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South Carolina Statute of Limitations on Debt

Chloe Meltzer | March 11, 2024

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.

Summary: Is a debt collector trying to sue you for an old debt in South Carolina? Fight back using the statute of limitations for South Carolina. You can win your case in court by letting the creditor or debt collector know they're too late.

When it comes to debt, there are various methods that debt collectors and creditors take to have you pay back a debt. Although it takes many steps to get to this point, some of the last steps taken by debt collectors involve garnishing wages and placing liens on your property. In the state of South Carolina, debt relief and debt collection protections are prominent.

The state of South Carolina has several laws that protect even beyond federal protections and prohibit the use of wage garnishment in connection to consumer debts. This can protect huge amounts of your property and estate from debt collectors should you fall into financial trouble.

It is also good to note that South Carolina has loose restrictions on payday loans. With legal rates as high as 400% or more, you can get yourself into a sticky situation. Regardless, this is why you need to be informed of all of your options when it comes to debt. One of your options includes examining the statute of limitations on debt.

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Understanding Debt Collection Lawsuits in South Carolina

If you fall behind on any debt payments, a creditor will most likely attempt to collect on this debt. This may occur by contacting you via phone or mail. If they attempt to contact you enough time and cannot, eventually they might turn to sell your debt to a third-party debt collector.

At this point, the debt collector will most likely attempt to sue you to collect the debt. You should never admit that the debt is yours, but you will need to respond. This should be done within 30 days after receiving notification of the debt. You should also request verification of the debt, and proof of their right to sue you.

The debt collector then has 30 days to mail you a verification. This will include the amount of the debt, the name, and address of the original creditor, as well as the chain of custody. From this information, you should be able to understand if you owe this debt or if it is past the statute of limitations.

The FDCPA Protects Consumers from Aggressive Tactics

Third-party debt collectors are prohibited under federal law from harassment. This is because as a consumer you have certain protections under the Fair Debt Collection Practices Act (FDCPA). This law restricts where and when third-party debt collectors can contact you, and in which manner they may do so.

Debt collectors may contact you at home, as well as at your place of work, but only if you are allowed to receive calls there. They may also contact your neighbors, friends, and family members, but only once, and they are not allowed to tell them any information that would reveal the call is about debt. If you request them to stop contacting you, they must respect this.

This law says that debt collectors may not call you before 8 am or 9 pm. Additionally, if your debt has passed the statute of limitations, then they legally cannot pursue you for the debt any longer.

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Protected Assets in South Carolina

Although other states have laws in which debt collectors may garnish wages, this is not the case in South Carolina. In South Carolina, your wages may not be garnished and sent to a debt collector. This is great for South Carolina residents because it takes the added stress of wage garnishment off of the table.

However, in South Carolina, debt collectors may go after your home and other assets after obtaining a default judgment. There is a list of protected assets in South Carolina that you should be aware of including:

  • Up to $50,000 in equity in a home where you live
  • Up to $50,000 in equity in any burial plot you own
  • Up to $5,000 in equity in your vehicle
  • Up to $1,000 in personal or family jewelry
  • Up to $4,000 in personal belongings (can include livestock)
  • Up to $1,500 in professional items
  • Up to $3,000 in firearms
  • Any settlement payments

What is the Statute of Limitations?

The statute of limitations is a period of time in which a creditor or debt collector is legally allowed to sue you. If they do not sue you within this time period, the debt will be considered “time-barred.” Although most debt collectors will attempt to sue you in hopes that you do not know this law, it is illegal. Most judges will not look into the debt to see if the statute of limitations has expired. This means if you are not aware that the statute is expired, you may end up paying more than you should have or suffer from a default judgment.

Oftentimes, when a debt is nearing time-barred status, debt collectors will call and attempt to force you to make a small payment. This is because if you make any sort of payment on the debt, it will restart the statute of limitations clock. This will allow them to take you to court and start the process over again.

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South Carolina Statute of Limitations on Debt

South Carolina Statute of Limitations
on Debt

Debt Type

Deadline in Years



Credit Card


Auto Loan


State Tax


Mortgage Debt


Source: Findlaw

Each state has different laws when it comes to the statute of limitations on debt. In South Carolina mortgage debt has a statute of limitations of 20 years. This is quite long compared to consumer debt such as credit card debt, which has a statute of limitations of 3 years. Medical debt also holds a statute of limitations of 3 years, while auto loan debt is 6, and state tax debt is 10.

If you are fighting a debt lawsuit, then you need to explore all options to either pay off or avoid collections on your debt. Investigating the statute of limitations is a great option. Always remember if you pay on a time-barred debt, it will come alive again, and you can then be sued for the debt in court.

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.

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"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

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