5 years

by Laura
(Grand Rapids, MI USA)

Can a debt be collected after 5 years of no contact from them?

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Feb 10, 2012
5 years
by: debtcollectionanswers

There is no time limit on how long a debt can be collected. An unpaid debt can haunt you for years. However, there is a time limit on how long you can be sued for a debt that you have not paid. That time limit is called the statute of limitations (SOL) and the duration of the SOL on a debt depends on the nature of the debt and the state where you incurred the debt.

The SOL starts ticking on the day that you miss your first debt payment. If you are sued for a debt for which the SOL has expired, you can use that fact in court to get the lawsuit against you thrown out. However, debt collectors can continue contacting you to demand that you pay what you owe.

If you want to find out what the SOL is on your debt, contact a consumer law attorney in your area or your state attorney general's office.

If the SOL on your debt has expired, you may want to write the collection agency that is contacting you to tell them that you do not want to be contacted again. Once the agency receives your letter, federal law requires that it cease contact. Before you send your letter make a copy for your files and then mail the original via certified mail with a return receipt requested so that you will have proof that the letter was received. Read our advice on using a cease and desist letter to stop a debt collector.

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