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Arkansas Statute of Limitations on Debt

Chloe Meltzer | March 11, 2024

Chloe Meltzer
Legal Expert
Chloe Meltzer, MA

Chloe Meltzer is an experienced content writer specializing in legal content creation. She holds a degree in English Literature from Arizona State University, complemented by a Master’s in Marketing from California Polytechnic State University-San Luis Obispo.

Edited by Hannah Locklear

Hannah Locklear
Editor at SoloSuit
Hannah Locklear, BA

Hannah Locklear is SoloSuit’s Marketing and Impact Manager. With an educational background in Linguistics, Spanish, and International Development from Brigham Young University, Hannah has also worked as a legal support specialist for several years.

Fact-checked by Patrick Austin, J.D.

Patrick Austin
Attorney from George Mason
Patrick Austin, JD

Patrick Austin is a licensed attorney with a background in data privacy and information security law. Patrick received his law degree at George Mason University's Antonin Scalia Law School, where he served as the Editor-in-Chief for the National Security Law Journal.

Summary: The statute of limitations on debt in Arkansas is five years for most types of debt, but it is two years for medical debt and three years for debt resulting from an oral contract. If you suspect you're being sued in Arkansas for an expired debt, SoloSuit can help you use the statute of limitations as a defense in your case.

If you are being sued for debt in Arkansas, you should be aware of the statute of limitations. The statute of limitations is a specific amount of time in which you can be pursued for a debt. The statute of limitations is different in each state. In Arkansas, the statute of limitations for written contracts is five years. The statute of limitations for an oral contract is three years.

When the statute of limitations has been reached your debt is considered “time-barred”. Although you can no longer be sued for the debt in court, it does not mean that a creditor will not try to pursue you for the debt. It can also continue to destroy your credit.

The table below further outlines the statute of limtiations on different types of debt in Arkansas:

Statute of Limitations on Debt in Arkansas

Debt Type Deadline
Medical 3 years
Oral contracts 3 years
Credit card 5 years
Student loan 5 years
Auto loan 5 years
Personal loan 5 years
Mortgage 5 years
Judgment 10 years
Source: Ark. Code § 16-56-106, § 16-56-111, and § 16-56-114

Respond to debt collection notices fast

If you receive a debt collection notice, regardless of whether or not the statute of limitations has been reached, you must respond. This is essential if you wish to avoid a default judgment on your case. Default judgments lead to wage garnishment, frozen assets, and liens on your property, so you want to avoid it at all costs. When you do respond you also need to know your rights, which involves never admitting responsibility for the debt.

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Do not ignore the Summons

If you do not make an effort to repay your debts, then you will be sued for the debt. Until you prove the statute of limitations is expired, you will be required to respond and show up in court. Even if the statute of limitations is in effect, you eventually may want to look into an installment plan to avoid your credit report being more affected.

Send a cease and desist letter

If you send a cease and desist letter, you can request they stop contacting you. This should end all collection communications. Be sure to make a copy for your records as well.

Request debt validation

All creditors or debt collectors must provide you with debt validation. After contacting you, they legally are required to send a “validation notice” within five days. This should include how much you owe, as well as the name of the creditor, and steps to take if you believe that you do not owe the debt.

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The more you know about debt collection, the better you'll be able to protect yourself

Understand what drives debt collectors

Many debt collectors work on a commission basis. They may be motivated to collect more from you because it will be reflected in a larger check. Although they pursue you originally for the full amount of your debt, they may be authorized to accept a different amount via settlement. Typically, this settlement could be anywhere between 15 and 35 percent lower than your total debt, but it will depend on your specific situation and the debt collector seeking payment.

Know why another company is pursuing your debt

Your debt most likely originated with a bank or lender, but often that is not who is pursuing you. Debt collection companies purchase debts from original creditors for very low prices. This means that the debt may have been passed once, but can also pass hands multiple times. This is why you may be able to settle the debt.

Debt collectors will not inform you of the statute of limitations

Although you have a right to use the statute of limitations to avoid a debt lawsuit, debt collectors generally never voluntarily inform you that it has expired. Your debt might be 15 or 20 years old and sold to a new debt collector. They will attempt to collect on this debt in hopes you do not know about the statute of limitations law.

Never Admit Responsibility for Debts

When speaking to a creditor or debt collector, you shouldn't promise to pay any of the debt. This can incite the statute of limitations in Arkansas. The statute of limitations is your best defense against a debt lawsuit.

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You have rights under the FDCPA

The Fair Debt Collection Practices Act (FDCPA) is a list of laws to protect you as a consumer. This act prohibits debt collectors from calling you at work, calling you at odd hours, calling you after you have asked them to stop, and using harassment or intimidation. If a debt collector violates any of these rights, you may have a claim under the Fair Debt Collection Practices Act.

In this claim, you may also recover damages, attorney's fees, and other costs. There is also a statute of limitations for a claim under the FDCPA, which is only one year from the alleged violation of the Act by a collector.

Learn the Arkansas statute of limitations on debt collection

In Arkansas, written contracts have a statute of limitations of 5 years. If you decide to make payments on the debt, then the statute of limitations period will begin again. Additionally, any written acknowledgment of default of the debt will begin the statute again as well under A.C.A. 16-56-111.

In cases against consumers for unpaid debts, the statute of limitations is three years in Arkansas. To achieve this short statute of limitations period, it must be filed as “breach of contract” claims, and there cannot be proof in writing, under A.C.A. 16- 56-105.

Medical debts have a statute of limitations of 2 years in Arkansas. This starts from the date the service was given or partial payment was made. Before you decide to pay this debt, you must ensure it is legal, due, and payable. The medical debt statute is under A.C.A. §16-56-106.

The Arkansas statute of limitations can help you get your case dismissed

The statute of limitations Is an affirmative defense you can raise if a debt collector decides to escalate their collection efforts and files a debt collection lawsuit. Please bear in mind that the burden is on you to raise the statute of limitations as a defense against the lawsuit.

If a judge cannot force you to pay your debt, the debt collector also cannot pursue wage garnishment or ask the court to freeze your assets. This is good for you but bad for the debt collector. This is why the debt collector will avoid you finding out about the statute of limitations altogether.

Be sure to know your rights to ensure that you can fully utilize the statute of limitations in Arkansas to your advantage.

What is SoloSuit?

SoloSuit makes it easy to fight debt collectors.

You can use SoloSuit to respond to a debt lawsuit, to send letters to collectors, and even to settle a debt.

SoloSuit's Answer service is a step-by-step web-app that asks you all the necessary questions to complete your Answer. Upon completion, we'll have an attorney review your document and we'll file it for you.

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

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