Every day, consumers pay off collection accounts and charge-offs which they do not have to pay off because the Statute of Limitations has already expired for the open account. Consumers pay off these accounts because the accounts still appear on their credit reports.

This information can be a powerful weapon in unburdening yourself of old debts, as creditors have a limited time in which to sue you. Remember: the Statute of Limitations begins to run from the day the debt – or payment on an open-ended account – was due. Also, this has nothing to do with how long an negative credit item can remain on your credit report. To view these credit reporting rules,

Consumers also pay off these accounts when they are not on their credit reports. Even though an account was removed from their credit file, a collector watched their credit report for any activity (actually the computer was watching any credit activity). When the collector spotted the activity, he called the consumer for payment. All the consumer needed to say to the collector was, “I have an absolute defense–the Statute of Limitations has expired.”

The Statute of Limitations does not cause your debt to go away after it expires. If the creditor files suit, the consumer has an absolute defense. The consumer must offer the new evidence to avoid a judgement. The evidence will consist of papers the consumer files to support his claim. If the creditor sues you, and you do not prove to the court that the Statute of Limitations expired, you will have a lost lawsuit and a judgment against you.

When does the Statute of Limitations start?

You might be asking yourself, “It has been such a long time since my “open account” has had any activity. When does my Statute of Limitations started ticking.” Use your credit report as a reference. Your credit report will tell you the date of last activity for your account. You will have your credit report with the date of last activity and a certified letter stating that the statute of limitations expired.

Depending on what state you live in, if you make a partial payment, you could be postponing the Statute of Limitations’ taking effect on your collection account or charge-off. A collector might call you one day and say you waived your rights when you made a deal with the collection agency. Do not take anything a collector tells you for granted. Make them prove it to you, in or out of court. For about half the population, the Statute of Limitations started ticking the day they made the last payment for their account.