Statute of Limitation – Will Debt Go On Forever? – Jennifer

“Dear Steve,

I had my bank account bounce for a 263.00 credit. now I have over $900 and counting in bank fees.

I am berried in debt and unemployed, I want to know how long a debt is valid (statues of limitations) but I don’t understand what is written for the “Oregon statutes of limitation” listed below, can you please tell me exactly what ” NOTE: There is no statute of limitations for a cause of action brought as a counterclaim to an action by the seller. (ORS 646.638(6)).” means. Does it mean my debt will go on forever? what does the rest of it mean?

Oregon Statutes of Limitation
Unlawful trade practices: 1 year, (ORS 646.638(5).
NOTE: There is no statute of limitations for a cause of action brought
as a counterclaim to an action by the seller. (ORS 646.638(6))
Contract or liability: 6 years, (ORS 12.080)
Judgment: 10 years, (ORS 12.070).

Thank you so much!


I asked my friend Mike Killian to answer your question for you. I wanted to make sure you got an answer as quickly as possible as I’m a bit backed up at the moment. I’ll be watching the comments on this question and be around to help if you need me.

Dear Jennifer

The best resource for such a question is actually an attorney but I will make every attempt to answer your question realizing there is no legal merit to my answer. But I must tell you; you sure made me do some digging to locate any answers. I hope this helps.

“Cause of Action” is usually involved with a breach of contract in the sale of goods or services. “Counterclaim to an action by the seller” seems to refer to a breach of contract on the part of the vender. My problem is I am having difficulty understanding if you bounced a check in a purchase of an item or on a payment say to a credit card. I assume it is the former. But it probably matters little in the end result.

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Per LawDog.com: “If a payee made a written demand upon the maker of a dishonored check and the maker failed to pay the check plus all accrued interest from the date of the demand and the cost of handling and collecting the check within thirty (30) days, the holder may commence legal action to recover the amount of the check and statutory damages.”

That does not answer your question completely. However, if legal action is rendered there seems to be no statute of limitation on collecting or convicting as far as I can find. So the key to your answer seems to be whether or not written demand was made. An interesting sidebar is that if the check was written prior to October 1997, there are other applicable Oregon statues, which tells me that even older checks could be collectable.

I do hope this helps.



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Mike Killian is founder of Learning Credit and Debt Management. He has been writing and teaching about credit and debt management issues for over 12 years. His articles have been referenced by various members of the media, including MSNBC and The Motley Fool. Mike has also offered debt elimination seminars to businesses and community colleges for many years.He has an MS in counseling and is a nationally certified as a Personal Finance Counselor. Mike can be found at LearnCreditManagement.com/.

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