As with everything else in life, there are rules and then exceptions to rules. One exception to the time for the running of a statute of limitations is when the debtor leaves the State of Florida. The clock stops ticking. In theory, if the bill was incurred in 2000 and you left Florida in 2001 and just came back, there would be 3 years left to sue fif there was no written contract and 4 years if there was.
I do not believe you nee bee concerned with credit bureau reporting, as account activity more than seven (7) years before can not be reported.
There are cases construing the Fair Debt Collection Practices Act which hold that even asking for payment on a debt that is time-barred is a violation of Federal law. So, if you lived in Florida since 11/2000, the statute would bar the bringing of a law suit and the collection agency would be liable for their asking for money.
I hope you found this response to be of assistance. This response shall not be considered the rendering of legal advise but instead a general response to a general question. While Avvo is a wonderful resource, nothing can be a substitute for an in-depth consultation with an attorney in the jurisdiction in which the law is to be applied. This response shall not be deemed to create an attorney-client relationship, nor shall it create an obligation on the part of the attorney to respond to further inquiry from the questioner.
The statute of limitations on a written contract is 5 years. On an oral contract it is 4 years. They can attempt to collect anything even a stale bill. They likely cannot sue you on it, but it can go on your credit report.
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In addition to absence from the state tolling the statute of limitations period, if you have made "voluntary" payments you may have reset the limitations period to re-start from the date of the last payment.