February 28, 2024

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Understanding Statute of Limitations on Debt in Texas: What You Need to Know

Debt is a common part of life, but sometimes, it can become a burden to bear. Debt collectors can be relentless in their attempts to collect, but what happens when a debt is too old to legally collect? This is where the statute of limitations on debt comes into play. In Texas, the statute of limitations on debt can vary depending on the type of debt and other factors. Read on to learn more about what you need to know about the statute of limitations on debt in Texas.

What is the Statute of Limitations on Debt?

The statute of limitations on debt is the amount of time after which a collector is no longer legally able to sue you for the debt. This means that if the debt is past the statute of limitations, the collector can no longer take legal action against you to collect it. Keep in mind, however, that this does not mean you no longer owe the debt. You are still morally obligated to pay the debt, even if the collector is no longer legally able to take action.

What is the Statute of Limitations on Debt in Texas?

The statute of limitations on debt in Texas can vary depending on the type of debt. Generally, the statute of limitations on debt in Texas is four years for most consumer debts, such as credit card debt, medical bills, and personal loans. However, the statute of limitations is longer for certain types of debts:

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  • Debt secured by a mortgage or other lien on property – 4 years
  • Debt for a written contract – 4 years
  • Debt for oral agreements – 4 years
  • Debt for promissory notes – 4 years
  • Debt for open accounts (i.e., revolving credit accounts) – 4 years
  • Debt for foreign judgments – 4 years
  • Debt for taxes owed to the government – no statute of limitations

It is important to note that the statute of limitations can be restarted if you make a payment on the debt or acknowledge the debt in writing. This means that if you make a payment on a debt that is past the statute of limitations, the collector can use this as a way to restart the statute of limitations.

What Can a Collector Do if a Debt is Past the Statute of Limitations?

If a debt is past the statute of limitations, the collector can no longer sue you for the debt. However, they can still attempt to collect the debt through other means, such as phone calls and letters. If you are being harassed by a collector for a debt that is past the statute of limitations, you can send them a cease and desist letter telling them to stop contacting you.

What Should You Do if You are Sued for a Debt?

If you are sued for a debt, you should consult with an attorney immediately. Even if the debt is past the statute of limitations, you will still need to provide evidence to the court that the debt is past the statute of limitations. If you do not show up to court, the collector may win a default judgment against you, which could hurt your credit score and result in wage garnishment.

How Can You Protect Yourself from Debt Collectors?

There are several things you can do to protect yourself from debt collectors:

  • Know your rights – Debt collectors are required to follow certain rules and regulations. You can find a list of your rights under the Fair Debt Collection Practices Act (FDCPA).
  • Keep records – Keep a record of any communication you have with a debt collector, including phone calls, emails, and letters.
  • Send a cease and desist letter – If a debt collector is harassing you, you can send them a cease and desist letter telling them to stop contacting you.
  • Consult with an attorney – If you are being sued for a debt, it is important to consult with an attorney who can help you navigate the legal system.

FAQs

What happens if a collector tries to collect a debt that is past the statute of limitations?

If a collector tries to collect a debt that is past the statute of limitations, they cannot take legal action against you to collect it. However, they can still attempt to collect the debt through other means, such as phone calls and letters.

Can a collector sue me for a debt that is past the statute of limitations?

No, a collector cannot sue you for a debt that is past the statute of limitations. However, if you do not show up to court and provide evidence that the debt is past the statute of limitations, the collector may win a default judgment against you.

Can the statute of limitations on debt be reset?

Yes, the statute of limitations on debt can be reset if you make a payment on the debt or acknowledge the debt in writing.

What should I do if a debt collector is harassing me?

If a debt collector is harassing you, you can send them a cease and desist letter telling them to stop contacting you. If they continue to harass you, you can file a complaint with the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau (CFPB).

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Article Summary:

The statute of limitations on debt in Texas varies depending on the type of debt. For most consumer debts, such as credit card debt, medical bills, and personal loans, the statute of limitations is four years. However, for debts secured by a mortgage or other lien on property, debt for a written contract, oral agreements, promissory notes, open accounts, and foreign judgments, the statute of limitations is also four years. Debt for taxes owed to the government has no statute of limitations. It’s essential to note that making a payment on a debt or acknowledging it in writing can restart the statute of limitations, giving collectors a fresh start on collection efforts.

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