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Statute of Limitations on Debt in Arizona

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.

Summary: The statute of limitations on debt in Arizona is generally six years. This means that you cannot be sued for a debt account that has been inactive for over six years, depending on the type of debt in question. If you are being sued for a debt in Arizona, use SoloSuit to respond and win in court.

With its sweeping deserts, lots of sunshine, and fun things to do in the two major cities of Phoenix and Tucson, Arizona is a great state. Despite this, many Arizona residents also suffer from debt. Luckily there are a few legal loopholes and protections offered to those who find themselves in debt in Arizona. These include debt relief programs and options for paying off your debt but also using the statute of limitations as an affirmative defense.

If you have debt collectors coming after you for a debt you owe, and if the debt is so old you don't remember details about it, you should do some investigating into the statute of limitations on the debt before taking any action. This can save you from paying off a debt that is no longer valid.

In this article, we will break down the statute of limitations on different types of debt in Arizona. We will also discuss your rights as a consumer, how to validate a debt, and how to respond to a debt collection lawsuit in court.

Let's get right to it.

What does statute of limitations mean?

If you are being sued for debt in Arizona, it is essential to understand the statute of limitations. The statute of limitations, which varies by state, is the amount of time a creditor or debt collector can sue for a debt you owe.

After the statute of limitations has expired, the debt becomes time-barred. Although this does not mean that the debt disappears, it does mean that you can no longer be pursued legally for it. Understanding when the statute of limitations expires or if it is close to expiring is essential in deciding your next step.

It is important to note that if you begin paying your debt, the clock on the statute of limitations will restart. This means that if you pay even a small payment for your debt, you may start the clock all over again.

Know the Arizona statute of limitations on debt before responding to your debt lawsuit

Generally speaking, Arizona's statute of limitations on debt is six years. This means that creditors and collectors only have six years from the date of your last payment on an account to sue you for a debt you owe.

So, before you respond to a debt lawsuit in Arizona, you should check on the last time you were active on your account. If it's been more than six years, you can list this information in your case as an affirmative defense. This defense is often enough to get creditors and debt collectors to dismiss a case entirely. SoloSuit makes it easy to include the statute of limitations as a defense in your Answer.

Statute of Limitations on Debt in Arizona

Debt Type Deadline
Credit Card 6 years
Medical 6 years
Student Loan 6 years
Auto Loan 6 years
Mortgage 6 years
Personal Loan 6 years
Judgment 10 years
Ariz. Rev. Stat. § 12-548 and § 12-1551

Now, let's take a look at an example.

Example: Roy had a credit card debt of $500 that got sold to Midland Funding debt collection agency.. He received a call from a debt collector who threatened to sue him if he didn't make a payment within a week. True to their word, a lawsuit was filed, and Roy received the court documents not long after. After doing some research online, Roy found SoloSuit's website, where he learned that the statute of limitations on credit card debt in Arizona is six years. Roy checked the last payments he made on the debt, which was five years, 11 months, and 19 days ago. This information meant that the statute of limitations on his debt would expire in eleven days. Since the time to respond to a lawsuit letter in Arizona was 20–30 days, he waited for the 12th day and responded using SoloSuit's Answer. He used the statute of limitations as his affirmative defense, and Midland dismissed the case.

To learn more about the statute of limitations on debt in Arizona, check out this video:

Legal methods for collecting debt in Arizona

In Arizona, creditors, and collections agencies may go after you using different legal methods to collect a debt. If you've been sued for a debt in Arizona, you will be required to respond to the lawsuit and appear in court. If you do not respond, or if they are given a judgment against you, then the state of Arizona will allow the creditor to collect from you in the following ways.

