What is the statute of limitations on collecting old debts?
What is the Statute of limitations on collecting old debts? Also when a collection agency contacts you and you request to see the orginal bill, because you are unaware of owing this debt (and doubt it is yours), they say they do not have it. What is the next step you should take?
1 Answer from Attorneys
Re: What is the statute of limitations on collecting old debts?
If the debt is from an oral contract, the statute
of limitations is 3 years, but watch carefully
how it is measured. The clock starts running
from the later of the last payment made or
the last time services or products were
provided under the contract.
For a written contract, it is 5 years, but notice
it is measured differently. It is measured
from the date when something was due (a payment
was due, for example) which was not done by the
debtor, so that the creditor had a right to sue
at that point.
However, Virginia law allows a creditor to file
a lawsuit even beyond the statute of limitations.
There is always the hope that someone will agree
To raise the defense of the statute of
limitations, the defendant must appear in court
and challenge the debt by specifically naming
the statute of limitations as a defense. Only
then will the lawsuit be dismissed.
Note, however, that debt collectors can make
annoying phone calls any time. There is no
statute of limitations on annoying phone calls.
You should just ignore them.
If they do not have the original bill, they
would be taking a lot of chances by filing a
lawsuit, and they would probably lose on that
grounds also in court.
However, they can still make annoying phone
calls. Ignore them.