You might be wondering exactly what “statute of limitations” means. A statute of limitations is the time period a creditor can still come after you for debts. Creditors only have a certain duration of time they can attempt to collect a debt. If the creditor fails to successfully collect the debt or file a lawsuit “beating” the statute of limitations then the debt is no longer collectable.
In North Carolina, Section 1-52.1 of the North Carolina Rules of Civil Procedure explains the statute of limitations for debts is 3 years for auto and installment loans, promissory notes, and credit cards. This means if a creditor is going to sue you, they must do so within three years from the date of your last charge or activity on the card. After the three years has passed, if they have not sued you for the debt they can no longer do so, but they may still call and request a payment from you – you are not required to pay it if they the statute of limitations has expired.
The statute of limitations for debts timeframe is different for each State. For example, most debts are three years in North Carolina, but six years in Hawaii. Depending on which state you live in the timeframe of the statute of limitations will vary.
Beware though, although you may believe the statute of limitations has run on a creditors ability to collect a debt, if there was activity on the card or if the creditor has filed a lawsuit that statute of limitations may not have expired yet. Be careful assuming the statute of limitations has run on a debt – be sure to fully research your debts and when they were last used.