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Statutes of Limitations For Bad Debt Collections

What is the statute of limitations for your bad debt?


Statutes of Limitation

Debt Collection and the Statute of Limitations Laws for Bad Debt

A debt collector is typically a company that has been hired to collects a debt for a particular company which issued you credit. The debt collection company gets paid when they get payment from you so it's important for them to contact you and attempt to get any money they can. Keep in mind debt collectors should abide by the Fair Debt Practices Act (FDCPA)

Attorneys who collect debts abide by the strict letter of the law and will normally place a garnishment on your wages or attempt to freeze your bank accounts (if they can find where you bank). Debt collectors can contact you in person, by mail, telephone, telegram, or fax. More often they will attempt to contact you by phone if you do not respond to a letter that may have been sent. When your account is placed on collection, debt collectors will do just about anything (hopefully within the law) to get money out of you.

Unless you agree or ask a debt collector to do so, a debt collector may not contact you at inconvenient times or places, such as before 8am or after 9pm. Debt collection companies may not contact you at work if the collector has been informed not to contact you there as it disrupts the business of the employer.

Depending on state laws and where you live, a debt collector may not contact you if, within 30 days after you receive the written notice, you send the collection agency a letter stating you don't owe the debt. But, a debt collector can renew their collection activities once they send you proof of the debt (example: a signed contract, credit card bill).

Debt Collector Rules

IMPORTANT: In order for a debt collector to sue you or attempt to claim money on a past debt the contractual agreement where you first attained the loan must fall within a certain time-line allowed by law. A statute of limitations is that time which is allotted by law of the state where the debt originated within which you can be held liable for the debt. Those debt collectors are also governed by the Fair Debt Practices Act (FDCPA) and might be violating your rights.

A qualified legal professional can help you navigate the often muddled path of debt recovery and bankruptcy and also put a stop to nagging debt collection phone calls.

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Below is a listing of the states and their statute of limitations as they pertain to debt within that state. While this list is updated regularly, often-times laws in every state get modified, repealed, amended or changed by legislation. Please locate a lawyer who is qualified to represent you in your debtor case no matter if it is bankruptcy, payment negotiations or even getting the debt removed altogether!


