Debt Collection Statute of Limitations: What to Do

7 Things to Know about Time-Barred Debt

If a debt collector has been hounding you about an ancient debt, you need to understand your rights. You also need to avoid falling into the traps that debt collectors set when they go about trying to collect a debt that is past the debt collection statute of limitations. Here are some things to keep in mind when dealing with the debt collection statute of limitations.

  1. The debt collection statute of limitations means that a debt isn’t legally enforceable. If the debt is so old as to be past your state’s statute of limitations, you can’t be sued in court and a debt collector can’t get a judgment against you.
  2. If a debt collector threatens to take you to court and sue you for a time-barred debt, his action is a violation of the Fair Debt Collection Practices Act (FDCPA). It may also be a violation of your state’s laws.
  3. If a debt collector obtains a legal judgment against you for a debt beyond the debt collection statute of limitations, you may be able to have the judgment vacated.
  4. The debt collection statute of limitations begins on the date of your last payment.
  5. When a debt collector calls about an old debt, do not admit to owing the debt. Doing so may “reset the clock” and make the debt legally current again.
  6. Don’t pay a penny. If a debt collector hounds you, you may be tempted to make a small payment on a time-barred debt. Don’t do it! If you pay even a penny, it resets the clock and the debt collector can obtain a legal judgment against you.
  7. Always dispute a debt that you believe is past the debt collection statute of limitations. The debt collector is required to send you a written notice within five days of first contacting you. That letter should outline your right to dispute the debt within 30 days of receiving the letter. Send your dispute in writing. The debt collector will need to send you validation that the debt is yours to pay. Debt buyers (those who purchase old debt for pennies on the dollar) often don’t bother to try and validate disputed time-barred debts. Instead, they’ll move on to the next consumer who might not know his or her rights.

If a debt collector has been hounding you about a debt past the debt collection statute of limitations, to speak with a representative directly and immediately call 844-685-9200 for a free, no obligation case evaluation. Our attorneys have experience in fighting debt buyers and standing up for consumers. If a debt buyer has violated the Fair Debt Collection Practices Act, you’re entitled to file suit in federal court, and could be awarded up to $1,000.

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