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The statute of limitations on credit card debt in Texas

Texas law states that any credit card debt that has been delinquent for more than four years may no longer be enforced by a civil suit. This statute of limitations was created by the legislature to protect consumers from onerous lawsuits that they could not properly defend themselves against because too much time had passed for them to still have access to the relevant exculpatory evidence.

Any debt that has languished in delinquent status for longer than the statute of limitations is referred to as "time-barred." Although this status does not prevent the credit card company from instituting other collection actions, the legal right to compel payment is lost after four years. The time limit is most often measured from the date of the last payment on the account. This means that any payment on a credit card debt has the effect of resetting the expiration date on the liability. Experts point to this as a reason to make a policy of disputing attempts to collect on old debts or debts that the putative debtor does not recognize. Even a small payment on an old or unfamiliar debt will make it more collectible.

It is strongly advisable that anyone who has a civil suit brought against them for the non-payment of a credit card debt should appear in court to address the charges. If the defendant or their representative can demonstrate at that time that the debt is time-barred, then the case will likely be dismissed.

Those consumers who are interested in debt relief might want to consult with a lawyer to explore different options. Bankruptcy, debt management, negotiation and disputing the debt may all be viable options for dealing with such an obligation.

Source: Creditcards.com, "State statutes of limitation for credit card debt", Connie Prater and Fred O. Williams, November 18, 2014

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