Know if your creditors are following the debt collection rules!
Check out your debt collection Statute of Limitations for your state.
Very often people pay off debts they shouldn’t when the Statute of Limitations (SOL) has expired for that debt.
This can happen when the accounts are not removed from their credit reports, or because they are unaware of the SOL on debt.
Knowing this can be a great weapon in freeing yourself from old debts, since creditors have a restricted amount of time in which they can take legal action against you.
Keep in mind that the Statute of Limitations is valid from the day the debt – or debtor activated activity on an account – was done.
In fact, The Statute of Limitations won’t make your debt disappear after the SOL expires. If the creditor takes action by suing you, you have a defense. In this case, you must offer documented evidence (that the SOL expired) to avoid judgment being taken against you.
The evidence will likely include documents outlining the debt, the SOL, etc. to support your claim.
If the creditor takes legal action against you, and you do not prove to the Court that the SOL is expired, you will certainly lose the lawsuit.
When does the Statute of Limitations start ticking?
You might wonder about when your Statute of Limitations starts ticking when your debt has not had any activity for a while.
To know the answer to this question you can start by checking your credit report. Here, you can check the date for end activity for your account. You will then have your credit report indicating the date of last activity and should do a certified letter to the creditor confirming that the SOL has expired.
Depending on the laws governing these issues in your state, a payment for less than the full amount (partial) could postpone the SOL of your debt.
As a result, a collector could contact and tell you your rights were waived when you made an agreement with the collection agency.
Do not believe anything this collector tells you before they can really prove it, in or out of Court. For most people, the Statute of Limitations started to run at the time their last payment was posted to their account.
Types Of Debt Contracts
Oral Contract: You verbally agreed to pay off your debt, via oral contract or agreement (i.e., nothing in writing). Keep in mind that a verbal contract is legal but it is also tougher to prove in court.
Written Contract: You agree to pay off your loan in a written document, which has been signed by your creditor and yourself.
Promissory Note: You agree to pay off your loan in a written document including the scheduled payments and interest on the loan too. A mortgage is a good example of a promissory note.
Open-ended Accounts: These are rotating lines of credit, such as the credit card account, with changing balances.
Some states consider credit cards as open-ended accounts; others consider them as written agreements. It is important for you to check your state code to see which applies to you.
Negative information can generally be reported for 7 years, with the following exceptions:
- Information about bankruptcy can be reported for 10 years;
- No time limitations are set for information listed because of an application for a job with a salary of more than $20,000;
- No time limitations are set for information reported because of an application for more than $50,000 worth of credit or life insurance;
- Information regarding a legal action or a judgment against you can be reported for 7 years or until the statute of limitations expires, whichever is longest; and
- Information regarding U.S. Government insured or guaranteed student loans can stay on your report for 7 years after various guarantor action.
- Tax liens remain on your report for seven (7) years from the date they are paid.
Below you will find the Statute of Limitations by State for various types of debt. Figures are given in years.
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