Florida Statute of Limitations on Debt Collection

The Florida statute of limitations on debt collection refers to the amount of time a debt collector can legally sue you in an attempt to collect payment from a delinquent debt. Obviously, by all moral standards you should pay outstanding debts but once this time period passes, the agency can’t legally take you to court.

Florida Statute of Limitations on Debt Collection

Under the Fair Debt Collection Practices Act (FDCPA), a creditor can attempt to collect on a bad debt even if it falls outside of the Florida statute of limitations on debt collection. It is entirely possible for creditors to file lawsuits in an attempt to collect on old debts even when the statute of limitations has passed. 

Either they didn’t do their due diligence to determine the date or they hope you won’t attempt to defend your case. Whatever the reason, don’t ignore the court summons. If the Florida statute of limitations on debt collection has passed, then you have the right as a consumer to defend yourself and possibly dismiss the case as long as you have proof the debt is time-barred. 

Fair Debt Collection Practices Act

Sometimes life happens and you wind up in a world of consumer debt but nobody deserves to be harassed or abused. The FDCPA offers consumers protections from aggressive or abusive debt collectors. 

FDCPA, as prepared by the Federal Trade Commission (FTC), means to eliminate the “abusive, deceptive, and unfair” practices used by debt collectors that “contribute to the number of personal bankruptcies, to marital instability, to the loss of jobs, and to invasions of individual privacy.” 

If an agency is outside of the Florida statute of limitations on debt collection, there are steps you can take to prove the debt collector broke the FDCPA and possibly even state laws. Very often agencies using unethical practices have several complaints against them. 

Consult with a professional to determine the best path of action if a collection agency has violated your consumer rights. You can also file a complaint with the FTC’s Complaint Assistant, with the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau (CFPB), and finally with the State Attorney General’s office. Again, while you may owe someone money, it’s illegal to harass an individual to obtain payment.

 

Florida Statute of Limitations Facts

There are different factors that affect the Florida statute of limitations time period. The Florida statute of limitations on debt collection for written contracts and promissory notes is five years. Oral contracts and open-ended accounts (including credit cards) Florida statute of limitations on debt collection is four years. The Florida statute of limitations for judgment collections is 20 years from the date of the judgment. A judgment lien, however, is only good for 10 years and can be extended for another 10 years. 

Some quick facts:

  • This time period refers to how long a debt collector can sue you for collection. 
  • The clock starts ticking usually from your last payment date.
  • If you make as small as a $5 payment, it can re-age/restart the debt and add more years to the limitations period.
  • The debt collector can still try to collect but if you tell them to not contact you, they are required by law to stop.
  • You can still be sued after the statute of limitations expires but it can be dismissed if you take action.
  • The negative information from your debt can still appear on your credit report.
  • Federal student loans don’t fall under the statute of limitations on debt.
  • The statute of limitations varies based on the laws of the state in the contract.
  • If you have unresolved judgments, it’s best to speak with an attorney regarding statute of limitations.

Credit Reporting Time Limit

However, this does not mean it will drop off of your credit report within that time period. This is known as the credit reporting time limit. For most delinquent debts, the time period is seven years. Even if the statute of limitations expires, negative information remains on your record a few more years.

There are a few things that can cause the clock to restart, such as making a voluntary payment toward the debt, making a payment arrangement, or acknowledging the account. If you have no intentions of making a payment, don’t do anything that restarts the reporting time. Also, it’s illegal for a debt collection agency to re-age the account to prolong the reporting time. 

 

Negative Impact of Bad Debt

It is vital for you to regularly monitor your credit report for changes. Information found on your credit report as a result of unpaid debt can negatively impact your financial state. You might not be able to secure a loan for a car or a mortgage. If you get a credit card or loan, it may come with extremely steep interest rates. There is a chance that bad credit can prevent you from getting a job in certain fields.

Often, debt collectors use dirty tactics to obtain old debts. Remember, as a consumer, you have rights as laid out under the Florida statute of limitations on debt collection and FDCPA laws. Collection agencies are prohibited from any debt collection action they can’t legally take. If you believe there are inaccuracies on your credit report, take the steps to address it by working with an attorney familiar with this area of law especially if you’re not sure where to start.

Work With an Expert Attorney

Each state has specific debt collection laws and its own statute of limitations for debt collection. It’s important to understand your rights when dealing with debt collectors. If you’re being pursued by a collection agency or have been served with a lawsuit, before you do anything else—contact an attorney that understands the intricacies of Florida debt collection. 

It’s critical to work with a qualified lawyer that can help you negotiate to help you settle your debts and dismiss any illegal actions your creditors may have taken against you. Even if you would like to learn how to get out of debt and clean up your credit, the legal expertise a dedicated attorney provides is priceless. 

About Chad Van Horn

Chad T. Van Horn, Esq. is a South Florida business leader and founding partner attorney of Van Horn Law Group, P.A. Through a combination of dedicated philanthropy, spirited entrepreneurship and legal expertise, he applies his resources and network to helping people. Learn more about Chad Van Horn

Chad Van Horn

Chad T. Van Horn, Esq. is a South Florida business leader and founding partner attorney of Van Horn Law Group, P.A. Through a combination of dedicated philanthropy, spirited entrepreneurship and legal expertise, he applies his resources and network to helping people. Learn more about Chad Van Horn

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