Time Limit For Debt Collector To Credit Report

“What Is The Time Limit For Collectors To Credit Report In Alabama?”

credit reportDebt collectors love to threaten to (and actually do) credit report collection accounts on your credit reports.

This has a terrible negative impact on your credit reports.

So, how long can a collection account be reported on your credit reports?

We have previously discussed the general time limits for collecting.  And how long a debt collector (debt buyer) has to sue you in Alabama.

But today we will focus on the length of time negative collection accounts (there isn’t any other type) can be on your credit reports.

Here’s the basic rule:  Seven years from the date of the first major delinquency.

This normally doesn’t mean the first time you missed a payment.

It normally means when you fall seriously behind.

Usually six months.

This is also normally called a “charge off” or where the debt is “written off.”

Let’s look at an example of defaulting by getting six months behind on a Chase credit card in January 2012.

The Chase account can be on there till January 2019 (2012 plus 7 years)

If Chase sends the account to a collection agency (or sells it to a collection agency/debt buyer) then that collector can credit report the same length of time.

No more.

If Midland Funding or LVNV or IC Systems gets the account in January 2017, it can still only report till 2019.

Sometimes collectors, such as Portfolio Recovery Associates or NCO, will get an account in January 2017 and will then “re-age” it by telling the credit reporting agencies (Equifax, Experian, Innovis, TransUnion, etc) that you defaulted in January 2016 so the collection agency can keep the account on your report till 2023 (2016 plus 7 years).

When debt collectors re-age an account on your credit reports, that’s a lie, it is illegal and when these collectors do this — they need to be sued quickly and for maximum money damages.

When they threaten to do this they need to be sued.

We recently sued a debt collector for telling our client that a debt that defaulted on about 13 years ago could still be on her credit reports in now.

That’s a violation of the Fair Debt Collection Practices Act (FDCPA) among other laws.

So carefully look at your credit reports and make sure the reporting is accurate in general but also as far as timing goes.

Remember the basic rule is when you allegedly went into the first major delinquency plus 7 years is when it should fall off your report.

What do you do when you find false information by a collector on your credit reports?

Sometimes it is best to do a dispute under the Fair Credit Reporting Act (FCRA).

Other times it is best to simply sue under the FDCPA.

Every situation is different.

If you have any questions in regards to your credit report, give us a call at 1-205-879-2447.

Or you can fill out our contact form and we will get in touch with you as soon as possible.

I look forward to chatting with you!

Have a great day.

John Watts


  1. […] the debt will not stay on your account longer.  The account can stay on your credit report no longer than 7 years after you default.  For example, even if the account is sold from Capital One to Portfolio Recovery and then 5 years […]

  2. SamBrela D. Smith says:

    I’m needing some advice on how to get some items off my credit report that’s still on there dating back from 2009, 2010 and it’s been over 7 years. Also wanting to know how I can dispute items on my credit that i didn’t take out

    • John Watts says:


      If it is negative information, then 7 years from the date of first major delinquency is the time limit. You can dispute those through the credit reporting agencies.

      As far as accounts that are not yours, they are likely either ID Theft accounts (someone stole your ID) or they are “Mixed/Merged” accounts where someone else’s information has been mixed up or merged with your information.

      Either way you’ll need to dispute these incorrect items.

      Easiest way to do this is get with a consumer protection lawyer in your state — if you are in Alabama call us at 205-879-2447. We do not charge any fee to help you write the dispute letters. I think most consumer protection lawyers who sue under the FCRA (Fair Credit Reporting Act) and FDCPA (Fair Debt Collection Practices Act) are the same. We only charge a fee when we sue these jokers and we get paid by the defendants we sue.

      Best wishes!

      John Watts

      PS — false information on credit reports is very frustrating but it can be removed. Either the companies get it off when you dispute or they get it off when you sue….

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