BAD DEBT STATUTE OF LIMITATIONS

STATE STATUTE RULES
Alabama
  • Written Contract: 6 Years
  • Sealed Instrument: 10 Years
  • Open Accounts: 3 Years
  • Domestic Judgment: 20 Years
  • Foreign Judgment: 20 Years
  • Wage Garnishment: 75% of wages are exempt from garnishment
Disclaimer: Alabama debt collection laws can change over time, and you need to consult with an attorney before you use this information.
Alaska
  • Written Contract: 3 Years
  • 10 Years on Sealed Instrument
  • Sale of Goods: 4 Years
  • Open Accounts: 5 Years
  • Domestic Judgment: 10 Years
  • Foreign Judgment: 10 Years
  • Wage Garnishment: 75% of employee's weekly net income or $402.50 whichever is more
Disclaimer: Alaska debt collection laws can change over time, and you need to consult with an attorney before you use this information.
Arizona
  • Written Contract: 6 Years
  • Open Accounts: 3 Years
  • Domestic Judgment: 5 Years (additional 5 upon request)
  • Foreign Judgment: 4 Years
  • Wage Garnishment: See Federal Law
Disclaimer: Arizona debt collection laws can change over time, and you need to consult with an attorney before you use this information.
Arkansas
  • Written Contract: 5 Years (partial payment stops the statute from running)
  • Oral Agreement: 3 Years
  • Sale of Goods: 4 Years
  • Open Accounts: 3 Years
  • Domestic Judgment: 10 Years - Renewable
  • Foreign Judgment: 10 Years
  • Wage Garnishment: $500 head of family; $200 single. Includes personal property except clothing
Disclaimer: Arkansas debt collection laws can change over time, and you need to consult with an attorney before you use this information.
California
  • Written Contract: 4 Years
  • Oral Agreement: 2 Years
  • Open Accounts: 4 Years
  • Domestic Judgment: 10 Years - Renewable
  • Foreign Judgment: 10 Years
  • Wage Garnishment: Exemptions for necessities of life. See federal law
Disclaimer: California debt collection laws can change over time, and you need to consult with an attorney before you use this information.
Colorado
  • Written Contract: 6 Years
  • Written Contract Goods Services: 3
  • Oral Agreement: 2 Years
  • Open Accounts: 3 Years
  • Domestic Judgment: 6 Years - Renewable
  • Foreign Judgment: 6 Years
  • Wage Garnishment: See federal law
Disclaimer: Colorado debt collection laws can change over time, and you need to consult with an attorney before you use this information.
Connecticut
  • Written Contract: 6 Years
  • Oral Agreement: 3 Years
  • Open Accounts: 6 Years
  • Domestic Judgment: 20|25 Years
  • Small Claims Judgment: 10/15
  • Foreign Judgment: 20 Years
  • Wage Garnishment: 25% may be garnished from disposable earnings each week; or, 40 times the federal minimum hourly wage, which ever is less
Disclaimer: Connecticut debt collection laws can change over time, and you need to consult with an attorney before you use this information.
Delaware
  • Written Contract: 3 Years
  • Oral Agreement: 2 Years
  • Open Accounts: 4 Years
  • Sale of Goods: 4 Years
  • Domestic Judgment: None
  • Foreign Judgment: None
  • Wage Garnishment: 85% of disposable earnings or disposable earnings minus $150
Disclaimer: Delaware debt collection laws can change over time, and you need to consult with an attorney before you use this information.
Florida
  • Written Contract: 5 Years
  • Open Accounts: 4 Years
  • Domestic Judgment: 7 Years - Renewable
  • Foreign Judgment: 5 Years
  • Wage Garnishment: See federal law
Disclaimer: Florida debt collection laws can change over time, and you need to consult with an attorney before you use this information.
Georgia
  • Written Contract: 6 Years
  • Oral Agreement: 4 Years
  • Open Accounts: 4 Years
  • Domestic Judgment: 7 Years
  • Foreign Judgment: 5 Years
  • Wage Garnishment: See federal law. But, city, county & state employees may be garnished
Disclaimer: Georgia debt collection laws can change over time, and you need to consult with an attorney before you use this information.
Hawaii
  • Written Contract: 6 Years
  • Open Accounts: 6 Years
  • Sale of Goods: 6 Years
  • Domestic Judgment: 10 Years
  • Foreign Judgment: 6 Years
