Debt collection has a statute of limitations, or a period of time after which you cannot act on it. Debt that is uncollectable because a creditor has not gone to court to collect it is called time-barred debt. But when does a debt become too old for a creditor to collect?
State law determines when a debt becomes time barred. In Washington State, the statute of limitations varies based on how the debt was agreed upon.
Written contracts, open accounts like credit cards, and promissory notes all get 6 years. Oral contracts get 3 years. Even if a debt is time-barred, there’s nothing in the law stopping a debt collector from contacting you about it.
However, if you pay a portion of your time-barred debt, it can cancel out the statute of limitations, effectively “reviving” the debt and allowing the creditor to now take you to court and sue for a judgment on the remaining amount.
Also, if a creditor has gotten a judgment against you, in Washington State they have 10 years to collect and that can be renewed for another 10 years if they apply to the Court for an extension. So, if a creditor does things the right way, they have up to 20 years to try to collect on the judgment.
Over the past 30 years, the Law Offices of Christopher A. Benson has helped over 2,300 of Washington clients take control of their financial situation. We can stop your garnishment and change your monthly payments for all your combined unsecured debt, and if you have had more than $600 garnished within the last 90 days, we can get all of the money back in most cases. But you have to act quickly–call (253) 815-6940 for your free consultation, or email us today. Evening and weekend appointments available.
About the Author
Chris served on the Board of Directors for Habitat for Humanity
Seattle/S. King County for 10 years and served as Vice President
of the organization during part of that time. Read More