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What is a Statute of Limitations?

The statute of limitations for a debt is similar to the expiration date. If you have owed on an item for some time, and find out that the debt is being passed from one collection agency to another, at some point the collection agencies are not allowed to request repayment. So, if you are going through your credit report trying to figure out what you still owe, you should inquire about the statute of limitations—you may not even owe this debt anymore. However, there are situations that will bring about disputes in this matter, so you may have to compose a letter to send to your creditors in order to resolve your debt once and for all.

Here’s what you should know

First, you’ll need to be aware of the various time limits that are permitted for debt collection. If you have an item on your credit report that you have not paid, the item will show up on your credit report up to 7 years from the date of delinquency. However, if you have filed for bankruptcy or have a tax lien on your credit, this can be reported for 10 or 15 years on your credit report. The statute of limitations time period has to do with the time frame that a creditor can take you to court in order to force you to pay the debt. This time limit varies depending on the state you live in, but just because you are not under the statute of limitations anymore doesn’t mean that the item is no longer on your credit report.

Some things to include in your letter

If you’re not sure whether or not you owe a debt, you should contact the company and request the schedule of the statute of limitations, and you should also get in touch with all three credit bureaus (Experian, Equifax, and TransUnion) in order to get a copy of your credit report. This will show you how long the item can stay on your report, and finding out the ‘expiration date’ from the company will help you to figure out whether or not you should try to pay the debt. In some cases, your account will show that it is paid even if the item stays on your report. Don’t forget to include your account number, name and address in the letter, and to request that you receive a response within 30 days.

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