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How Long Can Creditors Try to Collect Old Debts?

Rapa Law Office, P.C. July 13, 2021

When you are struggling to keep up with your debt, it can be frustrating to get a phone call from a collector asking for payment on an old bill you may not even remember owing. Fortunately, there are limitations on how long creditors can pursue old debts.

What are your options if a collector is attempting to get you to pay an old debt?

Statute of Limitations

There is no statute of limitations on the state tax debt. The statute of limitations for mortgage, credit card, medical and auto loan debt in Pennsylvania is four years. This means that if four years have passed since the date of the last activity on your account, the creditor can not sue you for the debt. However, this does not eliminate your debt. Debt collectors may still attempt to pursue payment by calling you or sending you letters.

Paying Old Debts

Because out of statute debts are difficult to collect, many collection agencies will offer to settle the debt for less than the full amount owed. However, it may be wise to consult with an attorney or financial advisor before accepting a settlement offer. Making a payment on your old debts can restart the statute of limitations. This makes it possible for creditors to sue you for the remaining balance.

Dealing with creditors on old debts can be stressful and confusing and if you make a mistake you could open yourself up to a lawsuit. An experienced attorney can help you understand what your debt relief options are.