While you might think it’s a period of years, a more accurate response is that there are various Pennsylvania laws and creditor actions that can renew the life of a judgment almost indefinitely. Consequently, if you owe a debt, the odds are good that you might owe the debt for a long time.
How Long A Creditor Can Collect on a Judgment
In Pennsylvania, a judgment is effective for five years. Even though you might now reside in Pennsylvania, this judgment varies in other states. For example in New York, the period that debt collectors have to collect on a debt is twenty years or longer.
The period to collect on this debt often begins running on one of several occurrences:
- The date of the entry of the judgment
- The date the creditor last tried to collect on a judgment,
- Or the latter of either events
Renewing a Judgment Restarts the Collection Cycle
Judgments are sometimes nearly permanent in nature because many states including Pennsylvania allow creditors to renew judgments. The renewal process means that if a creditor obtains a court order or files an affidavit or other document, the creditor can renew the judgment for another cycle.
Once many creditors learn that debts can be restarted almost indefinitely, the illusion of ever escaping these payments often diminishes.
What Happens When a Judgment Lapses
If a creditor fails to renew a judgment on time, a judgment is considered to have lapsed. Judgments can also lapse if creditors do not do anything to execute on a judgment for a certain period of time.
If a judgment lapses, a creditor is no longer able to legally enforce the amount. This means that a creditor cannot: garnish your wages, attach your bank account, seize your property, or require you to appear for a debtor’s examination.
The Revival of Lapsed Judgments
Merely because a judgment has lapsed, this does not mean that the debt has forever gone away. Pennsylvania provides creditors with a five-year window in which to revive dormant judgments. If a creditor attempts to revive a judgment outside this period of time, they will be barred from doing so.
Debt Collect and Lapse Judgment
Under the Fair Debt Collection Practices Act (FDCPA), a bill collector might still contact you on a lapsed judgment and ask to pay. Debt collectors cannot threaten to garnish your wages or take other legal action to pressure you into settling an old judgment. If a debt collector lies about the age of a judgment and whether it lapses under state laws, this also can often end up constituting a violation of the FDCPA. At Ross Collection Solutions we understand these laws and can void any undesirable citations.
Speak with a Knowledgeable Debt Collector
No matter how long you’ve been trying to collect on a debt, the assistance of a debt collection professional can help greatly. Contact Ross Collection Solutions today by calling (412) 973-0666 to schedule a free case evaluation.