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Are Debts Ever 'Out Of Date'?

You may have heard of cases where people have managed to escape from their debt liabilities because their debts are ‘out of date’. It is true, in many cases, that you cannot be pursued for money that you owe forever. The Limitation Act of 1980, for example, sets out rules and regulations that certain types of creditors must abide to when it comes to getting their money back. In some cases, if your debt is old enough, you may be able to get out of paying it.

The Limitation Act’s conditions actually deal with the length of time that is given to a creditor to take action against somebody that owes them money if they stop paying/repaying as they should. This will usually give them a set period of years in which they can act. If they do not act within their given timescale then they no longer have the automatic right to act and any action that they try to take may be time or statute barred.

So, for example, if you have unsecured debts like credit and store cards and unsecured loans then the timescale is usually set at 6 years. This means that you will need to prove that the creditor hasn’t ever taken out any other judgement against you. You will also need to be certain that you have not made any payments towards repaying your debt in these six years nor formally written to your creditor admitting liability for the debt in this period. If you have done so then the six year time period will count as starting from the last payment/communication you made and not from the date that your credit agreement was set up.

If this does apply to you then you can simply tell the creditor that they cannot take legal action against you for the money you owe them as they are time/statute barred according to the Limitation Act of 1980. If they continue to do so then you may want to report the creditor or its debt collection officer to your local Trading Standards office. They will be able to help you deal with the situation if they are not acting according to the letter of the law.

It is important to remember that you cannot use this for all debts and judgements relating to previous debts. If, for example, you have an old CCJ against your name that would seem to meet the conditions of this six year period then it will not automatically be covered. County Court Judgements are viewed as being valid beyond this point. Your creditor, however, may have to go back to the court to enforce a CCJ in this instance.

If you do believe that you are being chased for a statute barred debt then don’t just ignore the situation. You may well find that your creditor/debt collector keeps trying to make you pay. It may, therefore, be necessary to talk to an independent debt advisory service to find out how you can use the Limitation Act to get rid of your creditor legally once and for all.
| Creditors Agreement to DPM | Prioritise Debts | Council tax payments | Student loans repayment | Add arrears to your mortgage | Debt Relief Order | Composition order |
| Debt Management Case Study | Walking Away From Debt | Are debts ever out of date | Facing a lifetime of debt | Paying for Debt Management Advice | Non-profit Debt Advice |