How long can they go after me?

iVillage Member
Registered: 06-10-2003
How long can they go after me?
Sat, 10-19-2013 - 7:49pm

I noticed on my credit report a debt from over ten tears ago, they creditor keeps trying to collect on it, every few years, so it looks like a new debt. How do I stop this and get it off my report?

iVillage Member
Registered: 10-06-2006
Sun, 10-20-2013 - 10:28am

Have you considered just, you know, paying what you owe?  That would probably stop them.  You apparently contracted the debt.  The fact that it was 10 years ago is irrelevant.  You agreed to pay.  If you pay it, the problem will go away. 

iVillage Member
Registered: 08-14-2002
Sun, 10-27-2013 - 11:55pm

As I understand it, they can continue to go after you for the debt for as long as it remains unpaid, or until the statute of limitations in your state runs out. However, it should not remain on your credit report for longer than 3 years as long as there is no activity to "re-age" the debt. However, if there's a judgement or lien against you for that debt, then it stays on your report for ten years past the date you paid it off. If you don't pay it, then it's there forever.

Realize that just because it falls off your report, does NOT mean you no longer owe the debt; it just means the credit reporting bureaus can no longer report it. The creditor can still take you to court (up until the S.O.L. runs out), get a judgement against you or a lien on your assets, and the court can garnish your wages or tax returns or seize your property.

"Re-aging" the debt happens anytime there's activity on your account. If you make a payment, the 3-year clock starts all over again. If you charge something new to the account, it starts all over again. If you refiance the debt, it starts all over again. (I'm not sure if this applies for late charges etc. being added to your debt, but it's possible.) You can avoid re-aging the account by simply not making any payments and let the clock run. However, you risk the creditor taking legal action against you to collect (and then it's on your report forever, or 10 years after it's paid off). It's a gamble whether they will or not, and you must consider whether it's worth the risk. It might be cheapter, simpler, faster, and easier to just pay it and be done.