When debts remain unpaid for a long time, the law allows creditors to sue you so that they can obtain a judgment and recover their money. Through such a judgment, creditors may be able to collect money from you involuntarily through wage garnishments or property and bank account seizures.
But bad debt doesn’t hang over your head forever. There is only a certain amount of time debt collectors can institute a lawsuit against you. This period is what is called the statute of limitations. If your creditors are harassing you, you need the help of a debt relief attorney in Oregon to protect your debtor’s rights and find solutions to your debt.
How Long Does a Bill Collector Have to Collect a Debt?
Once a debt passes its statute of limitations, it is considered time-barred or null and void. The debt collectors will have no legal grounds to sue you for a debt outside the statute of limitations. However, this doesn’t mean they won’t try.
In many states, the statute of limitations runs between three and six years after the last debt repayment was made. It will also vary depending on the type of debt you owe. In Oregon, the deadline is six years for a mortgage, medical or credit card debt, auto loans, and other contract debts. Unfortunately, state tax debt doesn’t have a statute of limitation.
Note that the statute of limitations doesn’t start when you were last billed but starts with your last payment on your debt. That’s why a debt that is older than six years can still be collected if you made a payment over the previous 4-6 years.
Can I Be Pursued for Debt After 6 Years?
In Oregon, the statute of limitations for debt collection would have passed after six years. Debt collectors may still pursue it, but they can’t take any legal actions to recover it. At this stage, notify them that the statute of limitations already passed and ask them not to contact you, and they likely won’t.
What Should I Do If Contacted About an Old Debt?
If a debt collector contacts you regarding an old debt, it doesn’t mean you should pay it. Remember, as mentioned earlier, once you agree to their terms and provide any sort of payment, it can restart the clock on an old debt. Instead, take the following steps:
Request A Written Notice from the Creditor
The federal Fair Debt Collections Practices Act requires creditors to issue debtors with this even without you asking. Scammers will probably say they are prohibited from sending notices or will try sending you an email instead. This step will eliminate all illegitimate callers.
During the call, limit your conversations to avoid saying something wrong that may hurt your case.
Validate the Debt
You have 30 days to request debt validation after receiving a written request. Send the mail to the creditor with a certified letter that asks for validation of the debt. Don’t give any reasons.
Check Whether the Debt Is Within the Statute of Limitations
As you wait for validation from them, get in touch with an experienced consumer bankruptcy attorney in Eugene to confirm the statute of limitations for you. Oregon consumer law attorneys who deal with such issues will likely offer a free initial consultation.
Once you receive a debt collector’s response and confirm that it’s outside Oregon’s debt statute of limitations, you have three options:
Send a letter to the collector telling them to stop contacting you – you have a right to do this. They will only contact you when ready to take legal action against you. But if the debt is outside the statute of limitations, you should mention it in the letter and tell them to leave you alone.
Seek advice from an Attorney – you may have a legal claim against the debt collector under the Fair Debt Collection Practices Act.
Professional Legal Advice for Debt Relief in Eugene, OR
In Oregon, you are also protected by the Unlawful Debt Collection Practices Act, and not just any debt collector can contact you. But if you find yourself in an insurmountable amount of debt, seek credit counseling from a debt relief attorney in Eugene, OR. One of the solutions is filing for bankruptcy in Oregon.
An experienced bankruptcy lawyer near you can help you stop all creditor actions against you. And if the creditor is garnishing your wages or is levying your bank account, it’s possible to get your money back through bankruptcy.