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Special section Managing debts in collection

Debt collectors have to mind their p's and q's; it's the law. You may owe, but you still have rights, so use them!

State statutes of limitations for old debts

When dealing with an old debt, it's important to know your limits.

Once a debt passes beyond the statute of limitation in your state, a debt collector no longer has the right to sue you for payment. You may still have a moral obligation to pay back an old, forgotten debt, but you can't be sued over it.

Any debt collector who threatens to sue you over a debt that is beyond the statute of limitation in your state is in violation of the Fair Debt Collection Practices Act.

The chart below offers a state-by-state roundup of statutes of limitations for delinquent debt. Credit cards are considered open accounts. For the best rates on credit cards, see our search engine. If you're being hassled about an old debt, the chart below is a great starting point and was accurate as of the date it was published here.

If you need legal assistance with a delinquent debt, visit the Web site of the National Association of Consumer Advocates and search for an attorney with expertise in debt collection in your area. To find your state's attorney general, click here.

National survey
  Statutes of limitation  


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