  1. Wage Garnishment: In Arizona, creditors may garnish 25% of your disposable earnings. This provision includes your income, after taxes, and government benefits. However, retirement funds, long-term disability, and social security income are protected.
  2. Property Lien: If you own a home, a creditor or debt collector may be able to place a lien on your home in an attempt to collect a debt. When a lien is placed on the title of your property, creditors will require you to pay off your debt before selling your home. Although you can sell your home, any proceeds will be used to first pay off your debt. Property liens in Arizona expire after 10 years.
  3. Bank Levy: Debt collectors and creditors may also place a levy on both personal property and wages. This means they can legally take your property or take money directly from your bank account to pay back unpaid debts. The first $300 in your account is protected against seizure by law, but they may take anything else in the account.

Protect your wages by filing a response with SoloSuit.

The FDCPA protects you from aggressive debt collectors

If you are struggling to pay off an original debt, such as a credit card, then your debt might be sold to a debt collector. Debt collectors often look to purchase overdue debt balances for a lower price because the original creditor no longer wants to deal with it. This is how they make their profit. After your debt is sent to collections, you must educate yourself on the different Arizona collection laws that govern how third-party debt collectors can legally contact you.

Under the federal Fair Debt Collection Practices Act (FDCPA), debt collectors cannot:

  • Contact you at odd hours, such as before 8 a.m. or after 9 p.m.
  • Contact you if you have representation by an attorney.
  • Contact anyone other than you, your attorney, or your spouse regarding the debt.
  • Contact your place of work once they know that your employer does not allow it.
  • Harass you in any way.
  • Use threatening or intimidating language to get you to pay off the debt.
  • Sue you for debt after the statute of limitations has expired.
  • Enter debt information on your credit report that goes against the Arizona credit laws.

If the debt collector violates these federal and Arizona collection laws, submit a complaint to the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau, report them to the Fair Trade Commission online page, or visit the Arizona Attorney general's office and report the bad business practices.

How to respond to debt collectors

The FDCPA requires that debt collectors provide a validation of debt within five days of their first attempt to collect on it. More specifically, the collector must provide documentation of these five points:

  1. The amount of the debt.
  2. The name of the creditor.
  3. The collector will assume the debt is valid unless the consumer sends them a Debt Validation Letter within 30 days.
  4. If you send the collector a Debt Validation Letter, they will need to mail you validation of the debt.
  5. If you send them a Debt Validation Letter, they will need to mail you the name and address of the original creditor.

So, the debt collector must provide these five points within five days of contacting you about the debt for the first time. Then, you have 30 days to send them a Debt Validation Letter if you dispute any aspect of the debt. If the collector doesn't provide these five points within five days, then they've violated the FDCPA, and you can sue them for $1,000 or more. If you don't send the letter within 30 days, you can still send it—but it may not be as powerful.

If you do not believe the debt is yours, or you are not sure if it belongs to you, then there should be information in your validation notice for disputing it. You will have around 30 days after receiving the validation notice to send a letter disputing the debt.

The dispute letter is sent to the debt collector and the three main credit bureaus—TransUnion, Equifax, and Experian. The Bureaus will investigate the debt and if your allegations are confirmed, the creditor may withdraw the lawsuit (if they had filed one), and the debt will be removed or corrected on your credit report.

It's pretty common for debt collectors to give up after receiving a Debt Validation Letter. In fact, many debt collectors don't have the proper documentation or paperwork to validate a debt. This is what makes debt validation such a powerful tool for consumers like you.

Watch this video to learn more about sending a Debt Validation Letter:

If the debt belongs to you and the information is accurate, you should look into the statute of limitations. Be sure to note if it has expired or if it expires soon. Don't make any payments on a debt account until you know what the statute of limitations is in your state. Otherwise, you will risk resetting the clock and essentially revalidating the debt.

Don't let debt collectors push you around. File a response with SoloSuit.

Respond to a debt collection lawsuit in Arizona

You have up to 30 days to respond to a debt collection lawsuit in Arizona before you lose by default. Use SoloSuit to draft your Answer document, file it in the court before the deadline, and win your case.

Learn more about responding to a debt collection lawsuit in this video:

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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