Statute of Limitations on Debt in Texas
The statute of limitations to collect debt is Texas if four (4) years. When this four year clock starts to run has been debated in recent years. Creditors and debt purchasers try to argue that the clock starts when you made your final payment to the creditor while consumer attorneys argue the clock starts at the first sign of default.
Many consumers will struggle to make the minimum payments on credit card debts for months or years and they are usually in “default” under the credit agreement when they fail to make the minimum payment due. Thus, if you go by the actual default date in the credit agreement, the clock usually started well before the last payment, especially when the last payment was nominal in comparison to the minimum payment due.
Texas courts are divided on the issue of when the statute of limitations for debt starts. If you have been sued on an old debt, it is a good idea to try and determine when you made your last payment. If your last payment was more than four years from when the lawsuit was filed then you may have a good statute of limitations defense.
As stated above, the rule is when the lawsuit is filed, not when you are served with the lawsuit. To confirm that you were properly served, please see my article on Service of Process in Texas.
To raise a statute of limitations defense, you must plead it in your answer as an affirmative defense. For more information on filing an answer, please see my article on How to Answer a Summons in Texas.
It is important to realize that you have the burden of proof when it comes to a statute of limitations defense. Do not assume that you will be able to have your “day in court” and present all of this to the judge. In fact, if you try to defend the lawsuit yourself, the creditor may file a Motion for Summary Judgment against you without you having the ability to prove your defense.
If you believe that your last payment on the debt was more than four years from when the lawsuit was filed you should try to obtain proof of this. Try checking your credit report at www.annualcreditreport.com. You are allowed one free credit report per year from each major bureau pursuant to Federal Law. Check to see when the account was charged off and subtract 180 days from this date. This is a good indication of when your last payment was. You can also try checking old bank statements or payment records.
If you have been sued by a credit card company or a debt purchaser in Texas please call our law firm for a FREE consultation. I have defended over thousands of credit card lawsuits . We generally charge flat fees to defend lawsuits and we offer payment plans as low as $250.00 per month.
Other Related Articles by Michael W. Weston:
- Top Consumer Myths about debt purchaser lawsuits
- Sued for Debt in Texas
- Service of Process in Texas
- How to Answer a Summons in Texas
- Default Judgments in Texas
- Statute of Limitations for Debt in Texas
- Motion for Summary Judgment in Texas
By: Texas Credit Card Lawsuit Defense Lawyer - Michael W. Weston
Tweet and share