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Which States Statute of Limitations Applies to My Old Debt? – Brooke

“Dear Steve,

I purchased a van in Florida back in July of 2005. I did a voluntary repossession in February of 2007 in Virginia, after the bank would not wait two days for my first paycheck to clear my checking account (was two months behind).

I never heard anything further from the bank after that (I realize now I should have gotten a notice after about auction etc.).

On my credit report all it says is charged off/written off in March 2007. I just received a notice from a collection agency wanting to settle for what they say is half the amount. According to my CR the entry will continue on there until September this year. There is nothing else on my Credit Report concerning this debt, just the charge off.

My question is, since the vehicle was purchased in FL (loan with Citizens Bank) but returned in VA, does the Florida or Virginia SOL apply? And is it considered a written contract, or something else since it was turned over to the bank? Thank you in advance!


Magnifying Glass - Q&A

Dear Brooke,

Let me get one common misconception out of the way first. The Statute of Limitations only limits if the lender can sue, not if they can try to collect from you.

I’d love to tell you there is a clear case for which state statute of limitations will apply but it’s not like that. And to further complicate the matter if the agreement was signed in one state and that is the state that will count and you leave the state, in some occurrences your time out of the state does not count towards the SOL.

This gets tricky for consumers because the statute of limitations varies from state to state and for different kinds of debts. It is also tricky because, under certain circumstances, the clock can be reset, and the time period can be started fresh.

Ultimately, if you want a legal answer to the statute of limitations question you will need to consult with a licensed attorney in your state.

But it does not sound like the SOL is even in play here since all that has happened is a request has been made to settle an old debt. We don’t even know if the amount claimed is accurate or even collectible.

Even after the entry falls off your consumer credit report and might be outside the statute of limitations, they can attempt to collect until you die.

I’m inclined to suggest you first validate the debt with the collection company and see if they can even produce sufficient evidence to show you are responsible for the debt. See How to Dispute and Ask a Debt Collector to Validate a Debt.

Please post your responses and follow-up messages to me on this in the comments section below.

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About Steve Rhode

Steve Rhode
Steve Rhode is the Get Out of Debt Guy and has been helping good people with bad debt problems since 1994. You can learn more about Steve, here.
  • bweb

    The statute to report to the credit reporting agencies is 7years from delinquency any where in the US, the statute to sue on written contracts in FL & VA is 5years from last paid (it maybe from the later of paid date or repo/auction date)

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