  • Wage Garnishment: 95% of 1st $100, 90% of 2nd $100, 80% net wages in excess of $200 per month or federal limits, whichever is greater
Disclaimer: Hawaii debt collection laws can change over time, and you need to consult with an attorney before you use this information.
Idaho
  • Written Contract: 5 Years
  • Oral Agreement: 4 Years
  • Open Accounts: 4 Years
  • Domestic Judgment: 5 Years - Renewable
  • Foreign Judgment: 6 Years - Renewable
  • Wage Garnishment: See federal law
Disclaimer: Idaho debt collection laws can change over time, and you need to consult with an attorney before you use this information.
Illinois
  • Written Contract: 10 Years
  • Oral Agreement: 5 Years
  • Open Accounts: 5 Years
  • Sale of Goods: 4 Years
  • Domestic Judgment: 20 Years
  • Foreign Judgment: Same as originating jurisdiction
  • Wage Garnishment: 15% of gross wages or disposable earnings for each work week up to 45 times the federal minimum hourly wage, whichever is greater
Disclaimer: Illinois debt collection laws can change over time, and you need to consult with an attorney before you use this information.
Indiana
  • Written Contract: 10 Years
  • Oral Agreement: 6 Years
  • Open Accounts: 6 Years
  • Sale of Goods: 4 Years
  • Domestic Judgment: 20 Years
  • Foreign Judgment: 10 Years
  • Wage Garnishment: 75% of disposable earnings for each work week or the amount of 30 times the federal minimum hourly wage, whichever is greater
Disclaimer: Indiana debt collection laws can change over time, and you need to consult with an attorney before you use this information.
Iowa
  • Written Contract: 10 Years
  • Oral Agreement: 5 Years
  • Open Accounts: 5 Years
  • Domestic Judgment: 10 Years - Renewable on the 9th year
  • Foreign Judgment: 10 Years - Renewable on the 9th year
  • Wage Garnishment: See federal law
Disclaimer: Iowa debt collection laws can change over time, and you need to consult with an attorney before you use this information.
Kansas
  • Written Contract: 5 Years
  • Oral Agreement: 2 Years
  • Open Accounts: 3 Years
  • Domestic Judgment: 5 Years - Renewable
  • Foreign Judgment: 5 Years - Renwable
  • Wage Garnishment: See federal law
Disclaimer: Kansas debt collection laws can change over time, and you need to consult with an attorney before you use this information.
Kentucky
  • Written Contract: 15 Years
  • Open Accounts: 5 Years
  • Oral Agreement: 5 Years
  • Domestic Judgment: 15 Years
  • Foreign Judgment: 15 Years
  • Wage Garnishment: 75% of disposable income or 30 times the federal minimum hourly wage, whichever is greater
Disclaimer: Kentucky debt collection laws can change over time, and you need to consult with an attorney before you use this information.
Louisiana
  • Written Contract: 10 Years
  • Open Accounts: 3 Years
  • Promissory Notes: 5 Years
  • Domestic Judgment: 10 Years
  • Foreign Judgment: 10 Years
  • Wage Garnishment: 75% disposable earnings per work week, but not less than 30 times the federal minimum hourly wage
Disclaimer: Louisiana debt collection laws can change over time, and you need to consult with an attorney before you use this information.
Maine
  • Written Contract: 6 Years
  • Written Contract With Attestment - 20 Years
  • Open Accounts: 6 Years
  • Domestic Judgment: 20 Years
  • Foreign Judgment: 20 Years
  • Wage Garnishment: Garnishment of 25% of disposable income or 40 times the federal minimum wage per week, whichever is less and only after judgment
Disclaimer: Maine debt collection laws can change over time, and you need to consult with an attorney before you use this information.
Maryland
  • Written Contract: 3 Years
  • Open Accounts: 3 Years
  • Sale of Goods: 4 Years
  • Domestic Judgment: 12 Years
  • Foreign Judgment: 12 Years
  • Wage Garnishment: Greater of 75% or amount equal to $145 x number of weeks in which wages due were earned; except in Caroline, Worchester, Kent & Queen Anne's Counties. Exemption is up to $3,000 in cash and/or property for non-wage property exemption. See also federal law
Disclaimer: Maryland debt collection laws can change over time, and you need to consult with an attorney before you use this information.
