A debt no longer showing up on your credit report doesn't necessarily mean you do not owe that debt. If a credit account has been closed for more than six years, that account should automatically be removed from your credit report. This same timeframe applies to accounts closed by the lender and placed into default. You can still be held accountable for this debt even if it has been many years since the closing of the account.
Is Debt That Falls Off My Credit Report Written Off?
In general, debt is considered owed until it is paid in full unless it is settled or discharged through other means (like in bankruptcy). Because of this, you can still be held accountable for debt even after it is more than six years old and has fallen off your credit report. If your debt is under statute barred status, this only prevents creditors from attempting to collect the debt via the courts—they can still pursue the debt through other means.
Outdated contact info
There are a few reasons you might still owe a debt that has fallen off your credit report. A simple, common reason is incorrect contact information. If you have moved, changed your name, or for whatever reason did not receive correspondence concerning the debt, you may have missed requests for payment. Because it is your responsibility to update all lenders with your contact information, you may still be liable to pay the debt.
Another common reason is post judgment remedies. A lender or creditor can go through the courts to get a post judgment remedy issued in order to force you to pay back your debts. These can include an attachment of earnings order, and wage garnishment order, a charging order, or a writ of control. Depending on the terms put forth in these repayment plans, you could end up owing debt after the six year period, at which time the debt would be removed from your credit report. Despite this, you will still need to continue payments until the debt is paid off.
Debt sold to collection agency
Lenders frequently “sell” past-due debt to collection agencies instead of attempting to get payment for the debt themselves. Lenders can do this whenever they want, even if the debt has fallen off your credit report. Once the debt is acquired by a collection agency, you are likely to see the debt reappear as a new record on your credit report as well as renewed efforts on behalf of the collection agency to collect on the debt.
Why does a debt fall off my report if it is unpaid?
It may seem confusing when debt falls off your credit report after six years. Your credit report is meant to help lenders determine your creditworthiness for potential loans, and six years is the designated timeframe to represent your financial health and history. It is generally agreed that information prior to the six year mark is likely not relevant to your current financial situation.
Do I need to disclose older debt to new lenders?
If you are still paying on debts older than six years, you should still disclose this to lenders. Any debt will impact your ability to afford a loan and being honest about this can help you determine what you can afford when taking on new debt.
If you are struggling with debt, Veitengruber Law can help. We have substantial experience dealing with debt collectors, credit card companies, and other financial institutions.