North Carolina Statute of Limitations on Debt

Chloe Meltzer

May 07, 2021

You can win against big debt collection agencies with the right defense.

Summary: Are you being sued for a debt that is beyond the North Carolina Statute of Limitations? All you need to do is file the right response to make debt collectors go away. Learn how to answer a debt collection lawsuit with the statute of limitations defense and win in court.

If you are in debt, it can be a terrible situation. This might be debt that is catching up to you from credit card bills or a loan you are not able to pay off. Other than student loans, all debt has a statute of limitations.

How long the statute of limitations has until it expires varies from state to state. The statute of limitations sets the time limit for how long you can be sued for a debt. Once the statute of limitations has passed, the debt is considered “time-barred.”

North Carolina Statute of Limitations on Debt Collections

North Carolina Statute of Limitations
on Debt

Debt Type

Deadline in Years

All Consumer Debt




Source: Findlaw

If you are living in North Carolina, consumer debt has a statute of limitations of three years. This is one of the shortest lengths of the statute of limitations in the country, with most ranging from four to six years. It is essential to know that the statute of limitations starts from the date of the last activity on your account. This might be the last time you charged something with your credit card, but it can also mean the last time you made a payment on your account.

If you are being served with a debt lawsuit, there there are a few things that you should know regarding debt and the statute of limitations. This is essential to avoid being taken advantage of by a debt collector.

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Making a Debt Payment Resets the Statute of Limitations

If you are living in North Carolina and you are being sued for credit card debt, you will need to check the last time you made a payment. If the last time you paid a delinquent credit card bill was two years and 11 months ago, you may suddenly get calls from the creditor or a debt collector.

It is essential to notice this, because the creditor may try and convince you to make a small payment. This can be as low as five or ten dollars, as a way to manipulate you into starting the statute of limitations over again. They may convince you that doing this will help you to work on the debt. By making this incredibly low payment you will reset the clock on the statute of limitations and you may then be served with a debt lawsuit.

If you would have waited one more month, you would have been able to refuse the debt lawsuit, because it would be illegal to sue you for the debt. This is why it is important to know the last date of the activity to protect your interests.

Creditors Can Still Collect on a Time-Barred Debt

Even after the statute of limitation expires, the original creditor can continue to go after you for payment. This is because although you cannot be brought to court, you still owe the debt. The debt is not going to magically disappear. This also means that they can call or send letters, but can no longer threaten to sue you.

Time-barred debt also means that they cannot make statements that may indicate they have legal recourse for the debt. Even though they can continue to call you and ask for you to pay it, the only thing that is going to hurt you is when they report it to the credit bureaus. It is almost guaranteed they will continue to do this for seven years. After seven years though, it falls off your credit as well.

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Debt Buyers Can't Collect on an Expired Debt

Although an original creditor can collect a debt that you owe after the statute of limitations has expired, a debt buyer cannot. The original creditor might be a credit card company or someone who has issued you a loan. Once the debt is in the hands of a debt buyer it means that it was sold to them by the original creditor.

In North Carolina, debt buyers may not collect on debts where the statute of limitations has expired. This means that firms who specialize in collecting debts and who purchase debt from creditors may not pursue you after three years.

It is important to note that debt buyers and debt collectors are two different roles. Debt collectors are typically hired on behalf of the original creditor. In this case, if they are acting on behalf of the original creditor, they are not barred from collecting. In this case, they must have purchased the debt directly from the original creditor.

Debt buyers on the other hand are in a different situation. Debt buyers have typically purchased your debt at a highly discounted rate, and it has typically passed multiple hands. Because of this, they are barred from collecting once the statute of limitations has expired.

Lawsuits Can Still Be Filed for Old Debts

Even after the statute of limitations has been lifted, it does not mean that the courts are aware of this. This means that although the statute of limitations may have expired on your debt in North Carolina, a lawsuit can still be filed against you.

Even if you know the statute has expired, you still need to respond to the lawsuit. If you do not respond, then you may be given a default judgment. Although this does not make sense based on the fact that you legally cannot be brought to court, no one is going to investigate this except for you.

This is why it is so important as a consumer, to be educated regarding how old your debt is, and if the statute has expired. This will allow you to defend yourself in a lawsuit against a debt buyer, debt collector, or original creditor should they bring one against you.

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Bankruptcy Can Wipe Out Your Debts

Although it should only be seen as a last resort, bankruptcy can offer you the chance to wipe out all of your existing debts. Whether these are time-barred debts or any other debts, this is not something to take lightly. Once a debt is discharged through bankruptcy, the creditors or debt collectors will be permanently barred from collection activity. Despite this, you will need to outweigh the costs versus reward.

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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.

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