Massachusetts
  • Written Contract: 20 Years
  • Open Accounts: 6 Years
  • Sale of Goods: 4 Years
  • Domestic Judgment: 20 Years
  • Foreign Judgment: 20 Years
  • Wage Garnishment: $125 per week maximum
Disclaimer: Massachusetts debt collection laws can change over time, and you need to consult with an attorney before you use this information.
Michigan
  • Written Contract: 6 Years
  • Open Accounts: 6 Years
  • Sale of Goods: 4 Years
  • Domestic Judgment: 10 Years - Renewable
  • Foreign Judgment: 10 Years
  • Wage Garnishment: See federal law
Disclaimer: Michigan debt collection laws can change over time, and you need to consult with an attorney before you use this information.
Minnesota
  • Written Contract: 6 Years
  • Open Accounts: 6 Years
  • Sale of Goods: 4 Years
  • Transportation Services: 3 Years
  • Domestic Judgment: 10 Years
  • Foreign Judgment: 10 Years
  • Wage Garnishment: Greater of 75% or amount equal to 40 times the federal minimum hourly wage
Disclaimer: Minnesota debt collection laws can change over time, and you need to consult with an attorney before you use this information.
Mississippi
  • Written Contract: 3 Years
  • Open Accounts: 3 Years
  • Sale of Goods: 6 Years
  • Domestic Judgment: 7 Years
  • Foreign Judgment: 7 Years
  • Wage Garnishment: See federal law
Disclaimer: Mississippi debt collection laws can change over time, and you need to consult with an attorney before you use this information.
Missouri
  • Written Contract: 10 Years
  • Oral Agreement: 5 Years
  • Open Accounts: 5 Years
  • Sale of Goods: 4 Years
  • Domestic Judgment: 10 Years - Renewable every 3 years
  • Foreign Judgment: 10 Years - Renewable every 3 years
  • Wage Garnishment: Head of household 10% of weeks net pay; Single person without dependents 25% of weeks net pay. See federal law
Disclaimer: Missouri debt collection laws can change over time, and you need to consult with an attorney before you use this information.
Montana
  • Written Contract: 8 Years
  • Oral Agreement: 5 Years
  • Open Accounts: 5 Years
  • Domestic Judgment: 6 Years - Renewable
  • Foreign Judgment: 6 Years - Renewable
  • Wage Garnishment: See federal law
Disclaimer: Montana debt collection laws can change over time, and you need to consult with an attorney before you use this information.
Nebraska
  • Written Contract: 5 Years
  • Oral Agreement: 4 Years
  • Open Accounts: 4 Years
  • Domestic Judgment: 5 Years - Renewable every 5 years
  • Foreign Judgment: 5 Years
  • Wage Garnishment: Greater of 75% disposable earnings. If head of household equal to 85%, or 30 times the federal minimum hourly wage
Disclaimer: Nebraska debt collection laws can change over time, and you need to consult with an attorney before you use this information.
Nevada
  • Written Contract: 6 Years
  • Signed Lease: 4 Years
  • Oral Agreement: 4 Years
  • Open Accounts: 4 Years
  • Domestic Judgment: 6 Years
  • Foreign Judgment: 6 Years
  • Wage Garnishment: Can only garnish 25% of disposable earnings for each week or 30 times the federal minimum hourly wage, whichever is less
Disclaimer: Nevada debt collection laws can change over time, and you need to consult with an attorney before you use this information.
New Hampshire
  • Written Contract: 3 Years
  • Sealed Instrument: 20 Years
  • Open Accounts: 3 Years
  • Sale of Goods: 4 Years
  • Domestic Judgment: 20 Years
  • Foreign Judgment: 20 Years
  • Wage Garnishment: 50 time the federal minimum hourly wage. Although, all future wages are exempt so that the court cannot issue an ongoing order
Disclaimer: New Hampshire debt collection laws can change over time, and you need to consult with an attorney before you use this information.
New Jersey
  • Written Contract: 6 Years
  • Open Accounts: 6 Years
  • Sale of Goods: 4 Years
  • Domestic Judgment: 20 Years
  • Foreign Judgment: 20 Years
  • Wage Garnishment: $142.50 week minimum or 10% of gross earnings $142.50 and over
Disclaimer: New Jersey debt collection laws can change over time, and you need to consult with an attorney before you use this information.
New Mexico
  • Written Contract: 6 Years
