Statute of Limitations on Debt Collection in Alabama

Melissa Lyken

May 07, 2021

Know the laws in Alabama to win in court.

Summary: Being sued for an old debt in Alabama? It might be too late for the creditor to do anything about it. Learn about the statute of limitations and how to beat debt collectors in Alabama.

Do you have an old unpaid debt in Alabama? Your creditor may be able to file a collection suit against you for breach of contract. If you recently received a demand letter from your creditor, make sure you know where you and your possible defenses stand before making any payments or promises. One important defense to be aware of is the statute of limitations on debt.

The statute of limitations refers to the length of time a creditor or debt collector can demand and collect payment from you. After the statute of limitations has lapsed, your creditor can no longer file any collection lawsuit against you. They can also no longer use any other judicial method to pursue and collect what you owe them.

See below for more information about the statute of limitations for debt collection in Alabama.

Make the right defense the right way with SoloSuit.

Categories of Debt and the Statute of Limitations

Alabama Statute of Limitations
on Debt

Debt Type

Deadline in Years

Sealed

10

Written

6

Oral

6

Open Account

3

Breach of Contract

4

State Tax

3

Judgment

10-20


Source: Findlaw



The statute of limitations for debt in Alabama depends on the kind of debt. There are only two categories of debt in Alabama that are enforceable: debts based on contracts and accounts. The statute of limitations is thus different depending on the kind of contract or account that you owe.

The debt may either be based on a written or oral contract, an open account, promissory note, mortgage, or any other form of loan. Moreover, if your creditor obtains a favorable judgment, the judgment has its statute of limitations. Keep reading for the various statute of limitations for debt in Alabama:

Sealed Contracts – 10 years

When your debt is based on a contract under seal, your creditor has ten years to file a collection lawsuit against you.

A sealed contract is a formal written agreement that states each party's promises and is not required to have a consideration. It must be signed by both parties, have a seal, and be delivered to both parties. After all three requirements are complete, the sealed contract is officially a conclusive document between the parties.

Written Contracts – 6 years

Promises in writing not under seal or comprising a simple contract have a six-year prescriptive period. Your creditor must file a collection lawsuit to collect your debt within six years from the time you defaulted. Otherwise, your debt will be time-barred.

Unlike a sealed contract, to be valid, a written contract must have stated a valuable consideration. It does not have to bear a seal. It is valid and enforceable when both parties have signed the contract. An example of a written contract could be medical debts, lease contracts, or any other agreement made in writing and signed by both parties.

Oral Contract – 6 years

An oral contract or verbal agreement between the parties is legally binding and has a statute of limitation of six years.

Recovery of Money from a Stated or Liquidated Loan Account – 6 years

If your debt arises from a loan such as a personal loan or a stated account, your creditor is granted a six-year statute of limitations.

Open and Unliquidated Account – 3 years

If your debt is an open account, such as an unpaid outstanding balance on your credit card, your creditor or the debt collector may file a collection lawsuit against you within three years from the time you defaulted on paying your balance.

Breach of Contract of Sale – 1- 4 years

In Alabama, the default prescriptive period for a breach of contract of sales is four years. This period may be reduced to no less than one year and no more than four years if agreed by the parties. Debts from auto loans also fall under this category.

State Tax Debt – 3 years

The state has three years to audit your tax return and access any additional tax, penalty, or due interest from the date a tax return is filed or due, whichever comes later. After the said three-year period, the state can no longer pursue you for any tax deficiencies.

Judgments – 10 - 20 years

A judgment on debt may be enforced within ten years after entry. However, suppose the judgment will not be successfully satisfied within the ten years. In that case, the judgment creditor may file for the revival of the judgment before the ten-year period ends and have it enforced for the next successive ten years. Therefore, a judgment in Alabama may be enforced for 20 years.

Respond to a debt collection lawsuit in 15 minutes with SoloSuit and have it dismissed in court.

Using the Statute of Limitations Defense for Time-Barred Debts

Another important principle to note when considering the prescriptive period is whether the debtor or defendant is in Alabama. The period in the statute of limitations will only begin when the defendant is present in Alabama. The time may also be interrupted by the defendant's subsequent absence. The time that they were not in the state will not be included when calculating the period of the permissible time for filing a collection lawsuit.

If your debt passes the period given in the statute of limitations, and your creditor did not file a collection lawsuit, they are barred from pursuing a legal remedy to collect. You still owe the creditor, but they can no longer ask the court to garnish your wages or levy your property to satisfy your debt.

The exception to this is when you make a partial payment or an unconditional promise in writing signed by both parties, as this action will result in the statute of limitations restarting. As such, your creditor may be able to file a collection lawsuit and pursue the collection of your debt via another legal remedy.

Understanding all of the laws regarding statutes of limitations on debt can be burdensome. However, you must be familiar with the statute of limitations if you seek to provide this defense against your creditor or debt collector. If the statute of limitations has not expired on your debt, you should consider other defenses that may apply to your case.

What is SoloSuit?

SoloSuit makes it easy to respond to a debt collection lawsuit.

How it works: SoloSuit is a step-by-step web-app that asks you all the necessary questions to complete your answer. Upon completion, you can either print the completed forms and mail in the hard copies to the courts or you can pay SoloSuit to file it for you and to have an attorney review the document.

