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How long can a collection agency attempt to collect a debt?

Updated • 1 year ago

Before paying your debt to a debt collector (consumer complaints), you should know your rights, time lapse, debt limits, collector law and other important details. General question is: how long can a collection agency attempt to collect your debt? In most US states, the statute of limitations runs 4 to 6 years from the date you last made a payment of your debt (2-4 years in California). Quick answer: There is no law in California preventing debt collectors from continuing collection attempts.  But, there are laws that dictate how long debt collectors can take certain actions in regard to debts. Confusing? Maybe. Reality? Unfortunately yes! Additionally, in some cases, creditors or debt collectors can sue you for past due debts.

Debt collectors may not be able to sue you to collect on old (time-barred) debts, but they may still try to collect on those debts - source oag.ca.gov.

California’s statute of limitations for credit cards

  • 4-year statute of limitations for written contracts
  • 2-year statute of limitations for oral contracts
  • After that time, the creditor (debt collector from California) cannot force you to pay against your will!

Quote: debt is the slavery of the free - Publilius Syrus

The statute of limitations in all 50 states

State Limitation (years) State Limitation (years)
Alabama 6 Montana 8
Alaska 6 Nebraska 5
Arizona 6 Nevada 6
Arkansas 6 New Hampshire 3
California 4 New Jersey 6
Colorado 6 New Mexico 6
Connecticut 6 New York 6
Delaware 3 North Carolina 3
Florida 5 North Dakota 6
Georgia 6 Ohio 15
Hawaii 6 Oklahoma 5
Idaho 5 Oregon 6
Illinois 10 Pennsylvania 4
Indiana 10 Rhode Island 15
Iowa 10 South Carolina 3
Kansas 6 South Dakota 6
Kentucky 15 Tennessee 6
Louisiana 10 Texas 4
Maine 6 Utah 6
Maryland 3 Vermont 6
Massachusetts 6 Virginia 5
Michigan 6 Washington 6
Minnesota 6 West Virginia 10
Mississippi 3 Wisconsin 6
Missouri 10 Wyoming 10
unknown 90%

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