The SOL clock and the credit report clock are distinctly different from each other. Find out how in this article.
What is an SOL clock?
Would you believe me if I said that debt has an expiry date? Yes, it’s true. I ain’t joking. Debts are subject to the statute of limitations (SOL), which specifies how long a debt collector can sue you to collect any unpaid balance. Usually, it starts from the day of your first default on the debt.
The SOL clock ticks at a different pace depending on the following factors:
- The state where you live in
- The type of debt you have
How long does the SOL clock tick in all the states?
|State||Oral contracts||Written contracts||Promissory notes||Open-ended accounts|
Debts fall into 4 categories. You need to know what type of debt you owe. Otherwise, it will be tough for you to determine the statute of limitations period for a particular debt. Keeping your concerns in mind, we have briefly described all 4 categories of debt here.
- Oral contracts: These are debts that were initiated based on a verbal agreement to pay back the money within a specific period.
- Written contracts: All debts that come with a written agreement fall into this category. The terms and conditions of a loan are mentioned in a written contract. A typical example is medical debt.
- Promissory notes: These are written agreements to pay off the debt in installments at a specific interest rate and within a particular debt and time. The typical examples are student loans and mortgages.
- Open-ended accounts: These are accounts with a revolving balance. You can borrow money from these accounts and then pay them off. But you have the option to borrow again. The biggest examples of open-ended accounts are credit cards, store cards, etc.
How can you restart the SOL clock?
The easiest way to restart the SOL clock is to acknowledge the debt. Let’s suppose a debt collector calls you and asks, “Do you admit you owe $5000 to us and you’re not willing to pay it?” and you say “Yes, I can’t pay the amount, but I agree I owe it.” This is considered a reaffirmation of the debt, and the statute of limitations period will restart again.
You can also restart the SOL clock by making a small payment on the debt.
Let’s suppose, you get a call from the debt collector. The person asks you to make a small payment on the time-barred debt. You send $20 to the debt collector and the SOL clock starts ticking all over again.
Can you get sued after the SOL clock has stopped ticking?
A debt collector can try to collect a debt even after the statute of limitations period has expired. Don’t ignore a legal notice even if it’s an old debt. Be present in court and state your side of the story. You can even consult a debt attorney to win the case. He can also file a lawsuit against you for collecting a time-barred debt. You have to inform the court that the SOL period has expired on the debt. This is your best defense against the lawsuit.
Several consumers don’t appear in court, which is a bad financial move. It helps the debt collector to win the case and get a judgment against the consumer.
What is a credit report clock?
The credit report clock starts ticking after you open a credit card account or borrow a loan.
If you use credit cards responsibly and make monthly payments on time, then the clock ticks for an indefinite time period. But when you default on your credit cards or loans, the credit report clock ticks for 7 years and 180 days from the date of your first default. For instance, if you made a late payment in May 2015, then it would come off of your credit report in May 2022.
In the case of Chapter 7 bankruptcy, the credit report clock ticks for 10 years. However, if you file for Chapter 13 bankruptcy, then the clock ticks for 7 years since you’re making an effort to pay off your debts within 3 to 5 years.
Find out how long the credit report clock ticks for other tradelines. Have a look at this table and see how long the information stays on your credit report.
|How long does a credit report clock tick for different tradelines|
|1. Active account paid as agreed||As long as the lender is reporting it|
|2. Closed accounts paid as agreed||Up to 10 years|
|3. Late payments||Up to 7 years and 180 days|
|4. Debt collection accounts||Up to 7 years and 180 days|
|5. Chapter 7 bankruptcy||Up to 10 years|
|6. Chapter 13 bankruptcy||Up to 7 years and 180 days|
|7. Paid judgments||Up to 7 years and 180 days|
|8. Unpaid judgments||For 7 years but can be extended indefinitely|
|9. Foreclosure||Up to 7 years and 180 days|
|10. Short sale||Up to 7 years and 180 days|
|11. Repossession||Up to 7 years and 180 days|
|12. Hard inquiries||Up to 2 years|
|13. Paid tax lien||Up to 7 years from the date government filed it|
|14. Unpaid tax lien||Up to 10 years from the filing date|
How is the SOL clock different from the credit report clock?
The credit report clock tracks how long information can stay on your credit report. The SOL clock determines how long creditors can sue you for your debts and garnish your wages. So both have different implications. The statute of limitations period has nothing to do with how long unpaid debts can stay on your credit report.
A time-barred debt can still appear in your credit report. For instance, the SOL period in Texas is 4 years for all kinds of debts. If 4 years have passed since the day of your first default, then the debt has become time-barred. A debt collector can’t garnish your wage now. However, the debt will stay on your credit report. It won’t be removed from your credit report before 7 years and 180 days.
The big question is how can you remove debt from your credit report after the statute of limitations clock has stopped ticking? The honest answer is you can’t. You have to wait for 7 years and 180 days. However, you can request your creditors to remove debts from your credit report on the basis of the good relationship you have with them. But this is an exceptional case.
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