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The Importance of Understanding the Debt Collection Statute of Limitations

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Debt collection is covered by the statute of limitations. The statute of limitations refers to the law that sets a deadline for law suits. For every type of case, the law sets a certain timeframe for people to sue. Normally, the debt collection statute of limitations set the timeframe according to the date of the event’s occurrence. In reference to debt collection, it means that after the designated statute of limitation expires, a collector can no longer sue you. So, if the collector wants to go with legal action, he should start the process before the debt collection statute of limitations expires.

The debt collection statute of limitations is computed according to the last time you made a payment to your debt. For example, you made a payment on May 15, 2008. Six months will be added to that date. It will now be November 15, 2008. Next, add the number of years of the statute of limitations. This will depend on two things – the state where you incurred the debt and the type of agreement you signed for the debt. For the purpose of this computation, let’s assume the debt was an open-ended account in New York. This means that six years will be added to November 15, 2008. This will make November 15, 2014 the date that the debt collection statute of limitations expires. All debt collection activities may stop now since the debt collector can no longer use legal action to force the debtor to pay.

Knowing the debt collection statute of limitations is important. With this information, you can know your account’s situation and how it affects the chances of you being sued. Remember that even if your account is only a month or a day from the expiration of the statute of limitations, you can reset the expiration date if you pay just a single dollar. You’ll be back to square one, and you’d have to wait six months and six years before you can be free from any possible law suits.

To determine the statute of limitations on your debt, it is important to know what kind of debt you have.

Open-Ended Accounts - According to the Truth in Lending Act, an open ended account is a type of credit plan that has repeated transactions and interests and balances that vary from time to time. Credit cards belong to this classification.

Oral Contract – This is a contract where you verbally guarantee someone that you will pay the debt you owe him.

Written Contract – A debt where the creditor and debtor sign an agreement that details the terms of payment as well as fines and penalties.

Promissory Note – This involves a written document where the debtor agrees to pay the debt according to a specific schedule of payments. The debtor also agrees on the applicable interest rates.



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