Offering high-quality, cost-effective representation to consumers throughout Maryland

  1. Home
  2.  → 
  3. Debt Collection
  4.  → Understanding the statute of limitations on debt collection

Understanding the statute of limitations on debt collection

Dealing with debts can be a challenging aspect of adult life.

One factor that often comes into play is the statute of limitations on debt collection.

What is the statute of limitations?

Several laws, including the Fair Debt Collection Practices Act, govern debt collection practices, including the statute of limitations. This is a time frame within which creditors can legally pursue the collection of a debt. Once this period expires, they lose their right to take legal action against you. Statutes of limitation vary depending on the type of debt.

What are the time limits of different debts?

Different types of debts have different statutes of limitations. For example, credit card debts, medical bills and personal loans typically have shorter statutes, ranging from three to six years. Debts like federal student loans may not have a statute of limitations at all.

How can you reset the clock?

Certain actions can reset the clock on the statute of limitations. Making a partial payment or acknowledging the debt, even verbally, can restart the time frame. Therefore, tread carefully when dealing with outstanding debts.

What happens when the statute of limitations expires?

Once the statute of limitations on a debt has expired, creditors can no longer take legal action to force you to pay. However, while they may not be able to sue you, they can still attempt to collect the debt through other means, such as contacting you or reporting it to credit bureaus.

To protect yourself, be aware of the statute of limitations on your debts. Keep track of when the clock started ticking, and if you believe a debt is past its statute of limitations, you have the right to inform the creditor that the debt is time-barred.