Has an old debt suddenly crept back up, with collectors harassing you for payment after years of no contact? If so, you may be curious how these collectors can seek out payment for arrears after such a significant amount of time has passed. As it turns out, they may not be legally entitled to repayment. Depending on the age of your particular debt, it is possible that the statute of limitations was exceeded for collections.
To assist you in determining if your outstanding payment is beyond the age for which repayment is legally required, our Miami debt defense attorneys have outlined some key information regarding Florida’s statute of limitations for debts.
Florida’s Statute of Limitations
Every state determines its own statute of limitations for debt collection. Typically, the amount of time that must pass for your legal obligation to repay the debt to expire depends on the type of agreement you made for the debt. For instance, if the loan was bound by a written agreement, the statute of limitations for it in Florida is five years. The time frame for which one can sue over a debt which had an oral agreement in the state is only four years. For open-ended accounts, such as credit cards, the time limit is four years as well. If your debt was acquired via a promissory note, the statute of limitations is five years.
How to Handle a Zombie Debt Collector
While it is true that you are not legally obligated to repay debts that have surpassed the time frames outlined in the statute of limitations, this does not mean collectors cannot contact you. Rather, it means you cannot be sued for such debts. That said, this does not negate the fact that these constant communications can disrupt your life. Luckily, there are steps you and your debt defense attorney can take to stop agencies from requesting repayment. The first is to send the collector a letter requesting that communications cease. If this request is not honored or the agency threatens an unwarranted lawsuit, you can file a complaint with the Federal Trade Commission, as such behavior is not permitted under the Fair Debt Collection Practices Act. Another option is to pay off the debt if it is within your financial means. Even though you cannot be sued, it might be in your best interest to pay.
If debt collectors are harassing you for outstanding payments that have exceeded the statute of limitations in Florida, our Miami debt defense attorneys can help. Give our office a call today to schedule a free consultation regarding your case.