Statute of Limitations in Oklahoma (Complete Guide 2021)

George Simons

April 06, 2021

You may have a debt, but you also have a defense.

Summary: Worried that you'll never be able to pay that old debt? You might not have to. Learn all you need to know about the statute of limitations in Oklahoma and find out if you don't have to pay those old debts.

If you are receiving frequent phone calls and letters from creditors seeking repayment for an outstanding debt, it is important to determine the age of the alleged debt. Why? Because there are laws that provide a finite period of time in which a debt collection lawsuit can be filed in Oklahoma. The time period is known as the “statute of limitations.”

What Is the Statute of Limitations Defense?

The statute of limitations is the time period in which a creditor, or debt collection agency, can file a lawsuit against you to try and recover an outstanding debt. If the statute of limitations in Oklahoma has expired, both creditors and debt collection agencies are prohibited from filing suit against you concerning the outstanding debt.

The statute of limitations will vary both by the type of debt and the state in which you reside. For example, the statute of limitations for a debt collection lawsuit in Florida is different from a debt collection lawsuit filed in Oklahoma.

In certain circumstances, the time period for taking legal action will be dictated by the specific language in a contractual agreement. For example, many credit card agreements feature a “choice of law” provision that designates a particular state law that will apply if there is a dispute.

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Overview of the Statute of Limitations in Oklahoma

Oklahoma Statute of Limitations
on Debt

Debt Type

Deadline in Years

Open Account






Source: Findlaw

In Oklahoma, the applicable statute of limitations will be impacted by the type of debt at issue. Here is an overview of Oklahoma's statute of limitations:

  • Debt based upon an open-account (e.g., credit cards, a department store card, etc.) is five years.
  • Debt based upon a written contract also has a limitations period of five years.
  • Debt based upon an oral contract may only be collected upon for up to three years.

When the Statute of Limitations Commences on a Debt

A common question asked about the statute of limitations is when it commences. Well, much like the statute of limitations itself, the date of commencement will vary based upon the state in which you reside. In some states, the commencement of the statute of limitations is when you made your last payment. In other states, the limitations period will commence on the date of your first missed payment.

Creditors and debt collection agencies can file a lawsuit to recover the debt before the expiration of the statute of limitations. However, when the limitations period expires, creditors are unable to take legal action against you to try and collect on a delinquent debt.

Do Not Inadvertently Reset the Clock on an Old Debt

It is important to understand that debt collectors are not legally obligated to tell you that the statute of limitations expired. Some debt collectors who know that the statute of limitations period on the debt expired may be particularly aggressive to try and convince you to make a payment. Why? Because the debt collector knows that if you make a new payment toward the old debt, it will effectively trigger a restart on the statute of limitations period.

In Oklahoma, when there is “new activity” on a time-barred debt (e.g., making a full or partial payment) the statute of limitations can be restarted which provides years of additional time for a creditor or debt collection agency to take legal action against you.

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Tricks and Tactics Used by Debt Collectors on Old Debts

Unfortunately, many debt collectors will use every trick in the book to try and recover on a debt, even if that debt is extremely old and barred by the statute of limitations in Oklahoma. Here is an overview of some of the common tricks and tactics used by debt collectors when pursuing payment on an old debt:

  • Threatening to file a lawsuit against you, even when the statute of limitations period has expired.
  • Threatening you with a prison sentence (spoiler alert: you cannot go to jail for failing to pay a consumer debt).
  • Threatening you with foreclosure on your home
  • Contacting your friends, family members, and work colleagues
  • Misleading you by saying that a small payment toward the debt will effectively restore your good credit. Please understand that a single small payment toward debt will in no way impact your credit score. The only reason they want you to make a small payment is to try and restart the clock on the statute of limitations.

Protecting Yourself from Debt Collector Tricks and Tactics

If you want to avoid the threat of being sued for a time-barred debt in Oklahoma, proactively ask if the debt Is time-barred based on the statute of limitations. Debt collectors are legally obligated, under the Fair Debt Collection Practices Act (FDCPA), to respond honestly when asked whether the outstanding debt is time-barred. If the debt collector confirms that the statute of limitations has expired on the debt, do not acknowledge the debt and do not agree to pay any of it. The FDCPA is a federal law enacted by Congress that was intended to protect individuals from being subjected to harassing debt collection attempts. In addition to the legal obligation to tell you whether the debt is time-barred due to the statute of limitations, the FDCPA prohibits debt collectors from contacting you before 8:00 am and after 9:00 pm, contacting your employer, using threatening language, etc.

If you are unsure whether the debt is time-barred based upon the statute of limitations, ask for confirmation on when the last payment was made. The debt collector should be able to tell you the date of the last payment. On the other hand, if the debt collector does not have this information, it may be an indication that the collection agency is trying to collect on debt with flimsy or paltry evidence.

You also have the right to request a debt validation letter from the creditor. You can send a written request for debt validation within 30 days of being contacted by a debt collector. A debt validation letter will serve to confirm the specific information about the debt collection agency (or creditor), the debt purportedly owed, and your rights under the FDCPA. The creditor or debt collection agency is legally obligated to stop all collection efforts until it responds to the debt validation letter.

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Old Debts Remain on Your Credit Report After the Statute of Limitations Expires

Once a debt has passed the statute of limitations, a debt collector or creditor is barred from suing you to try and recover the debt. However, it is important to note that an old, unpaid debt will remain on your credit report. Specifically, old debts that have not been paid will generally stay on your credit report for seven years from the date of first delinquency. As a result, the old debt can still negatively impact your credit score and make it more difficult to qualify for loans and credit in the future.

In Oklahoma, a creditor or debt collection agency is afforded a finite period of time to take legal action to try and recover a debt. This finite period of time is known as the statute of limitations. In Oklahoma, for most debts, a creditor is afforded five years to take legal action on a debt. After the statute of limitations has expired, a creditor or debt collector can no longer sue you for the debt.

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