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Debt collectors can be really invested in getting you to make your payment, and rightfully so. However, they may still be at it for years on end. Getting a random call from your debt collector asking for your credit card debt can leave you puzzled. You may not even recall the details yourself. So, if you’re wondering how long this can go on till then unfortunately there is no straightforward answer.

While some states have a statute of limitations on debt, which after they expire can leave you free from being sued for non-repayment, many debt collectors can still try and collect an old debt.

So, what is debt collection and how does it work? How long can it go on and what option is there for you on the table? Well, this is exactly what this article seeks to answer. Read ahead to learn more.

Debt Collection

Debt collection can seem like a complicated process, but it isn’t. In simple terms, debt collection is the process of money being collected by the creditor. It can begin within 30 days after the payment date has passed and no repayment has been made by the debtor. If the debtor is unresponsive and unable to pay back after 180 days, the creditor can sell the debt to an agency. This collection agency then gets down to collecting the debt. The benefit the creditor receives from doing this is a mitigation of the risks of loss.

From here on, the consumer or debtor i.e. you, are sure to start hearing from the debt collector. The payment stays the same though, the only thing that changes in this process is the addition of a debt collector who is now responsible for collecting the debt.

Thus, to put it short, debt collectors are companies or organizations that collect unpaid debts for people who rather spend their time on productive activities than get behind faulty debtors. This is a cost-effective approach that most corporate companies use for delinquent accounts.

The Timeline – How Long Can This Go On?

This answer depends on the state laws and regulations. Debt collectors can even pursue to collect the debt from you after the statute of limitations has passed. This has increasingly become common today, however, if you find yourself being sued over a debt that rests outside the statute of limitations, then you might want to bring this up in court. This piece of evidence stating that the debt is too old to collect is what you want to be sure to present to the judge. Failure to do so may just push the judge to rule against you.

In addition, while this process is going forward, you want to stay clear of making any agreement with your creditor. This can reset your statute of limitations and give the creditor the legal right to push for suing you in court.

What To Do After You Have Been Pursued by a Debt Collector After Your Statute of Limitations has Expired?

To start you want to avoid accepting that the debt is yours if you’re inquired by a debt collector about an old debt. Here is why this is so.

  • There may have been a mistake as many old debts get passed from one collection agency to another. The debt may thus belong to someone else that has the same surname as yours.
  • Claiming the debt can reset your statute of limitations.
  • The call you may have received may be a scam. You do not want to give any details about your personal finances over the phone in this case. For this, it’s better to wait for a written document verifying your old debt.

You can send a cease communication letter to the debt collector as well. After this, you’re not going to receive any calls except for one confirming the arrival of the letter at their office, and the second being a specification for the filing of a lawsuit.

Debt collectors can sue for amounts exceeding $5,000, but it can be done for an amount that is less as well. In addition, the judgment on your credit card report can be damaging going forward. It can prevent you from taking a loan in the future. For this, you can get in touch with a law attorney and have the judgment removed from your records.

Payment After Your Statute Of Limitations Has Expired

When it comes down to making the payment after the statute of limitations has expired, the answer is a bit complicated. While some argue there is no need for this, others may feel otherwise. The moral obligation to pay is what many feel they ought to complete.

In addition, the impact on the credit score also plays an important role. Failure to pay a debt can show up on your credit card report, but most unpaid debts disappear from the report after 7 years. If it doesn’t, you can ask your credit bureau to have it removed.

Alternate Options – Debt Consolidation

So, what alternate options do you have? A debt consolidation loan is something you can look into if you have found yourself in a fix. You can consolidate the debt on your credit card into one with a lower rate of interest. For this option to be effective, however, all of the proceeds from the loan need to be used for paying off the outstanding debt.

You can even do a balance transfer and consolidate your old debt. Credit card relief programs can also work best here. Similarly, debt management plans are often opted for by consumers as well who are struggling to pay off a debt.

Funding Hawk – The Bottom Line

Debt Collectors are at the end of the day just doing what they are hired for. Their constant calls can be frustrating and a hindrance to your daily routine. They can be stressful if your statute of limitations has expired yet as well. Thus, it is important to keep tabs on your debt timeline and be timely with payments. In addition, stay up to date and vigilant of your rights when it comes to dealing with debt collecting agencies, you never know when it may come in need.


After working as a journalist for several local newspapers, Peter realized the potential of the internet for news reporting. He joined the team as a contributor which provided him with a platform to dedicate his experience and knowledge for a wider range of audiences.  He excels in curating science and technology news for the website.

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