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How Long is Debt Valid?

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If you're dealing with multiple debts on your credit report or you're getting calls and letters from debt collectors, you may wonder if the debt is still valid. Debts generally don't "go away" just because they get older. However, older debts do reach a period where they should no longer affect you or your credit.

There's a one time limit that a debt can be listed on your credit report and another for the amount of time you can be sued for an unpaid debt.

How Long Are Debts On Your Credit Report?

Most negative debts can only be reported to the credit bureaus for seven years. For charge-offs, it’s seven years plus 180 days starting from the missed payment that led to the charge-off. Making a payment may update the account details on your credit report, but it won't restart the credit reporting time limit.

How Long Can Debts Be Collected?

As long as a debt isn't cancelled, the creditor or the debt collector can collect on the debt indefinitely. They may call you or send letters for years after you've long forgotten about the debt. However, they only have a limited amount of time to sue you for a debt. This time period doesn't line up with the credit reporting time limit.

Each state has a different set of rules regarding the amount oof time you can be sued for a debt. The time - known as the statute of limitations - varies from 3 to 15 years and starts from the last date you made any activity on the account. (In most states, the limit is between three and six years.) It's possible that the credit reporting time limit has expired on debt, but the statute of limitations is still in effect.

The statute of limitations is also different from the credit reporting time limit because it can be restarted. If you make a payment or a payment arrangement or even admit the debt is yours, you can restart the statute of limitations. This extends the amount of time you can be sued for the debt.

If you're contacted about an old debt, don't make any promises to pay or admit the debt is yours until you've requested and received proof of the debt. You're legally allowed to ask for verification that the debt is yours, that the amount is accurate, and the creditor or collector is allowed to collect the debt from you.

When Debts Are Cancelled?

There are are two ways that debts can be cancelled. With certain types of bankruptcy, debts that aren't paid are cancelled. Some creditors cancel old debts rather than sell them to an outside collection agency. In either of those cases, you're no longer responsible for the debt. It may be still be reported on your credit report if it's within the credit reporting time limit, but creditors and collectors can't collect cancelled debts.

What To Do About Old Debts?

If an outdated debt is on your credit report, you can write to the credit bureau to have it removed. To stop calls and letters from debt collectors, send a letter stating that you do not want to be contacted further regarding the debt. Remember, not to make any other activity that could restart the statute of limitations.

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Comments 1

Wanderer on Saturday, 10 August 2019 07:00

Learned a lot in this Blog! WOW! Reminds me of "tip toeing through the tulips" as you need to be ever so careful! Many legals to watch for. Thanks for putting this information out there for us!

Learned a lot in this Blog! WOW! Reminds me of "tip toeing through the tulips" as you need to be ever so careful! Many legals to watch for. Thanks for putting this information out there for us!
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Saturday, 17 August 2019

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