Legal Question in Credit and Debt Law in Virginia

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?

Asked on 11/02/05, 2:26 pm

1 Answer from Attorneys

Jonathon Moseley Moseley Legal Associates LLP

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 pay.

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.

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Answered on 11/02/05, 5:14 pm

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