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Debt Expiration Dates aka The Statute of Limitations

Most forms of consumer debt have an expiration date and once that debt passes it will be difficult or impossible for debt collectors to successfully sue a consumer, the legal term for that date is the statute of limitations. When exactly the expiration date expires involves a number of complicated legal issues, however when the deadline draws near one tactic that debt collectors will use is to tell consumers they should make a “good faith” payment of $1.00 or $20.00 to show that they “want to work” with the debt collector. They will often pretend to be friends with a consumer and say they can cut the consumer a great deal, but first they need a small bit of good faith money.

That is a trick.

The laws which govern when exactly consumer debts expires are complicated however making a payment on most forms of consumer debt, including credit cards, bank cards or small loans will reset the clock on when the expiration date expires.

That means if a consumer has a credit card debt for thousands of dollars and the loan will expire in a week and they have not already been sued, if in that final week the consumer pays even one dollar, the clock resets on the loan and it may be good for another four years or longer.

Generally speaking, if it has been more than five years since the last charge or payment on a credit card the debt has probably expired, however the laws about debt expiration debts are complicated and you should contact an attorney before you decide the debt has expired. If you are being contacted by debt collectors about a loan that you think has expired you should contact an attorney for guidance, such as our office who will be happy to give you a free consultation.

This document has been provided for informational purposes only and is not intended and should not be construed to constitute legal advice. Please consult your attorney in connection with any legal issues related to the matters discussed in this article as the applicability of state, local and federal laws may vary.
  • ABC News
  • American Civil Liberties Union
  • CBS 4
  • CNN
  • Daily Business Review
  • Florida Trend's - Florida Legal Elite 2014
  • Florida Trend's - Florida Legal Elite 2014
  • National Association of Consumer Advocates
  • National Association of Consumer Bankruptcy Attorneys
  • NBC News
  • National Consumer Law Center
  • The New York Times
  • Avvo
  • Avvo
  • Avvo
  • Avvo
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