What is the statute of limitations for debt collections?

A person paying with money.


Creditors and debt collectors must file a lawsuit for debt within a specific period after which they can’t do such

A statue of limitations for debt collections exists, but how long it is depends on numerous factors.

Sometimes, you run into debt no matter how careful you are with money. While you worry about coming up with funds to offset the debt, there’s also the concern of your creditor or debt collectors breathing down your neck.

They could initiate an action in court against you. How much time do they have to do such? Afterward, how long will they be unable to file a lawsuit against you to recover the debt?

The answer to these questions lies in the statute of limitations for debt collections.

The statute of limitations for debt collections refers to the time frame in which creditors or debt collectors must file a lawsuit to recover a debt.

Knowing the statute of limitations on debt collections is essential because outside the statute of limitations, the creditor or collector can’t file a lawsuit to recover the debt. Also, they cannot use the legal remedies of judgments and garnishments to recover the debt if they didn’t file the action before the time passed.

They are barred from bringing the action after the statute of limitations expires, and the defense may be available to you if they do.

Understanding the statute of limitations for debt collections

To actually make heads or tails of the statute of limitations for debt collections, it important to note that:

  • It does not refer to how long a derogatory remark stays on a credit report
  • After the period, the debt still remains on  your credit report
  • The lapse of the statute of limitations does not mean that you don’t owe the debt anymore
  • Beyond the statute of limitations, creditors and collectors can still attempt to recover the debt from you

How long is the statute of limitations on debt collections?

The statute of limitations on debt collections typically falls anywhere from 3-6 years. However, they may increase significantly beyond that range to 10 years and far beyond!

The length of time is strongly dependent on a number of factors, namely:

  • The state and its laws
  • If the applicable state law is stated in the credit agreement
  • The type of debt involved
  • The type of contract, whether written, oral, promissory, or open
  • If it’s a judgment debt 

In some states, the statute of limitations starts the moment you default on making the required payment on a debt. In some other states, it begins when you made your most recent payment.

In fact, for some states, even when the period has elapsed, any payment after will restart the time period.

Seeing that the statute of limitations for debt collections involves a lot, it’s better to seek help if you find yourself facing such a situation. You could either consult your local attorney general or enlist the services of an attorney.

At Consumer Attorneys, we are experts at all things debt collections. You don’t need to attempt to untangle the intricacies yourself. Just contact us.  

Contact Us

+1 877-615-1725



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