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Statute of Limitations on Debt in Georgia

Hannah Locklear | April 11, 2024

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 George Simons, JD/MBA

George Simons
Co-Founder of SoloSuit
George Simons, JD/MBA

George Simons is the co-founder and CEO of SoloSuit. He has helped Americans protect over $1 billion from predatory debt lawsuits. George graduated from BYU Law school in 2020 with a JD/MBA. In his spare time, George likes to cook, because he likes to eat.

Summary: The Georgia statute of limitations on debt is six years for written contracts and four years for oral contracts, open accounts, and credit card debt. If you’ve been sued for an old debt, use SoloSuit to respond to the lawsuit and assert the expired statute of limitations as one of your defenses.

In Georgia, residents have some of the highest levels of auto loan, student loan, and credit card debt compared to the rest of the United States. However, it's important to note that Georgia has specific legal limits on how long this debt can be pursued, known as the statute of limitations.

The statute of limitations is a law that governs the deadline that creditors and debt collectors have to sue someone for debt. In other words, it is the length of time a creditor or debt collector can take you to court for a debt you owe.

After the statute of limitations has lapsed, your creditor no longer has legal grounds to sue you for the debt. However, that doesn’t mean they won’t try. And if your debt has been purchased by a debt buyer (like LVNV Funding or Midland Funding), there is still a good chance you’ll receive notice of a lawsuit against you.

If you’ve been sued for an old that is past the statute of limitations, it’s your responsibility to make this information known to the court. To do so, you must file a written Answer into the case. You can list the expired statute of limitations as an affirmative defense in your Answer.

But what is Georgia’s statute of limitations on debt? Keep reading to learn more.

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What is the statute of limitations on debt in Georgia?

The statute of limitations on Georgia debt is four years for credit card debt and six years for most other debts.

If the statute of limitations has already expired, you should avoid making any type of payment on the debt. If you do, it could restart the clock on the statute of limitations.

Now, let's take a closer look at what Georgia debt collection laws literally say about the statute of limitations.

Georgia debt collection laws outline the statute of limitations on debt

According to GA Code § 9-3-25:

“All actions upon open account, or for the breach of any contract not under the hand of the party sought to be charged, or upon any implied promise or undertaking shall be brought within four years after the right of action accrues.”

This means that creditors and collectors only have four years to sue you for a breach of contract debt and any debt based on an open account. So, the statute of limitations on credit card debt in Georgia is four years.

Likewise, GA Code § 9-3-26 states:

“All other actions upon contracts express or implied not otherwise provided for shall be brought within four years from the accrual of the right of action.”

Simply put, this law means that all debts based on oral contracts have a statute of limitations of four years, so you can only be sued for this type of debt within four years of your last action on the account.

Finally, GA Code § 9-3-24 states:

“All actions upon simple contracts in writing shall be brought within six years after the same become due and payable.”

In other words, creditors and collectors must take you to court for any debt, based on a written contract, within six years of the last action on the account.

The table below further illustrates the statute of limitations in Georgia for debt collection:

Statute of Limitations on Debt in Georgia

Debt Type Deadline
Open accounts 4 years
Oral contracts 4 years
Credit Card 4 years
Medical 6 years
Student Loan 6 years
Auto Loan 6 years
Mortgage 6 years
Personal Loan 6 years
Judgment 7 years
Source: Ga. Code § 9-3-24, § 9-3-25, and § 9-12-60

Respond to a debt lawsuit in Georgia

When you get sued for a debt in Georgia, you have 30 days to respond before you automatically lose when a default judgment is ordered by the court. With a default judgment, creditors and collectors may have the right to garnish your wages and seize your property to get their money back.

It is not uncommon to be sued for a debt you do not actually owe. The amount might be wrong, or the debt could be so old that it has already passed the statute of limitations on debt in Georgia.

The point is, you don’t need a lawyer to represent you in a debt collection lawsuit. You can respond to the Summons and Complaint and increase your chances of winning by 7x with SoloSuit.

To respond to a debt lawsuit, you must file a written Answer into the case. When drafting your Answer, you should focus on the following steps:

  1. Respond to each claim listed against you in the Complaint document.
  2. Assert your affirmative defenses.
  3. File the Answer with the court, and send a copy to the opposing attorney.

Draft and file your Answer in minutes online.

Now, let’s consider an example.

Example: Rachel is being sued by Cavalry SPV for an old credit card debt in Georgia. After doing some investigating, Rachel learns that the statute of limitations on credit card debt is four years in Georgia. Since she hasn’t been active on the credit card account for more than six years, Cavalry SPV cannot sue her. Rachel uses SoloSuit to draft and file her Answer to the lawsuit within the 30-day deadline. In her Answer, Rachel uses the statute of limitations as one of her affirmative defenses. After only a few weeks, the case is dismissed.

Check out this video to learn more about the three steps to responding to a debt lawsuit in Georgia:

How to handle debt in Georgia

If you are suffering from debt it can feel crippling. The worst thing to do is to ignore it, although this is a common choice for people in debt. If you ignore the debt it will become more expensive because of penalties and fees. You might even end up in court.

Debt consolidation loans are a common method of addressing credit card debt or medical debt. This is a type of unsecured loan which means there is no collateral. Although they usually come at a higher interest rate, it can help pay off all of your loans and put them into one easy payment. In some cases, your interest rate may be lower than your other payments, which can save you money in the long run.

If you are struggling with credit card debt, one good option is to apply for a credit card that offers a promotional 0% APR on balance transfers. This generally lasts from 12 to 24 months and will allow you some extra time to pay off your debt. The balance will be paid off and then placed on your new card. There is usually a 3 to 5% fee, but this is typically cheaper than paying interest.

Make the right defense the right way with SoloSuit.

Georgia debt relief programs

Having a lot of debt can be stressful, but there are many programs to help you with your debt. For example, sometimes speaking to a representative from an organization associated with the National Foundation for Credit Counseling (NFCC) can help you out. There are often free advice lines, and tips that can help to guide you to financial freedom.

Learn more about how to find debt relief in Georgia.

In many cases, those who are struggling with debt have other financial problems as well. Various community action agencies across Georgia can help you for those who are considered low income. These projects can often help with utility bills or housing costs. Although it won't help you to eliminate debt directly, it can help to eliminate other monetary responsibilities.

Avoid bankruptcy by using SoloSuit to file a response to creditors.

File for bankruptcy in Georgia

Although it should be a last resort, if you are struggling with debts other than your single debt, you may consider filing for bankruptcy. In this case, it is best to hire an attorney if you can, because they can help to guide you through the process. There are two different types of bankruptcy options, filing a Chapter 7 bankruptcy or Chapter 13 bankruptcy.

  • Chapter 7 bankruptcy: All of your assets are liquidated and your debts are wiped clean.
  • Chapter 13 bankruptcy: Aid to restructure your debt, but keep your property.

There are a few things you should know about bankruptcy. It can stay on your credit report for up to 10 years. Despite this, it doesn't mean it will completely ruin your finances. If you are considering bankruptcy then you should look into a lawyer, or put in an inquiry to a legal aid program. These services offer low-income individuals free or reduced-cost services.

If you can pay your debts without going through the bankruptcy process then this is a better option. If you cannot pay off your debts, then this should be the final straw. Otherwise, consider bankruptcy as a last resort.

If you find yourself dealing with debt in Georgia, be sure to examine the statute of limitations to ensure your debt is not time-barred. If your debt has passed the time within the statute of limitations, then you can present this information to a judge and have your case dismissed.

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

>>Read the NPR story on SoloSuit. (We can help you in all 50 states.)

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