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Statute of Limitations question

New Member

Statute of Limitations question

I was blindsided last week with a letter from a collection agency regarding a debt I apparently had from the university I attended in North Carolina, from which I graduated almost nine years ago! In retrospect, I vaguely remember having some form of an outstanding balance at the time directly with the university. In other words, it was not regarding a student loan of any sort.

Since receiving the letter last week, this debt has not yet appeared on my credit report as being in collection. Assuming this debt is past the NC statute of limitationa as it appears it is from my research, I understand that they cannot sue me for the balance. However should I refuse to pay the credit agency or even respond to their letter with a dispute, will they or more importantly can they then report it to the credit bureaus as an unpaid debt in collection?

Having this not appear on my credit report is most importantly to me at this time and I'm not sure how to proceed. Any advice or insight would help.
Message 1 of 10
Community Leader
Senior Contributor

Re: Statute of Limitations question

If it is in fact 9 years old, I am sure it is well past the SOL and it is certainly past the reporting time to be on your reports.


Did you read the letter carefully, normally if it's past the SOL, at the bottom of the letter it will state :


"the law limits how long you can be sued on a debt and how low it appears on reports. Due to the age of this debt, we will not sue or report payment or non payment to the credit bureau"


This is probably somewhere on your letter, seems like they are fishing a 'zombie debt"

EXP 758 TU 783 EQ 729
Message 2 of 10
Community Leader
Super Contributor

Re: Statute of Limitations question

^^^ agreed. Just make sure you verify the DoFD that they claim. You want to make sure it didn’t get reported as a date sometime in the last 7 years or it could be put into your reports, and even if it’s done so inaccurately, you’d then have to fight it and prove the date was inaccurate, and deal with the scoring penalty and possible AA from creditors in the meantime.

That is unlikely to happen but the damage a single derog can do makes it worth bringing up.

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Message 3 of 10
Established Contributor

Re: Statute of Limitations question

No advice here but am interested. I just got a similar letter last week.
I had a student loan that covered all of my tuition (currently in repayment). I have no idea what this is from. Or why it's popping up 6 years later.
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Message 4 of 10
New Member

Re: Statute of Limitations question

Thank you for the replies. 


I checked the letter and there is nothing stated on it like Jnbmom mentioned. I realize that unless I see it in writing I can't be 100% sure of the DoFD, but I've had zero contact with the university since I graduated in 2010 when the alleged debt would have occurred. 


In the letter the collection agency states that if I notify their office in wiriting within 30 days to "dispute the validity of this debtor any portion thereof" that they will obtain a copy of a judgement and mail me a copy of the judgement or verification. My inclination is to go ahead and write them stating that I dispute the debt because I don't know exatctly what it's for and/or that it is past the statutue of limitiations. Any thoughts on taking this course of action and if so, might it be best to simply state that I dispute it and simply leave it at that or in addition state either or both of the reasons I mentioned above. 


I realize that I will ultimately have to decide what to do next but hearing about experiences in similar matters definitely helps.  



Message 5 of 10
Legendary Contributor

Re: Statute of Limitations question

I would not worry about it appearing in your credit report if the debt became delinquent more than 7 years plus 180 days ago.

FCRA 605(a)(4), as clarified by FCRA 605(c), prevents any collection from being included in your credit report after a max period of 7 years plus 180 days from the initial date of your delinquency on the debt.


The exclusion period set forth in the FCRA applies regardless of whether the debt is paid or remains unpaid.


The CRA determines whether or not the exclusion period has expired by using the date of first delinquency that is required to be reported by the debt collector.

More specifically, if a debt collector reports a collection to a CRA, they are additionally required to provide the date of first delinquency (DOFD) to the CRA no later than 90 days after having reported their collection.  See FCRA 623(a)(5).

It is possible that a debt collector could report an inaccurate DOFD to the CRA that is still within the 7 years plus 180 day exclusion period, but you can immediately dispute the accuracy of that reporting and get an investiation by the debt collector and a reinvestigation by the CRA concluded within 30'ish days.


Advisory statements that a debt is beyond the statute of limitations for your state are only required under a few state codes, such as CA and NYS.  North Carolina has no such requirement, and thus the advisory statement that they cannot or will not sue is not required as part of dunning notices in North Carolina.

If the debt clearly became delinquent nine years ago, it is clearly now outside of the SOL for debt in NC.


You also ask whether or not you should send a debt validation request within the 30-day period set within the dunning notice.

My advise is yes.

A timely request for debt validation will impose an automatic cease collection bar on the debt collector, which prevents them from conducting any further collection activities until they have first sent validation. See FDCPA 809(b).

It will not require them to send validation within any period, but until they do so, they must cease further collection activities, including calls or letters.

Message 6 of 10
New Member

Re: Statute of Limitations question

Thank you Robert. Your post contained every bit of information that I was looking for and I very much apprectiate you taking the time to write it. I hope this helps XtraCredit as well and anyone who comes across this thread. 


Thanks again to all who replied! 

Message 7 of 10
Super Contributor

Re: Statute of Limitations question

The SOL to begin an action to acquire a judgment is totally separate from the SOL that governs how long a judgment has effect. And that’s also totally separate from the SOL governing how long a delinquency may be reported.

Just beware if you affirm the debt or pay one dollar on it, it’s possible to restart the SOL and renew the debt. By all means dispute the validity of the debt.

You stated they had a judgment. A judgment is a pronouncement from the court. That means you had to be sued and due process required that you be notified and if they can’t find you at least be notified by publication. And the court action had to be concluded against you for that judgment to exist. I would be willing to bet no judgment exists if you’re not aware of being sued. It’s probably a scare letter to get you to either acknowledge or pay the debt, when you have no legal obligation to do so.

If there is a judgment, when you get the copy you can determine statue of limitations in that jurisdiction and proceed accordingly.

If there is no judgment and the SOL is past, they have no right to seek a judgment nor to compel you to pay.
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Message 8 of 10
Established Contributor

Re: Statute of Limitations question

I'm suprised they let you graduate with owed money.   Universities can, and will, refuse to release degrees and transcripts while being owed money.


I would recommend contacting your school directly to make sure there are no adverse affects of the account going to collections.

Message 9 of 10
Valued Contributor

Re: Statute of Limitations question

@Sparky22 wrote:

Thank you Robert. Your post contained every bit of information that I was looking for and I very much apprectiate you taking the time to write it. I hope this helps XtraCredit as well and anyone who comes across this thread. 


Thanks again to all who replied! 

Robert is like the ultimate myFICO guru. He's quite the legend in these parts LOL.

I think I've found the sacred map that may lead me to this garden everyone keeps talking about.

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Message 10 of 10
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