Credit Repair Credit Repair

Dispute Strategies

Time-Barred Debts

As you learned in the Debt Relief section, each state has a statute of limitations on debt collection. After a certain amount of time an unpaid, outstanding debt is no longer collectable and is considered a time-barred debt. If you have a time-barred debt still reporting on your credit report:

  1. Verify the debt is time-barred by reviewing the statute of limitations chart below and verifying the date of your last payment. In some states, the clock starts ticking on the date of your first missed payment while in others, it starts on the date of charge-off.
  2. Consider contacting the creditor and offering a settlement to remove the record from your report, or to update the entry as "paid as agreed." But be careful since making even a partial payment can reset the statute of limitations on your debt! In no way—verbally or in writing—should you admit the debt is yours. In fact, take the opposite position. State that although you dispute the validity of the debt, and have no previous agreement or contract with the debt collector, you may be willing to enter into an agreement that in exchange for $X they agree to remove the record from your report or have it updated to "paid as agreed". But never, ever admit the debt is in fact yours. (For more information see the Settlement Tutorial in the Roadmap section.)
  3. Also, check your credit reports carefully. If your collection account has passed the statute of limitations you have the right to sue a collection agency for pulling your credit report for review. The threat of this suit could also be used as a bargaining chip to have the record removed or updated.

Debt Collection Statute of Limitations by State

Alabama3 years
Alaska3 years
Arizona3 years
Arkansas5 years (2 years for medical debt)
California4 years
Colorado6 years
Connecticut6 years
Delaware3 years
District of Columbia3 years
Florida5 years
Georgia4 years
Hawaii6 years
Idaho5 years
Illinois10 years
Indiana6 years
Iowa5 years
Kansas5 years
Kentucky5 years
Louisiana3 years
Maine6 years
Maryland3 years
Massachusetts6 years
Michigan6 years
Minnesota6 years
Mississippi3 years
Missouri5 years
Montana8 years
Nebraska4 years
Nevada4 years
New Hampshire3 years
New Jersey6 years
New Mexico4 years
New York6 years
North Carolina3 years
North Dakota6 years
Ohio6 years
Oklahoma3 years
Oregon6 years
Pennsylvania4 years
Rhode Island10 years
South Carolina3 years
South Dakota6 years
Tennessee6 years
Texas4 years
Utah4 years
Virginia3 years
Vermont3 years
Washington6 years
West Virginia5 years
Wisconsin6 years
Wyoming8 years


> Disputing Medical Records