Debt Doesn’t Have to Be Forever: Knowing the Statute of Limitations on Debts
Due to a shrinking economy and a lack of jobs, many families are finding that bills they once handled easily are now out of control. Some of these debts land on credit reports, affecting credit scores and pushing down credit ratings. Many people are finding themselves in the brand-new position of facing debt collector harassment and not knowing how to stop debt collector phone calls or how to fix their credit.
Luckily, few things last forever, and debt and credit problems are one of the things that eventually wear out. Knowing how long a creditor can take in reporting or collecting a debt, or how long debts can remain on your credit report, can help you fix your credit report and get debt under control.
Under federal law, credit bureaus such as Experian, Trans Union, and Equifax are required to remove negative information from your credit report after seven years. The seven-year clock usually starts ticking only after your debt has been due for 180 days, or approximately six months. Also, not all debts follow the seven-year rule. Bankruptcy information may stick around for up to ten years, while unpaid tax liens and similar debts may stay on your credit report and affect your credit score indefinitely.
Creditors also have a specified amount of time to sue you in court to collect a debt. In most states, this time period is three to six years. Creditors cannot sue you for a debt that has been discharged in bankruptcy or after the creditor has agreed to forgive the debt. Debt collection agencies can continue to call you even after the three to six years has expired, but they may not take you to court to get the money.
What if a debt collector harasses you by threatening to take you to court after the statute of limitations has expired on a debt? In this case, the collection agency is violating your rights under the Fair Debt Collection Practices Act. You have the right to fight back and stop collection agency harassment.
How long a particular debt can stick around depends on the type of debt and the state’s debt laws. To know the lifespan of a particular debt for certain, it’s best to ask an experienced debt collection attorney. A consumer rights attorney can also help you fix your credit, handle debt collector harassment, or fight identity theft.
If you have been victimized by a debt collector or have items on your credit report that are incorrect, call or email Attorney Gary Nitzkin for a free consultation at (888) 293-2882. For more information about your credit rights as a consumer, visit our blog at www.micreditlawyerblog.com. Visit our website at www.micreditlawyer.com.