was because I needed to Assume the loan ( my name is on the deed , but not on the mortgage.). They said they would send an assumption packet which I never received one, ever … I was told there was one and it was overnighted and I was told there was no assumption application they used the reg Loan Mod app… It really depended on who you spoke to .In the next 21/2 years of jumping through their hoops and resubmitting . I also spent one entire summer calling everyone at Chase to get a good working number for their assumptions dept ,( which I found out did not exist 1/12 years later ) … approximately a year and half of trying to assume I received a phone call by yet another new rep telling me I needed to do another submission I was beyond overwhelmed at this point as I had just done another submission and was hoping for an answer or at least a break for 3 months of not having to do paper work. He said he understood my frustration especially after reviewing my lengthy file But he said ” This is actually good news for me as he had just finished training for a new program called LAMP and prior to this new program there was NO PLACE in the Assumption/Loan Modification system FOR PEOPLE LIKE ME ” Which certainly explained a lot of the mis information , passing me around , and never being able to speak to a rep that could actually say they worked in the assumptions dept. I spent months trying to reach Assumptions or at the least someone who knew concrete answers about assumption. So now I must do yet another submission and it would be a very streamlined and quick process ??? Well that was not the case, eventually after many phone calls I was told by a lady that she was very sorry and she could not believe no one at Chase told me I would not receive an Assumption or a loan Modification because Freddie Mac held my mortgage and they did not allow Assumptions !! I had recently hired a local attorney during this time to help with the loan Modification I called him and told him Chase said Freddie Mac does not allow Assumptions , he passed me on to an attorney friend that I retained. During this time with this attorney , I was told by Chase Bank they would allow me to assume the loan but I had to pay all the back arrears and enter a 3 month trial period and maybe I would be able to assume it , key word was maybe . As I thought about ways I could try to come up with 60, 000.00 .. I wanted reassurance that if I did what would happen to the 60 thousand if I was not approved for a permanent LM I got different answers from different people but it was apparent that they would be keeping the money even if I was not approved. , It took me almost 3 months but I was finally able to get through to the head man under Jamie Dimon. I explained all of my situation to him and asked if I was not approved would I get that money back he would not answer me , well I told him that was my answer . I asked him to put himself in my shoes for a minute and asked if he would take that chance of giving money and possibly losing your home and any money to start over, again he would not answer that question. The left hand and right hand at Chase never had a clue what the other was doing !! Around this time I hired a local attorney who claimed to help with loan mod’s prior to hearing this news so I called him and told him what Chase told me . Approximately 1 year ago Chase Bank sold my loan to M & T / Bayview . My attorney told me not to speak to them he would handle it. One Day I received a call and the rep from M & T said he just got permission to speak to me from my attorney so I listened as he said I should try for the Loan Modification with his bank or they were going to foreclose. . I explained that I would but he could not help me because Freddie Mac held my late husbands loan and FM does not allow assumptions, He asked me who told me that and I said a rep at Chase Bank. He had me look up a government web site that showed that FM indeed does allow assumptions . Imagne my disbelief to find this information ! So I again started the all too familiar process of filling out a LM submission. I will say that I only had one rep with this bank and only had to do one submission unlike my experience with Chase where I had at at least 13 different reps and submitted countless LM packets and at least 10 copies of my husbands D. Cert and will. The rep at M & T called to let me know I was approved I cried tears of joy I could barely speak a word , I was so over joyed and grateful 🙂 However a few days later he called me back and said Freddie Mac said my home was not underwater so I did not qualify for the HAMP Mod but they would give me an in house but with this I had to come up with the back arrears and enter a trial period and the interest rate would stay the same at 5.88 % and again only a trial period . I was right back to where I was with Chase NO Guarantee that they would let me assume after paying and a trial period , again no getting my money back if I did not get a permanent LM . Who would do this I asked him , my children and I could end up homeless and no money to start over. I have spent 6 years of my life dealing with trying to save my home and jumping through all the hoops all the while being strung along on false hopes that ” Don’t worry you qualify , and then You do not Qualify” I have spent at least 70 % of 6 years dealing with these banks and their false hopes because no one knows what is going on , nor does anyone care . I was lead to believe during the entire time with Chase that I would get the Modification, then given hope I would qualify to assume , until it was so far in back arrears I could not help myself catch up . I do take some responsibility for the fact my husband and I believed during a desperate time in our lives that there was HELP FOR HOMEOWNERS . We put the money away every month until the decision was made to spend it on a hopeful treatment for my husband to live. Unfortunately not only have my children lost their Dad but much time with me as well. 5 years is along time to spend working within a broken Bank LM / Assumption system set up to fail , I wish I had know I would have made a different choice .As I have spent countless hours on saving our home and then working all I can to make money . A lot of my time since my husband passed in 2010 has been spent doing just this writing , calling and hoping there is help to keep our home . I have written to the NY AG office and local senators , hired attorneys who seemingly only take the money I am able to save. Called the heads of different help programs that have been set up by the fines the banks had to pay for their LM failures programs and yet I can not get any help from them or anyone. I spoke to the NY AG Office again the other day and because Chase sold my loan they can offer me no help ! I can make a mortgage payment and provide for my children I just need help in getting the banks to be fair in their process , unfortunately I can not trust them to do that . Since my husband passed I have worked very hard and many long days with no days off. I am doing the best I can with what I have to secure the income needed to provide for my children and secure a fair mortgage payment. I do not want to lose our home that we built together as a family on the property my husband was born, raised and passed on. We had a few years of misfortunes that we managed to survive. We had a house fire, our oldest son passed in a tragic accident at 19 yrs old. Our business that we worked as partners at and built together caved in under the weight of a heavy winter storm due to a faulty rafter 3 months before my husband was diagnosed with stage 4 cancer. Our 2 youngest had life threating asthma that kept us in fear of losing them . Thank fully they have outgrown it. During all of this I have never given up hope or working hard to save our home. Any advice or help you could give me I will be forever grateful . If there is no hope kindly let me know as this lengthy battle is taking its toll on me and my children. I look forward to hearing from you. Sincerely, Amy