Respond with SoloSuit

"First time getting sued by a debt collector and I was searching all over YouTube and ran across SoloSuit, so I decided to buy their services with their attorney reviewed documentation which cost extra but it was well worth it! SoloSuit sent the documentation to the parties and to the court which saved me time from having to go to court and in a few weeks the case got dismissed!" – James


Get Started


>>Read the FastCompany article: Debt Lawsuits Are Complicated: This Website Makes Them Simpler To Navigate

>>Read the NPR story on SoloSuit: A Student Solution To Give Utah Debtors A Fighting Chance

How to Answer a Summons for Debt Collection Guides for Other States

Here's a list of guides for other states.

All 50 states.

Guides on How to Beat Every Debt Collector

Being sued by a different debt collector? We're making guides on how to beat each one.

Win Against Credit Card Companies

Is your credit card company suing you? Learn how you can beat each one.

Going to Court for Credit Card Debt — Key Tips

How to Negotiate Credit Card Debts

How to Settle a Credit Card Debt Lawsuit — Ultimate Guide

Get Answers to These FAQs

Need more info on statutes of limitations? Read our 50-state guide.

Why do debt collectors block their phone numbers?

How long do debt collectors take to respond to debt validation letters?

What are the biggest debt collector companies in the US?

Is Zombie Debt Still a Problem in 2019?

SoloSuit FAQ

If a car is repossessed, do I still owe the debt?

Is Portfolio Recovery Associates Legit?

Is There a Judgment Against Me Without my Knowledge?

Should I File Bankruptcy Before or After a Judgment?

What is a default judgment?— What do I do?

Summoned to Court for Medical Bills — What Do I Do?

What Happens If Someone Sues You and You Have No Money?

What Happens If You Never Answer Debt Collectors?

What Happens When a Debt Is Sold to a Collection Agency

What is a Stipulated Judgment?

What is the Deadline for a Defendant's Answer to Avoid a Default Judgment?

Can a Judgement Creditor Take my Car?

Can I Settle a Debt After Being Served?

Can I Stop Wage Garnishment?

Can You Appeal a Default Judgement?

Do I Need a Debt Collection Defense Attorney?

Do I Need a Payday Loans Lawyer?

Do student loans go away after 7 years? — Student Loan Debt Guide

Am I Responsible for My Spouse's Medical Debt?

Should I Marry Someone With Debt?

Can a Debt Collector Leave a Voicemail?

How Does Debt Assignment Work?

What Happens If a Defendant Does Not Pay a Judgment?

How Does Debt Assignment Work?

Can You Serve Someone with a Collections Lawsuit at Their Work?

What Is a Warrant in Debt?

How Many Times Can a Judgment be Renewed in Oklahoma?

Can an Eviction Be Reversed?

Does Debt Consolidation Have Risks?

What Happens If You Avoid Getting Served Court Papers?

Does Student Debt Die With You?

Can Debt Collectors Call You at Work in Texas?

How Much Do You Have to Be in Debt to File for Chapter 7?

What Is the Statute of Limitations on Debt in Washington?

How Long Does a Judgment Last?

Can Private Disability Payments Be Garnished?

Can Debt Collectors Call From Local Numbers?

Does the Fair Credit Reporting Act Work in Florida?

The Truth: Should You Never Pay a Debt Collection Agency?

Should You Communicate with a Debt Collector in Writing or by Telephone?

Do I Need a Debt Negotiator?

What Happens After a Motion for Default Is Filed?

Can a Process Server Leave a Summons Taped to My Door?

Learn More With These Additional Resources:

Need help managing your finances? Check out these resources.

How to Make a Debt Validation Letter - The Ultimate Guide

How to Make a Motion to Compel Arbitration Without an Attorney

How to Stop Wage Garnishment — Everything You Need to Know

How to File an FDCPA Complaint Against Your Debt Collector (Ultimate Guide)

Defending Yourself in Court Against a Debt Collector

Tips on you can to file an FDCPA lawsuit against a debt collection agency

Advice on how to answer a summons for debt collection.

Effective strategies for how to get back on track after a debt lawsuit

New Hampshire Statute of Limitations on Debt

Sample Cease and Desist Letter Against Debt Collectors

The Ultimate Guide to Responding to a Debt Collection Lawsuit in Utah

West Virginia Statute of Limitations on Debt

What debt collectors cannot do — FDCPA explained

Defending Yourself in Court Against Debt Collector

How to Liquidate Debt

Arkansas Statute of Limitations on Debt

You're Drowning in Debt — Here's How to Swim

Help! I'm Being Sued by My Debt Collector

How to Make a Motion to Vacate Judgment

How to Answer Summons for Debt Collection in Vermont

North Dakota Statute of Limitations on Debt

ClearPoint Debt Management Review

Indiana Statute of Limitations on Debt

Oregon Eviction Laws - What They Say

CuraDebt Debt Settlement Review

How to Write a Re-Aging Debt Letter

How to Appear in Court by Phone

How to Use the Doctrine of Unclean Hands

Debt Consolidation in Eugene, Oregon

Summoned to Court for Medical Bills? What to Do Next

How to Make a Debt Settlement Agreement

Received a 3-Day Eviction Notice? Here's What to Do

How to Answer a Lawsuit for Debt Collection

Tips for Leaving the Country With Unpaid Credit Card Debt

Kansas Statute of Limitations on Debt Collection

How to File in Small Claims Court in Iowa

How to File a Civil Answer in Kings County Supreme Court

Roseland Associates Debt Consolidation Review

How to Stop a Garnishment

Debt Eraser Review