Is there a statute of limitation on a collections debt?

My car was repossessed 8 years ago and a collection agency is trying to collect money now.

Asked on May 22, 2012 under Bankruptcy Law, New York


SJZ, Member, New York Bar / FreeAdvice Contributing Attorney

Answered 8 years ago | Contributor

If there was no judgment against you previously (that is, you were never taken to court and failed to show or lost the case), then it would  seem that they could not enforce the debt against you at this point: the statute of limitations, or time period to sue (which is therefore  the time to enforce a debt) in New York for contracts (like the financing agreement on the car) is only 6 years. Therefore, if you defaulted 8 years ago, it should be too late to legally enforce the debt.

On the other hand, if there had been a judgment against you--that is, you lost in court, whether by default (not responding or showing) or on the merits--the SOL for a judgment in NY is at least 10 years; so if there was a judgment against you 8 years (or less) ago, they could still enforce it.

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