If you are being harassed by a debt collector for a debt that is many years old, you may be wondering if there is a time limit, or “statute of limitations” (SOL) for this particular type of debt in your state. A statute of limitations is a statute or law that sets forth the maximum period of time, after the debtor becomes delinquent on the debt, that a law suit can be pursued by a debt collector. Collection agencies may still try to collect an old debt; but a court will throw out a lawsuit if it is outside that particular state’s Statute of Limitations.
Depending upon the type of debt, the statute of limitations may be different. Credit cards are usually considered to be "Open Accounts" whereas auto loans and other installment-agreements/loans are considered "Written Contracts".
This chart indicates the number of years of the statute of limitations in each U.S. state, as of Jan 2007. After this date it may change, so consult your state's attorney general's office or a lawyer to confirm that the statute of limitation on a debt in your state hasn’t changed.
It is a violation of Fair Debt Collection Law if a debt collector has used any illegal tactics in their efforts to collect money from you for a debt. Contact an attorney for legal help by filling out the form or visit the Fair Debt Attorneys site.
You can stop debt collectors from contacting you about any debt, regardless of whether you owe it, by writing a letter telling them to stop contacting you. Once the collector gets your letter, they may not contact you again — except to say there will be no further contact or to let you know that the collector or creditor intends to take some specific action. Sending a letter doesn’t absolve you of the debt if you actually owe it; the debt collector or creditor still could sue you for the debt.
A Fair Debt Collection Practices Act Attorney could help you stop the phone calls and letters from Debt Collectors even if you do owe the debt! Don’t put up with debt collector abuse, the Fair Debt Collection Practices Act and State Debt Collection Laws could help you stop the harassment and you could be entitled to monetary damages!
You can protect yourself from future collection on any disputed or partially settled debt by getting a form or letter from the creditor or debt collector that releases you from further obligation. If you believe that a debt collector violated the law, you have the right to sue in a state or federal court within a year from the date the law was violated. If you win, you may recover money for the damages you suffered, plus an additional amount up to $1,000. You also may recover court costs and attorney’s fees. You also may want to report any problems you have with a debt collector to your State Attorney General.*
*Some information on this page provided by FTC.gov