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Statute of Limitations on Debt in Oregon (Complete Guide 2023)

George Simons | December 12, 2023

Edited by Hannah Locklear

Summary: Creditors and debt collectors have a limited time period (from the last payment on an account) to sue someone for a debt they owe. This is known as the statute of limitations. In Oregon, the statute of limitations on most debt is six years. You can use SoloSuit to assert the statute of limitations as an affirmative defense in your debt collection lawsuit and win in court.

The vast majority of debt, whether it is in the form of credit card debt, medical debt, or student loan debt, has a statutory limit for the number of years a creditor has to file a lawsuit against you to try and collect on that debt.

The statute of limitations or specific types of debts will be determined by the state in which you reside. For example, the statute of limitations for certain types of debt is three years in some states, while in other states, it can reach up to 10 years. That being said, the statute of limitations on debt is generally six years throughout the US.

If you live in Oregon, you're probably reading this and wondering what the statute of limitations is in the beaver state. This article focuses on Oregon's statute of limitations on debt and everything you should know about it.

Let's get it started.

What does Oregon law say about the statute of limitations on debt?

According to ORS §12.080, Action on certain contracts or liabilities, the law states:

  1. An action upon a contract or liability, express or implied, excepting those mentioned in ORS 12.070 (Action on judgment, decree or sealed instrument), 12.110 (Actions for certain injuries to person not arising on contract) and 12.135 (Action for damages from construction, alteration or repair of improvement to real property) and except as otherwise provided in ORS 72.7250 (Statute of limitations in contracts for sale);
  2. An action upon a liability created by statute, other than a penalty or forfeiture, excepting those mentioned in ORS 12.110 (Actions for certain injuries to person not arising on contract);
  3. An action for waste or trespass upon or for interference with or injury to any interest of another in real property, excepting those mentioned in ORS 12.050 (Action to recover real property), 12.060 (Suit or action on land contracts), 12.135 (Action for damages from construction, alteration or repair of improvement to real property), 12.137 (Action for loss of or damage to property arising from nuclear incident) and 273.241 (Action to recover damages for unlawful removal of material); or
  4. An action for taking, detaining or injuring personal property, including an action for the specific recovery thereof, excepting an action mentioned in ORS 12.137 (Action for loss of or damage to property arising from nuclear incident);

shall be commenced within six years.”

Below, we explain what this means in plain English.

Oregon has a six-year statute of limitations for debt

In Oregon, the statute of limitations for debt is six years. This means a creditor has up to six years to file a lawsuit to collect on the debt. The six-year statute of limitations applies to medical debt, credit card debt, and auto loan debt.

However, the statute of limitations on mortgage debt is slightly different at ten years in Oregon. The table below further outlines Oregon's statute of limitations on different types of debt:

Statute of Limitations on Debt in Oregon

Debt Type Deadline
Credit Card 6 years
Medical 6 years
Student Loan 6 yaers
Auto Loan 6 years
Personal Loan 6 years
Mortgage 10 years
Judgment 10 years
ORS § 12.080, 12.050, and 12.070

A question we often receive from consumers is, how long can collection agency come after you?

In general, if you have a contractual debt in Oregon that you have not repaid, the creditor has six years to pursue you with legal action before the Oregon statute of limitations expires. This applies to medical, credit card, mortgage, and auto loan debt.There is no statute of limitations on a state tax debt.

Oregon's statute of limitations on judgments is ten years, meaning that if the creditor goes to court before your contractual statute of limitations has expired, they can receive a judgment that allows them to pursue you on the debt for up to ten years and not the original six years. Many people mistakenly assume a creditor will file suit as soon as you go into default. However, some creditors take years before filing a suit. If a creditor or debt collection agency files suit and wins, they are allotted an additional ten years to collect on the debt.

Remember that the Oregon statute of limitations on debt doesn't necessarily start when you were initially billed. Instead, the statute of limitations begins to run based on the last payment made on the debt. As a result, if you make a payment towards the debt, even if it is only a nominal payment, it will restart the clock on the statute of limitations.

If more than six years have passed and the debt remains outstanding, a creditor cannot file a lawsuit against you. However, the Oregon statute of limitations on debt does not do anything to protect your credit report. The unpaid debt may still appear on your credit report for several years after the statute of limitations has lapsed.

Let's take a look at an example.

Example: Drake, a resident of Oregon, had a credit card debt of $1,000. After losing his job, Drake was unable to make payments on the account. About seven years after making his last payment, Drake was notified that the debt had been sold to a collection agency that was now suing him in court. At this point, Drake had almost completely forgotten about the debt, and his first reaction was to call the agency and pay it off. However, after finding SoloSuit online, Drake learned that the statute of limitations on credit card debt in Oregon is six years. He used SoloSuit's Answer form to respond to the lawsuit within Oregon's 30-day deadline and raised the statute of limitations being past as an affirmative defense. When the collection agency realized their mistake, they dismissed the case altogether. Even though they can still attempt to collect on the debt, they cannot sue Drake for it.