  • Oral Agreement: 4 Years
  • Open Accounts: 4 Years
  • Domestic Judgment: 14 Years
  • Foreign Judgment: 14 Years
  • Wage Garnishment: Greater of 75% or amount each week equal to 40 times the federal minimum hourly wage
Disclaimer: New Mexico debt collection laws can change over time, and you need to consult with an attorney before you use this information.
New York
  • Written Contract: 6 Years
  • Open Accounts: 6 Years
  • Domestic Judgment: 20 Years - 10 year renewable lien
  • Foreign Judgment: 20 Years - 10 year renewable lien
  • Wage Garnishment: 90% of earnings, except the first $127.50 per week is exempt
Disclaimer: New York debt collection laws can change over time, and you need to consult with an attorney before you use this information.
North Carolina
  • Written Contract: 3 Years
  • Sealed Instrument: 10 Years
  • Oral Agreement: 3 Years
  • Open Accounts: 3 Years
  • Sale of Goods: 4 Years
  • Domestic Judgment: 10 Years
  • Foreign Judgment: 10 Years
  • Wage Garnishment: Garnishment only by political subdivisions for taxes, ambulance fees, etc. 100% of last 60 days earnings for family support
Disclaimer: North Carolina debt collection laws can change over time, and you need to consult with an attorney before you use this information.
North Dakota
  • Written Contract: 6 Years
  • Open Accounts: 6 Years
  • Sale of Goods: 4 Years
  • Domestic Judgment: 10 Years - Renewable
  • Foreign Judgment: 10 Years - Renewable
  • Wage Garnishment: Greater of 75% or amount each week equal to 40 times the federal minimum hourly wage. Plus $20.00 each household dependent
Disclaimer: North Dakota debt collection laws can change over time, and you need to consult with an attorney before you use this information.
Ohio
  • Written Contract: 15 Years
  • Oral Agreement: 6 Years
  • Open Accounts: 4 Years
  • Domestic Judgment: 21 Years - Renewable every 5 years
  • Foreign Judgment: 21 Years - Renewable every 5 years
  • Wage Garnishment: Garnishment limited to once a month per employee. See federal law
Disclaimer: Ohio debt collection laws can change over time, and you need to consult with an attorney before you use this information.
Oklahoma
  • Written Contract: 5 Years
  • Oral Agreement: 3 Years
  • Open Accounts: 3 Years
  • Domestic Judgment: 5 Years - Renewable
  • Foreign Judgment: 3 Years
  • Wage Garnishment: State law states that 75% of earnings are exempt, more if hardship is established. All federal exemptions apply
Disclaimer: Oklahoma debt collection laws can change over time, and you need to consult with an attorney before you use this information.
Oregon
  • Written Contract: 6 Years
  • Open Accounts: 6 Years
  • Sale of Goods: 6 Years
  • Domestic Judgment: 10 Years - Renewable at 10 years
  • Foreign Judgment: 10 Years
  • Wage Garnishment: 75% of disposable earnings or 40 times the federal minimum hourly wage
Disclaimer: Oregon debt collection laws can change over time, and you need to consult with an attorney before you use this information.
Pennsylvania
  • Written Contract: 4 Years
  • Oral Agreement: 4 Years
  • Open Accounts: 4 Years
  • Domestic Judgment: 5 Years
  • Foreign Judgment: 4 Years
  • Real Estate Lien: 5 Years
  • Personal Property Lien: 20 Years
  • Wage Garnishment: 100% of wages, certain pensions and retirement accounts
Disclaimer: Pennsylvania debt collection laws can change over time, and you need to consult with an attorney before you use this information.
Rhode Island
  • Written Contract: 10 Years
  • Oral Agreement: 10 Years
  • Open Accounts: 10 Years
  • Domestic Judgment: 20 Years
  • Foreign Judgment: 20 Years
  • Wage Garnishment: See federal law
Disclaimer: Rhode Island debt collection laws can change over time, and you need to consult with an attorney before you use this information.
South Carolina
  • Written Contract: 3 Years
  • Oral Agreement: 3 Years
  • Open Accounts: 3 Years
  • Domestic Judgment: 10 Years
  • Foreign Judgment: 10 Years
  • Wage Garnishment: 100% Garnishment
Disclaimer: South Carolina debt collection laws can change over time, and you need to consult with an attorney before you use this information.
