This is a question that we receive daily, what is the Statute of Limitations on Credit Card debt in Pennsylvania?
The Statute of Limitations on Credit Card debt in PA is four (4) years in most cases. The 4 years begins to run from the date of your last payment on a specific credit account. This is a very hot issue in the collection industry because we have a dispute as to when the last payment was made on many of the cases that we handle. Many times, a client will insist on a certain date as the date of the last payment, and the debt collector will have a completely different time frame. There are also certain scenarios where a three (3) year Statute of Limitations applies, depending upon where your creditor is based. Capital One and Discover Bank, among others, may be subject to a 3 year SOL.
The Statute of Limitations is important in a debt collector case in two distinct ways. One, it acts as a defense in the event of an untimely filing of the lawsuit by the debt collector. If the lawsuit is filed beyond the 4 year statute, then the statute of limitations defense should prevail without exception. Unfortunately, this statute does not prevent debt collectors from actually filing a lawsuit, as many people think. The Statute of Limitations is what is called an Affirmative Defense, which means that it must be raised after the lawsuit is filed. A court will then determine whether the collection claim was begun in a timely manner.
The second important aspect of the Statute of Limitations in a debt collection case is that it is a violation of debt collection laws if a lawsuit is filed beyond the statute. What that means is that you may have a lawsuit against the debt collector or junk debt buyer for filing an untimely claim. Again, this does not releive your burden from responding to and defending against the collector's lawsuit. That response must occur, and after you obtain a positive result (a dismissal or withdrawal of the lawsuit) then you can begin to consider filing a claim against the debt collector.
The good news is that if we file a claim for you against a debt collector after they have filed an untimely claim (a claim not filed within the PA Statute of Limitations) then you will not have to pay an up front attorney fee to our office. We expect to obtain our legal fees from the offending collection agency/junk debt buyer.
Contact our office today at 412-281-1250 or 1-888-536-6644 for a no cost, no obligation review of your debt collection law issue.