What is the Statute of Limitations on Debt in Pennsylvania?

Having debt of any kind looming over your head is one of the most unpleasant experiences possible. This can be compounded if the debt is such that it cannot easily be paid off. Working towards paying off one debt may lead to another, which can feel like a never-ending cycle from which there is no escape. It may feel like you will be dealing with debt forever and are simply waiting for someone to try to collect. However, the reality is that creditors have a limited time to collect debt.

In Pennsylvania, the statute of limitations for a debt collection is four years from the first missed payment. After that time is up, a debt cannot begin to be enforced, no matter how large. However, unscrupulous debt collection companies may still try and collect the debt anyway. In those instances, you need to fight for your rights in court and make sure that these debt collectors leave you alone once and for all.

For help with your debt-related needs, call our Pennsylvania debt attorneys from Young, Marr, Mallis & Associates at the number (215) 701-6519 for a free overview of your situation.

What is the Statute of Limitations in Pennsylvania, and How Long Does it Last for Debt?

Each state has a set of laws called statutes of limitations that put a time limit on how long claimants have to file a lawsuit. After the “statutory period,” the time period denoted in the statute, is up, the statute of limitations is said to have “run,” and the aggrieved party can no longer file a lawsuit or collect any damages.

There are different statutory periods for different things. Personal injury claims, criminal claims, and more will all have their own statutory period. For debt collection, the statutory period in Pennsylvania is four years from when the debt is accrued under 13 Pa.C.S. § 2725. Technically, this is the statute of limitations for breaches of contract. However, most debt can be seen as a breach of contract. Debt usually refers to a failure to make a payment that has been structured in an agreement, like a mortgage or oral promise. Both of those things would be considered contracts.

It is important to remember that the statutory period starts when the breach is made. Thus, the statutory period is extended each time you make a payment on the underlying agreement for the debt.

Does the Statute of Limitations for Debt Prevent All Debt Collection

Having a time limit on how long a creditor can bring a cause of action for debt may sound appealing. One conclusion at this point may be that it is beneficial to simply wait out debt for the statutory timer to run out, leaving the creditor high and dry without any payment. However, that would be a bad idea for the following reason. While the statute of limitations does prevent lawsuits to collect debt after a certain time period, it does not prevent other attempts at trying to collect debt.

This means that it only prevents creditors from trying to collect debt in court. They can still resort to other means of trying to collect debt. Often, the means that creditors will try to employ at this point may toe the line of legality, so you should speak with our Philadelphia debt attorneys if you feel that your rights are being violated by debtors after the statutory period is up.

Things Debtors May Try and Do After the Statute of Limitations Has Run in Pennsylvania

Since debtors are not entirely barred from trying to collect debt after the statutory period has run, you may still experience trouble from them at that point if you still have debt. However, that does not mean you have to put up with it. Debt collectors sometimes use nefarious tactics to try and obtain payments, and some of those tactics may involve trying to trick you into thinking you are in trouble. Fortunately, our lawyers have compiled and explained some of the tactics debt collectors may use so that you are prepared to recognize them.

Threatening to Sue When They Cannot

Even though the statute of limitations for debt is four years, many debt collectors will bet on the fact that the majority of the population is unaware of this fact. Accordingly, debt collectors may try to intimidate you by threatening to sue, even if they no longer can. Do not fall for this trick.

Threatening Criminal Prosecution

Being in debt is not a crime. However, debtors will certainly treat it like it is. Again, they will be relying on the fact that people may not know that debt is not a crime. They may try to threaten debtors with criminal prosecution if they do not pay their debts. In extreme cases, they may even send a fake summons or similar official-looking legal document. This threat, of course, is empty and could be illegal depending on the debt collector’s specific conduct.

Excessive Contact Attempts

Sometimes, debt collectors will just try and wear you down. They may call, email, or otherwise contact you incessantly. If this conduct reaches an extreme degree, it may be illegal. For example, creditors cannot contact you during traditional work hours or late at night or show up at your house at strange hours. Note that although creditors can show up at your house, they must do it at reasonable times. So if they show up at 3:00 AM to collect, that would not be permitted.

Call Our Pennsylvania Debt Lawyers Now

Young, Marr, Mallis & Associates has Allentown, PA debt attorneys ready to take your calls at the number (215) 701-6519 to discuss your case.

Related Articles

How Bankruptcy Can Protect You

Filing for bankruptcy is often thought of as a sign of failure. At best, it is seen as a last resort when faced with too many bills, collection letters, or […]

Read More »

Means Testing in Chapter 7 or Chapter 13 Bankruptcy

Bankruptcy has many layers. Before filing, a potential debtor will have to gather their bills, bank statements, tax returns, and proof of all household income for the previous six months. […]

Read More »

How to Successfully Dispute Credit Reporting Errors

As per the FACTA amendments to the Fair Credit Reporting Act (FCRA), American consumers are entitled to one free credit report per a year from each of the three major […]

Read More »

Have an Attorney Review Your Case for Free

Get a Free Case Evaluation

Contact Our Attorneys To Learn How We Can Help Your Case


12 Convenient Locations Across Pennsylvania and New Jersey

Philadelphia, PA

7909 Bustletown Ave, 1st Floor Philadelphia, PA 19152 (215) 607-7478 Get Directions

Quakertown, PA

328 Broad St. Quakertown, PA 18951 (215) 515-6876 Get Directions

Allentown, PA

137 N 5th St. Suite A Allentown, PA 18102 (215) 240-4082 Get Directions

Jenkintown, PA

135 Old York Road Jenkintown, PA 19046 (215) 544-3347 Get Directions

Easton, PA

101 Larry Holmes Dr. #212 Easton, PA 18042 (215) 515-7077 Get Directions

Bala Cynwyd, PA

2 Bala Plaza, Suite 300 Bala Cynwyd, PA 19004 (610) 557-3209 Get Directions

Bensalem, PA

3554 Hulmeville Rd, #102 Bensalem, PA 19020 (215) 515-6389 Get Directions

Plymouth Meeting, PA

600 W. Germantown Pike #400 Plymouth Meeting, PA 19462 (215) 515-6876 Get Directions

Harrisburg, PA

2225 Sycamore St Harrisburg, PA 17111 (717) 864-8887 Get Directions

Cinnaminson, NJ

909 Route 130 South #202 Cinnaminson, NJ 08077 (609) 796-4344 Get Directions

Hamilton Twp., NJ

100 Horizon Center Blvd., 1st and 2nd Floors Hamilton Township, NJ 08691 (609) 236-8649 Get Directions

Marlton, NJ

10000 Lincoln Drive E One Greentree Centre, Suite 201 Marlton, NJ 08053 (856) 213-2805 Get Directions

Piscataway, NJ

200 Centennial Ave. Suite 200 Piscataway, NJ 08854 (908) 367-7256 Get Directions