Yet again, the SOL issue has created confusion. This happens a lot, and it is NOT an easy subject to get one's head around right away.
There are actually two separate and distinct issues involved. SOL (Statute Of Limitations) and CRTP (Credit Reporting Time Periods). I think I'm going to try and coin that phrase and begin using it.
Tuscani has written up a great thread on CRTP.
CRTP is the length of time something can be reported to the CRAs. Once the CRTP expires, it's gone from your CRs.
For most things it's 7 years, give or take 180 days. I say give or take because there's an FTC staff opinion letter (I believe) and a court case or two (I think) that have weighed in on this issue. I have tried to read thru and follow it over on CIC, but I get lost, my head hurts counting up legal precedent, and I'm left with the conclusion bad stuff can report, letter of the law, caselaw accounted for, 7.5 years from the DOFD--Date Of First Delinquency, which is usually when it went 120 days late.
For BK7, it's 10 years from discharge. For BK13, I think it's 7 years from filing.
Inquires stay for 2 years and aren't supposed to hurt you after 1 year. Soft inquiries don't hurt at all. For another head popping reading assignment, go here for more inquiry stuff.
Child support, judgments, liens, etc. the wackiness only worsens. The FCRA leaves open a lot of room for states to permit judgments to be extended, in some states all but indefinitely, and they won't drop until 7 years from PIF.
By and large once the CRTP is set, that's it. It's set. When it passes, the adverse info is gone. An OC can sell a debt to a CA, who sells it to another CA, who sells it to a third CA, who sells it to a JDB, and so. CRTP remains set. If it's a judgment or lien or something in the wacky areas, it might be a different story. But if we're talking lates, chargeoffs, collections, repos, BK, then the CRTP gets set and remains set. Period.
OK, that concludes the part that deals with your credit reports.
Statute Of Limitations. Here is some starter reading on SOL.
SOL is the length of time in which a creditor may sue you over a delinquent debt. If you look in your state statutes, you'll find SOL for all kinds of things. Some states you might find SOLs for 1 year, 2 years, 3 years, 5 years, 6 years, 10 years and 20 years. Some might involve real estate. Some might involve wrongful death. Some might involve personal injury from assault or vehicle accidents. There is probably a state out there, somewhere, with an SOL specific for damage to your crops when caused by a neighbor's dog.
SOL is a broad subject, and finding the details in the statutes about what SOLs apply to debt can take some doing. You may have to read the statutes, regulations, caselaw, AG opinions, and probably something else.
Within debt and credit, there are at least 4 broad categories into which the specific debt may fit for purposes of SOL. Written, Oral, Promissory, and Open. Open generally includes CC debts, but not always. This bankrate link is a good start, but I know there are things listed which are very much in dispute.
For example, the Kentucky AG has said, in response to consumers requests, there is caselaw in Kentucky saying the SOL on CC debt is either 5 or 15 years. Some cases in some courts have ruled 5 years. Others have ruled 15 years. Unless and until the legislature makes a law change to more narrowly focus the language in the statutes, this uncertainty will remain. The matter might also get decided by a higher court in a case before the court. State or federal? Could be one or the other. Might start in the state courts and get bumped into the federal courts. SCOTUS would get the final say, if it ever got that far and they granted cert. Even then, the legislature could come back with a law change, and if that language were sufficiently vague, the fun might begin yet again.
Here in Washington state, 3 years or 6 years SOL for CC debt is also in question. In Georgia, CC SOL might be 4 years or it might be 6 years. Same fun as Kentucky. Different State Supreme Courts and Federal Circuit Courts.
Unlike CRTP, SOL can be either tolled or reset.
Tolling is when the SOL is placed on hold, and this can happen for a variety of reasons. For example, let's say you flee the country, live overseas for 20 years, then return. SOL picks up where it left off 20 years ago. Or if you go into hiding or concealment. Exactly what constitutes hiding or concealment? Anyone's guess. Probably a whole mess of caselaw and lawyers who can tell you about such things, if you've got the time and money to hear about it.
Resetting the SOL is when it starts all over. Generally speaking, in most states any payment or partial payment on a debt resets the SOL. Not all, but most. This is also something which gets buried in the statutes, caselaw, AG opinions, etc.
Let's say to get a CA off your back, you settle and pay $1200 on an old $3000 debt. 2 years passes, it drops from your CRs, and you rejoice. Then you get served with a summons and complaint. You get sued. Why? Well, for that $1800 you still owe, plus another $4179.83 in penalties, fees, interest, etc. Can they do that? Well, after checking, the SOL in your state is 4 years, you paid $1200 2 years ago, so yep they can sue you. The $4179.83 may or may not be able to get tacked on, but if they can prove the $1800 debt they can collect on it. If they win, and get a judgment, that judgment will get reported, and you have a bad TL on your CRs all over again--perhaps for another 7 years after it's paid.
One final complication with SOL. Since it varies by state, which state's SOL applies? Well, the FCRA helps narrow it down, to one of two states. FCRA says you can only be sued in the state where you live now or the state where the debt was incurred. If you now live in Arizona, but lived in California when you first got your CC that's in default, then either the Arizona or California SOL would apply. Doesn't matter that's it BOA and their HQ is in North Carolina. The OC or CA has to sue you in either Arizona or California. Practically speaking, they are going to sue you in the state where you live now. I have yet to hear of anyone being sued over a debt in a state other than where they now live, but it's probably happened. However, the SOL may be either California or Arizona SOL. There is a difference of opinion amongst lawyers, judges, AGs, etc. which would apply. In theory, a California SOL might apply even though the suit is brought in Arizona.
Always remember that SOL and CRTP are two entirely different, distinct and separate things.
BK 7 is 7 years from the filing date not the discharge date.
What happens if it was never 120 days late?
, 7.5 years from the DOFD--Date Of First Delinquency, which is usually when it went 120 days late.