Several years ago, I had 3 credit cards. After having financial issues (job loss and several other unfortunate events), I was not able to keep up with the monthly payments. I stopped payments on all credit cards except few essential loans such as car loans. I have not made any payments on credit cards since then.

Fast forward 6 plus years, I would like to take care of those accounts. To my knowledge, all of them are currently charged off.

I talked to few friends and they mentioned that any payment(s) now would reactivate the Statue of Limitations, giving the debt owners legal right to file a lawsuit. And in the event if I pay them off in full or settle for less than owned, it will stay in my credit report for 10 more years, making both options unacceptable. The third option is not pay anything and wait until they fall off next year from the credit report. If I do not pay, then it would fall of the credit report in 1 year or so; however, I would still be responsible for the debt.

The question here is if I should settle and pay the unpaid accounts now or wait until they fall of my credit report and then negotiate the settlement offer with an understanding that creditors won’t report it back to any of credit bureaus.

  • How would you ensure that they don't report it after you pay to settle the debt? Commented Aug 1, 2018 at 22:17
  • Good question. I guess I don't make any payment until we reach such an agreement and it would be a part of the negotiation. But the risk is still there.
    – mt.elixir
    Commented Aug 1, 2018 at 22:23
  • 1
    None of the creditors have taken legal action to date?
    – Hart CO
    Commented Aug 1, 2018 at 22:37
  • Assuming US, what state are you in? The statute of limitations for collecting debt is not the same as the timeline for reporting a debt.
    – Hart CO
    Commented Aug 1, 2018 at 22:45
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    What are you trying to accomplish? Since the statute of limitations is up, the creditors have no right to collect the debt. What makes you think you're responsible for the debt after the statute of limitations is up? Commented Aug 2, 2018 at 1:45

1 Answer 1


NO, you don't owe any debt after the statute of limitations expires. After the SOL term has passed the debt legally "poofs" into history. The creditors lose the debt due to a lack of diligence. However, if you are not careful you can revive the statute of limitations. Do not validate the debt in any way including offering to pay.

Keep in mind credit card companies are not necessarily subject to the laws of your state. There is likely language in the contract along the lines of "This agreement is made under the laws of [some favorable state] ..." meaning you must look up their state law.

Further, do not ignore a court notice if they do sue. All you have to do is show the judge the debt is time-barred and it will be dismissed without trial. If you don't show up, you lose by default though.

As a note, it sounds like they may have kept your debt on their books as you do not mention receiving a 1099C for a cancelation of debt. So be prepared for that or a lawsuit as the matter does not appear to be settled completely.

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