When you receive a call from a debt collector, it is important to know your rights, especially when it comes to time-barred debts. If your debts are old, especially over three to four years old, chances are you may be protected from lawsuits. However, it is important to determine the statute of limitations before jumping to assumptions. Read on to find more from Shamis & Gentile P.A. about time-barred debts and how to handle debt collectors.
What are time-barred debts?
If the statute of limitations on your debt has run out, debt collectors and creditors do not have the right to sue you for it. These are known as time-barred debts. However, it is important to remember that even though the debt collectors cannot take you to court for non-payment, they can still contact you through constant calls and letters to repay it.
According to the Fair Debt Collection Practices Act (FDCPA), debt collectors are prohibited from suing or even threatening to sue on a time-barred debt. In this regard, if a debt collector does sue you over a time-barred debt, you have the right to prove to the court that the statute of limitations on your debt has expired. However, it is never recommended to ignore a lawsuit summons just because your statute of limitations has run out.
If you are contacted by a debt collector, you must ask them what the late date of payment on their records is. This is the date when the clock starts ticking on your statute of limitations and they are legally obliged to tell you the correct date of the same. If, however, they do not provide this information, you have a right to send them a written letter within 30 days before to which they have to divulge the information you have requested. Until they do, they are prohibited from contacting you for repayment.
What is the time limit for debt collection?
The state of Florida has a statute of limitations of five years for most debts. The only exception is in the case of oral contracts that have a statute of limitations of two years.
The five-year statute of limitations is among the shortest across the country. Some states such as Massachusetts and New Hampshire have statutes of limitations as long as 20 years!
If you need more information on the statute of limitations across states, you can consult a lawyer, do a basic Google search or visit the Nolo website for a breakdown of each state.
How to report a debt collector?
Even though debt collectors are not legally allowed to sue or threaten you for a time-barred debt, there are some aggressive ones who will stop at nothing, including the threat of lawsuits, to force you to pay up.
If you have been sued by a debt collector after the statute of limitations on your debt has expired, you can report them to the Federal Trade Commission, the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau or the State Attorney General’s office.
The bottom line is this: consult expert lawyers if a debt collector has sued you over a debt, either time-barred or current. For more information, contact Shamis & Gentile P.A. for a free consultation.