Statute of Limitations on Debt in Oregon (Complete Guide 2021)

George Simons

April 06, 2021

Sometimes you just want to put your debt behind you.

Summary: Have a creditor chasing after you for an old debt? Find out if the statue of limitations in Oregon can protect you from past due debts.

The vast majority of debt, whether it be in the form of credit card debt, medical debt, student loan debt, etc. has a statutory limit for the number of years in which a creditor can file a lawsuit against you to try and collect on that debt.

The statute of limitations applicable for specific types of debts will be determined by the state in which you reside. For example, in some states, the statute of limitations for certain types of debt is three years; in others, the statute of limitations is six years, while other states have a 10-year statute of limitations.

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Oregon Adheres to a Six-Year Statute of Limitations for Debt

Oregon Statute of Limitations
on Debt

Debt Type

Deadline in Years

Credit Card

6

Medical

6

Mortgage

6

Auto Loan

4

Judgment

10

State Tax

Indefinite


Source: Findlaw



In Oregon, the statute of limitations for debt is six years. This means a creditor has up to six years to file a lawsuit to collect on the debt. The six-year statute of limitations applies to medical debt, credit card debt, auto loan debt, etc.

Many people mistakenly assume a creditor will file suit as soon as you go into default. However, in reality, some creditors take years before actually filing suit. If a creditor or debt collection agency files suit and wins, they are then allotted an additional 10 years to try to collect on the debt.

In general, if you have a contractual debt in Oregon that you have not repaid, the creditor has six years to pursue you with legal action before the Oregon statute of limitations expires. This applies to medical, credit card, and mortgage debt. However, if you owe money on an auto loan, the creditor only has four years to sue. There is no statute of limitations on a state tax debt.

Remember that the statute of limitations doesn't necessarily start when you were initially billed. Instead, the statute of limitations begins to run based upon the last payment made on the debt. As a result, if you make a payment towards the debt, even if it is only a nominal payment, it will restart the clock running on the statute of limitations.

If more than six years have passed and the debt remains outstanding, it means a creditor cannot file a lawsuit against you. However, the statute of limitations does not do anything to protect your credit report. The unpaid debt may still appear on your credit report for several years after the statute of limitations has lapsed.

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Contractual Provision Could Impact Statute of Limitations

If there is a provision in a contractual agreement between you and a creditor that stipulates less time for the creditor to file suit, you may be able to get out from under the threat of debt collection litigation in less than six years. For example, some credit card agreements contain a provision that stipulates legal disputes will be governed under Delaware law. In Delaware, the statute of limitations on debt is three years. However, an appeals court in Oregon decided that if a credit card company sells your debt to a collection company, the six-year statute of limitations in Oregon applies.

Debt Collectors May Still Hound You Even After the Statute of Limitations Expires

Once the statute of limitations lapses, a creditor is prohibited from legally suing you for an outstanding debt. However, some debt collection agencies actively ignore the statute of limitations in the hopes that you will not realize the time period to recover has expired. It is fairly common for some debt collectors to inaccurately claim that the debt is still recoverable and active. If you are being harassed by a debt collector, it is important to understand that you have legal rights under both federal and state law.

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Legal Protections Under the FDCPA

The Fair Debt Collection Practices Act (FDCPA) governs what actions can, and cannot, be taken by debt collectors when contacting consumers. It is a federal law featuring the following protections to you and other consumers:

  • Debt collectors are prohibited from disclosing your debt to third parties, except your attorney (if you opt to retain counsel).
  • Debt collectors cannot send mail containing explicit information or visible images that would reveal that the letter is related to the collection of outstanding debt.
  • Debt collectors are prohibited from contacting you at inconvenient hours; specifically before 8 a.m. and after 9 p.m.
  • Debt collectors are prohibited from contacting you at work.
  • Debt collectors are prohibited from harassing you. For example, they cannot call you repeatedly in succession, use inappropriate language, and/or make threats.

Legal Protections Under the OUDCPA

In addition to the federal protections afforded under the FDCPA, Oregon residents also have legal protections under the Unlawful Debt Collection Practices Act. This state law requires all debt collectors to be registered within the state. The OUDCPA also places limits on when and how often debt collectors can contact you at your place of employment. Here are some other protections afforded under the OUDCPA:

  • Creditors can send physical correspondence to you at work, but only if the creditor does not have access to your home address.
  • Both original creditors and collection agencies are required to follow the provisions codified under the OUDCPA.
  • Creditors are only allowed to contact you at your place of employment once per week.

The statute of limitations to collect on a debt in Oregon is generally six years. Once the statute of limitations lapses, a creditor is generally prohibited from suing you to try and collect on that debt. However, it is important to understand that the six-year statute of limitations is based on the date of the last payment made on the account.

As a result, if a creditor is hounding you to “make a small, initial payment” on an old debt, it is likely an attempt to try and “reset” the clock running on the statute of limitations. If you are sued by a creditor for a debt that is older than the applicable statute of limitations, it is incumbent upon you to raise it as an affirmative defense to get the collection lawsuit thrown out.

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