    • Well I think that I may have you beat on the LM. Mine is with usbank and I have 3.5 years in with the special team that has changed their emailaddress to ten different point of contact reps with usbanks subsidery Mortgage assistance point At Usbank.com This is the end for me and I am sincerely tired of submitting. I ran across something that said there is a statue of limitations with collecting on contracts that have been breached upon. That SOL is 4 years and I am one month shy. Yet I have so much equity in my home and my loan was a home equity line of credit that advanced money. That quickly stopped advancing they added an escrow and I cant find an attorney to represent me in a case to file a lawsuit. God sent a man that finally had knowledge in this disaster of oh your missing this page and that page. My family thinks that I have been lying to them about my finances and that I just dont want to come home anymore to anotherstate. Yes I say I would love another state..State of mind that is! I read somewhere that if you leave your home for even vacation that you can be subject to abandonment. Meaning that someone can file for abandon title of your property and you could come hme from your vacation and be homeless. I startedhaving problems with my city about various enviromental and criminal issues then I was told that the state was now setting my sale dates on my foreclosure. While in Loan Modification they have to stop the sale date and then when you disqualify they reset it again and again. My home has been seen in listings and I am now being harassed by the city I believ to leave my home. I have experienced Home Invasion of my Privacy with loud pitched frequencies to the point that I thought my ears were going to pop or bleed. I am now filing an injunction to get this to stop hopefully. I am currently pursuing a case against the city officers here for pulling a knife on me while I was a passenger. SO the controvery is wide marked for insanity to say the least. The injunction can cover things like a cease and order for foreclosure and for law officers to stop trying to arrest me for everything under the sun until I get my foreclosure handled or for a period of time to get some repreve in life. Like a breather. My state does not have an attorney to handle real estate litigation so what do I do? A hope Hotline said SAVE THE HOME! SELL! i am not ready to move yet andi will not be forced outof my home by a bunch of hooligans. I think the equity is what is driving the increased amount of cars driving by at all hours. I feel like putting a sign out that says THIS HOUSE IS NOT FOR SALE in the front yard but I got enough attenmtion and dont need anymore. So my advice is take one giant deep breathe and sathen say a prayer then sit down and decided what you really want in life. Then find an experienced real estate agent that has a working knowledge of the law like someone that is a lawyer and a real estate agent. And find your footing with an injunction then sue your bank but not in small claims. Keep playing the LM processof submitting and do your best to do it right everytime so you do not feel guilt when you speak or are answered a question about your submission. So when it comes time for you to shine that you are doing it thru truth and honesty. You will succeed and yes He does answer you even if itsw a SUnday nght while you are digging thru garbage for goods to sell the next day. Wear your head phones turn up the music and give those dirty predator bastards the big one becasue this is a test and you have the strentght to complete what is at hand and what is before you. Push onward because this too shall pass like everything elese has beofree. God will not give you more than you can handle. Be the source of the answer in knowing the solution is going to work for the good ofall not just you my friend. Please take care and Love LOve LOve…

  5. Signed a contract for a car loan in 1/07 in PA. The car was junk so I voluntarily told them to come and get the vehical in 8/08. They told me they ” passed” on the vehical and that I still have to pay them even tho they won’t come and get it! And they would not come get the vehical after numerous attempts of me calling them. Well its now 2015 and I haven’t heard from them to my knoweledge. And even if they have called I don’t pick up the house phone, don’t have a voicemail, and could care less if they called my cell because I don’t pick up unknown numbers as it doesnt bother me when I do see crazy #’s on my phone. So my loan went into default in 9/08 and haven’t paid a dime since. Can they still sue me!? What can I do with the car!? Oh and I still have the piece of junk at my husbands auto garage sitting in a junk lot in tact but not running…

  6. I had a breach of credit card contract over 4 years ago in Utah, I have not lived there the last three. Can I be summoned or passed judgement on in my current state?

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