Collection agencies may try to collect a debt after it is deleted from your credit report

Dear Experian,

How long can a collection agency attempt to collect a debt? Is there a time limit or statute?



Dear CLI,

Nationally, there is no statute of limitations regarding how long a collection agency may attempt to collect a debt, and state laws regarding how long a collection agency may attempt to recover a debt vary widely. Contact your state’s Attorney General’s office for information about the laws where you live.

However, the Fair Credit Reporting Act (FCRA) sets a very clear limit on how long a debt can appear on your credit report even after it is sent to a collection agency.

Collection accounts are deleted from your credit report seven years from the original delinquency date of the original account. That means it will be deleted seven years from the date that the original account first became late and was never again made current.

Collection agencies are required by federal law to report the original delinquency date to Experian so that we can ensure the account is deleted at the appropriate time and that it is not reported again in the future.

After the account is deleted, a collection agency might continue to try to get you to pay the debt, but it won’t affect your credit report.

Thanks for asking.

- The “Ask Experian” team

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