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What is the statute of limitations for a unsecured debt in PA

Lancaster, PA |

I took a personal loan in 2006 for $3000. Its now $5600 and owned by a debt collector (they bought it in 9/1/2008) The summons i got is at a Magisterial District Court, and it says case was reinstated 12/12/2012 but first filed 4/26/2011. I was constantly harrassed by this creditor for years up until the last 2 years i never heard from them. I also never paid on it since 2006 and never said i would pay. I remember signing a bunch of paperwork of course but not sure if it was a promissory note or not. So im not sure if im liable to pay this or not due to the limitations.

The Summons also says the account has been in default since 6/29/2007

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Attorney answers 3

Best Answer
Posted

A creditor has 4 years from the date of your last payment in which to sue. It does not matter when they bought the debt but when the last payment was made. Since suit was first filed in 2011, the lawsuit may be timely. I am not sure why it was "reinstated." What happened? Was the complaint ever served? If not, why not? Was the action discontinued and then re-filed? If so, when?

These are all questions that a lawyer has to answer. If you have a valid defense then this has to be asserted in a timely filed answer. If the complaint is in magistrate's court, then you have to tell the magistrate that you intend to present a defense.

You don't indicate when the hearing is scheduled for but I suggest you get up with an attorney NOW.

He is not in your area, but Attorney Greg Artim here at Avvo does statewide credit card defense. If I had an issue he is someone I would recommend. If time is really short, he may be able to recommend someone in the eastern part of the state.

Asker

Posted

Thanks. Im not sure why it was reinstated, it was never served for almost 2 years after they first filed until last week. My last payment was in 2006 so it has been over 4 years from first filing date, so im pretty sure this is a push to get a default judgement on me. I will be consulting my Attorney next week and plan on a defense but just trying to get a understanding on everything.

Rachel Lea Hunter

Rachel Lea Hunter

Posted

There is a rule in PA if a creditor files a lawsuit timely but a complaint is not served until after the statute of limitations expires, it may be ok as long as the creditor does nothing to delay/impede service. But 2 years? This sounds fishy. Definitely get up with a local credit card/consumer defense lawyer. I live in NC and while I am licensed in PA and have clients there, I just don't do litigation because of the logisitics.

Asker

Posted

Thanks!

Posted

Regardless of the statutory limit, just don't ignore the summons because this would lead to a default judgment and possibly a garnishment after that. Please see a knowledgeable attorney in your jurisdiction. The only way you can challenge is by filing an answer and then stating your legal stand.

Only see a licensed attorney before you make any decision. This answer may not be perfect in any given situation. However, more fact may be required by your local attorney. If you are in Las Vegas, you are welcome to send your questions regarding Chapter 7, or 13 to Attorney Malik Ahmad at Malik@lasvegaslawgroup.com or www.fastbankruptcynevada.com or by calling (702) 270-9100. In many cases, we do not charge initial consultation fee.

Asker

Posted

Yes i plan on not ignoring it. I dont want a default judgement when i could be able to fight it. Thanks

Posted

As others have mentioned, the statute of limitations in PA on a written contract is generally 4 years from last payment or default. Depending on who the original creditor is and the underlying contract, sometimes it can be just 3 years. A debt defense or consumer lawyer can look at your paperwork and determine if you have a statute of limitations defense. You should also check your credit report to see if the account is listed there and if it has a last payment date listed. You may have other defenses as well. Feel free to call my office for a free phone consultation, as I do some work in the Lancaster region. If it turns out that the lawsuit was filed past the statute of limitations, you may have a claim under the Fair Debt Collections Practices Act.

Legal disclaimer: The response given is not intended to create, nor does it create an ongoing duty to respond to questions. The response does not form an attorney-client relationship, nor is it intended to be anything other than the educated opinion of the author. It should not be relied upon as legal advice. The response given is based upon the limited facts provided by the person asking the question. To the extent additional or different facts exist, the response might possibly change. Attorney is licensed to practice law only in the Commonwealth of Pennsylvania and New Jersey.

Asker

Posted

Thanks! Ill be sure to gather all the information mentioned for a good defense.

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