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Debt Collection: How long before you can't be sued?

Each state has a statute of limitations for debt collection.

Debt collectors don't want you to know it, but there's a point after which they can't sue you and win a judgment if you know your rights.

In California, the limit is four years for most debt. For oral contracts, the statute of limitations is two years.

The statute of limitations applies to the debt collector's ability (or inability) to obtain a court judgment. If they sue you for the debt, and you fail to raise the statute of limitations as an affirmative defense, then any judgment they obtain is legally enforceable. Even without a court judgment, they can still attempt to collect the debt by other legal means, and your credit history will still reflect the debt.

If you make any payment towards a debt that is out of statute you effectively will restart the period in which the collector may take you to court to collect the debt.

Remember, the collectors likely acquired the debt for pennies on the dollar. Any amount of money pulled from you represents profit. So they have a strong incentive to keep coming after you until they realize it's a lost cause.

If you think a debt collector has violated a law, you can file a complaint with the California Attorney General's Office at 800.952.5225 and the FTC at 877.FTC.HELP or 877.382.4357. Collection laws give you the right to sue a collector in a State or Federal court within one year from the violation date.

Click Here to Read More - What to Do if the Debt Collector Calls

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