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  1. #1
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    Aug 2007
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    Default Credit Card Statute of Limitations After Moving From California to Washington

    Have 3 Credit Card debts totaling over $37,000. All 3 charged off 12/2001. American Express kept my account in-house, BofA and Chase sold/transferred my debt to 3rd party collectors.

    I lived in California at time of debt through 3/2006. Moved to Washington state 4/2006.

    Wondering if my Statute of Limitations is governed by California law or Washington law and what that SOL would be.

    Was informed informally by an attorney that Washington State SOL would apply and it was 6 years. This would make sense given that American Express has been calling early morning, late at night, and even on Sundays lately as if they are trying to beat a 12/07 SOL deadline.

  2. #2
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    Default Re: Credit Card Statute of Limitations After Moving From California to Washington

    If the California statute applies, it's a shorter statute. Is that why you're asking?

    The Washington State borrowing statute provides,
    Quote Quoting RCW 4.18.020 -Conflict of laws — Limitation Periods
    (1) Except as provided by RCW 4.18.040, if a claim is substantively based:
    (a) Upon the law of one other state, the limitation period of that state applies; or

    (b) Upon the law of more than one state, the limitation period of one of those states, chosen by the law of conflict of laws of this state, applies.
    (2) The limitation period of this state applies to all other claims.
    I would attempt to argue, if this goes to court, that the contractual relationship arose and ended (via your breach) in California, and thus that California's statute of limitations should apply. Your lawyer, though, should have a better grasp than I of how your state's courts are interpreting and applying the statute.

  3. #3
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    Default Re: Credit Card Statute of Limitations After Moving From California to Washington

    Quote Quoting Mr. Knowitall
    View Post
    If the California statute applies, it's a shorter statute. Is that why you're asking?
    Yes. I believe California SOL is 4 years, whereas it appears to possibly be 6 years in Washington. I am about 5 1/2 years past the charge-off date. Now, American Express is calling me everyday, including Sundays, in an attempt to make contact with me. I am reluctant to answer the phone unless I know the statue of limitations has passed.

    Quote Quoting Mr. Knowitall
    View Post
    The Washington State borrowing statute provides,
    I would attempt to argue, if this goes to court, that the contractual relationship arose and ended (via your breach) in California, and thus that California's statute of limitations should apply. Your lawyer, though, should have a better grasp than I of how your state's courts are interpreting and applying the statute.
    The attorney didn't consult with me on my specific case. He represents our company for, ironically enough, collections matters. I threw out my question to him in very generalized terms as I didn't want him to know my question of curiosity was for me. I'll use yor approach, though, if it comes to it.

    Would you know if the Statute of Limitiations for credit card debt in Washington is 6 years though?

  4. #4
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    Default Re: Credit Card Statute of Limitations After Moving From California to Washington

    My understanding is that it is six years. If you want to know what the limitations period is for a particular case in a particular state, you should ask a lawyer in that state. There may be factors which cause a different statute to apply, or which toll (extend) the limitations period.

  5. #5
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    Default Re: Credit Card Statute of Limitations After Moving From California to Washington

    Thank you for all your help!

    When you talk about the SOL being extended, I have read that sometimes any payment or acknowledgment of the debt as valid can extend the SOL.

    Do you know if acknowledging the debt as valid would extend the SOL by California or Washington statute?

    I'm sure there were times while I was living in California where I responded to a collector's phone call and verbally acknowledged the debt as valid.

  6. #6
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    Default Re: Credit Card Statute of Limitations After Moving From California to Washington

    Normally you have to at least make a payment on the debt to extend/restart SOL - verbal acknowledgement shouldn't extend it. However, you might want to run all your questions by your lawyer. Laws vary so much by state.

  7. #7
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    Default Re: Credit Card Statute of Limitations After Moving From California to Washington

    Thank you both for your helpful advise!

    Would anyone be able to answer what the laws for California and/or Washington are regarding whether the statute of limitations on credit card debt would be extended simply by the mere verbal acknowledgment of a debt's validity (OR a claimed verbal promise of payment)?

    I have been very careful in that I have never agreed to make payments of any sort, but I have always been fearful that past collectors may have misrepresented prior conversations to include a promise of payment.

    Sorry for all the questions, but I am finally crawling past some of the problems created by these past debts and credit problems and have established a checking account, credit card, and some loan offers and don't want any surprises such as liens against my checking account or wage garnishments that would drop me into a deeper hole.

  8. #8
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    Default Re: Credit Card Statute of Limitations After Moving From California to Washington

    Ca. SOL: The statute of limitations is stopped only if the debtor makes a payment on the account after the expiration of the applicable limitations period.

    Wa. SOL: My reference didn't show a law for Wa. re tolling/restarting SOL. You might want to ask a lawyer in Wa.

    Generally though just making a verbal acknowledgement of the debt will not toll/restart SOL. If it goes to court, argue as suggested by mrknowitall that the Ca. SOL applies.

  9. #9
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    Default Re: Credit Card Statute of Limitations After Moving From California to Washington

    Thank you for the advise. I am surprised and grateful by the extent of helpful information that has been provided.

    One last question - my credit card debt was incurred when I was single. I am now married, and my wife opened an American Express credit card account after we were married.

    I read that if you have a charged-off debt on a credit card and the credit card is closed, but you open up a new credit card with the same company later on that this will restart the statute of limitations. Washington is a community property state.

    Did I inadvertantly restart the statute of limitations on my Amex debt because my wife opened an Amex account with them after we were married?

    Also, if I were to open a bank account with Bank of America or Chase (the 2 other credit card companies that I had to default on), would this restart the statute of limitations?

    Sorry for all the questions.

  10. #10
    Join Date
    Jan 2006
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    Default Re: Credit Card Statute of Limitations After Moving From California to Washington

    The thing you have not actually told anybody is when the debt became stale. The charge off date is irrelevent and is typically well after the debt has become state.

    The way it looks is that the debts were already past the California SOL when you moved and since that would seem to be the case, Washington statute would not be applicable. Even if Washingtons statutes are applicable, their 6 year SOL may very well have passed as well.


    btw; per the code of Civil Procedure of California, the SoL would have tolled when you left the state so if you had left the state prior to the running of the SoL, the debt would still be actioanable per the California SoL.

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