Use the statute of limitations as an affirmative defense with SoloSuit's help.

Contractual provision could impact the statute of limitations

If there is a provision in a contractual agreement between you and a creditor that stipulates less time for the creditor to file suit, you can get out of debt collection litigation in less than six years. For example, some nationwide credit card agreements contain a provision that stipulates legal disputes will be governed under Delaware law. In Delaware, the statute of limitations on debt is three years. However, an appeals court in Oregon later decided that if a credit card company sells your debt to a collection company, the six-year statute of limitations in Oregon applies.

Debt collectors may contact you after the statute of limitations expires

Once the statute of limitations lapses, a debt collector can no longer legally sue you for an outstanding debt. However, some debt collection agencies actively ignore the statute of limitations in the hopes that you will not realize the period to recover through legal action has expired. It is fairly common for some debt collectors to inaccurately claim that the debt is still recoverable and active. If you are being harassed by a debt collector, it is important to understand that you have legal rights under both federal and state law.

If a debt collector can get you to make a payment on a debt that is already past the statute of limitations, then the clock will restart, allowing them to take you to court for it. This is why you should always investigate the statute of limitations on a debt before you make any payments to a collector.

Use SoloSuit to respond to debt collectors fast.

Legal protection under the FDCPA

The Fair Debt Collection Practices Act (FDCPA) governs what actions can and cannot be taken by debt collectors when contacting consumers. The FDCPA is a federal law that includes the following protections for you and other consumers throughout the US:

  • Debt collectors are prohibited from disclosing your debt to third parties, except your attorney (if you opt to retain counsel), your spouse, and your creditor.
  • Debt collectors cannot send mail containing explicit information or visible images that would reveal that the letter is related to the collection of outstanding debt.
  • Debt collectors are prohibited from contacting you at inconvenient hours, specifically before 8 a.m. and after 9 p.m.
  • Debt collectors are prohibited from contacting you at work.
  • Debt collectors are prohibited from harassing you. For example, they cannot call you repeatedly in succession, use inappropriate language, or make threats.
  • Debt collectors should not sue you for a debt that has passed the statute of limitations.
  • Debt collectors should not enter inaccurate debt information on your credit report.
  • Debt collectors should not give misleading information to compel you to pay a debt.

Legal protections under the OUDCPA

In addition to the federal protections afforded under the FDCPA, Oregon residents have legal protections under the Oregon Unlawful Debt Collection Practices Act (OUDCPA). This state law requires all debt collectors to be registered within the state and follow Oregon's specific laws. The OUDCPA places limits on when and how often debt collectors can contact you at your place of employment. Here are some other protections afforded under the OUDCPA:

  • Creditors can send physical correspondence to you at work, but only if the creditor does not have access to your home address.
  • Both original creditors and collection agencies are required to follow the provisions codified under the OUDCPA.
  • Creditors are only allowed to contact you at your place of employment once per week.
  • A creditor's agent should identify themselves and their company within the first 30 seconds of talking to you.
  • A creditor should not attempt to collect any extra charges or fees above the original debt balance, unless clearly authorized by the agreement and Oregon's law.

If the creditor you are dealing with violates any of the FDCPA or OUCDPA laws, report them to your attorney general's office, submit a complaint to the Consumer Financial Practices Bureau, or report them to the Fair Trade Commission online platform.

Key takeaways

The statute of limitations to collect on a debt in Oregon is generally six years. Once the statute of limitations lapses, a creditor is generally prohibited from suing you to try and collect on that debt. However, it is important to understand that the six-year statute of limitations is based on the date of the last payment made on the account.

As a result, if a creditor is hounding you to “make a small, initial payment” on an old debt, it is likely an attempt to try and “reset” the clock running on the statute of limitations. If you are sued by a creditor for a debt that is past the statute of limitations, it is crucial that you raise it as an affirmative defense with SoloSuit's help to get the collection lawsuit thrown out.

Make the right affirmative defense the right way with SoloSuit.

SoloSuit can help you beat debt collectors

Solosuit's services can help you respond to debt collectors before they take you to court and during a lawsuit. Our Debt Validation Letter requests the creditor to validate that the debt is yours and that the amount is accurate. The Answer document allows you to respond to a debt lawsuit and avoid losing by default judgment.

If you want to settle out of court, our Motion to Compel Arbitration and SoloSettle will help you request the creditors for an out-of-court deal and save you time and resources you would lose from the lengthy court process.

The document calculator below can help you determine which SoloSuit resource is most applicable to your case and circumstance.

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To learn more about how to respond to a debt collection lawsuit, check out this video:

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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.

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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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