South Dakota
  • Written Contract: 6 Years
  • Open Accounts: 6 Years
  • Sale of Goods: 4 Years
  • Domestic Judgment: 20 Years
  • Foreign Judgment: 10 Years
  • Wage Garnishment: 20% of the debtors disposable earnings for a 60 day period
Disclaimer: South Dakota debt collection laws can change over time, and you need to consult with an attorney before you use this information.
Tennessee
  • Written Contract: 6 Years
  • Open Accounts: 6 Years
  • Domestic Judgment: 10 Years
  • Foreign Judgment: 10 Years
  • Wage Garnishment: See federal law
Disclaimer: Tennessee debt collection laws can change over time, and you need to consult with an attorney before you use this information.
Texas
  • Written Contract: 4 Years
  • Open Accounts: 4 Years
  • Domestic Judgment: 10 Years - Renewable
  • Foreign Judgment: 10 Years - Renewable
  • Wage Garnishment: 100% of Wages
Disclaimer: Texas debt collection laws can change over time, and you need to consult with an attorney before you use this information.
Utah
  • Written Contract: 6 Years
  • Oral Agreement: 4 Years
  • Open Accounts: 4 Years
  • Domestic Judgment: 8 Years
  • Foreign Judgment: 8 Years
  • Wage Garnishment: $142.50 of disposable earnings for weekly wages
Disclaimer: Utah debt collection laws can change over time, and you need to consult with an attorney before you use this information.
Vermont
  • Written Contract: 6 Years
  • Open Accounts: 6 Years
  • Domestic Judgment: 8 Years
  • Foreign Judgment: 8 Years
  • Wage Garnishment: 75% of earning above minimum wage or what is necessary to live
Disclaimer: Vermont debt collection laws can change over time, and you need to consult with an attorney before you use this information.
Virginia
  • Written Contract: 5 Years
  • Open Accounts: 3 Years
  • Sale of Goods: 4 Years
  • Domestic Judgment: 20 Years
  • Foreign Judgment: 10 Years
  • Wage Garnishment: See federal law
Disclaimer: Virginia debt collection laws can change over time, and you need to consult with an attorney before you use this information.
Washington
  • Written Contract: 6 Years
  • Oral Agreement: 3 Years
  • Open Accounts: 5 Years
  • Domestic Judgment: 10 Years
  • Foreign Judgment: 10 Years
  • Wage Garnishment: Greater of 75% or $64 week or 40 times the state minimum hourly wage
Disclaimer: Washington debt collection laws can change over time, and you need to consult with an attorney before you use this information.
West Virginia
  • Written Contract: 10 Years
  • Oral Agreement: 5 Years
  • Open Accounts: 5 Years
  • Domestic Judgment: 10 Years
  • Foreign Judgment: 10 Years
  • Wage Garnishment: Garnishment can withhold 20% of disposable income or 30 times the minimum hourly rate, whichever is less. Other exemptions apply - See West VA code 38-5A-3 Employees
Disclaimer: West Virginia debt collection laws can change over time, and you need to consult with an attorney before you use this information.
Wisconsin
  • Written Contract: 6 Years
  • Open Accounts: 6 Years
  • Domestic Judgment: 20 Years
  • Foreign Judgment: 20 Years
  • Wage Garnishment: 80% of net pay
Disclaimer: Wisconsin debt collection laws can change over time, and you need to consult with an attorney before you use this information.
Wyoming
  • Written Contract: 10 Years
  • Oral Agreement: 8 Years
  • Open Accounts: 8 Years
  • Domestic Judgment: 5 Years
  • Foreign Judgment: 5 Years
  • Wage Garnishment: See federal law for consumer credit sale, lease or loan. 65% for child support
Disclaimer: Wyoming debt collection laws can change over time, and you need to consult with an attorney before you use this information.
Disclaimer: Statute of Limitation laws in every state get modified, repealed, amended, and/or changed by the legislature of that states jurisdiction. The authors and webmaster of StatuteofLimitation.info have made every effort to post the most current laws. Please use this site as a general reference and for comparison purposes. Do not substitute any information from this site for advice you would get from a qualified legal professional

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