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Statute of Limitations


Under Massachusetts law, the statute of limitations on contractual debt like credit cards, medical bills, and loans, is six years, pursuant to Chapter 260, Section 2, of the Massachusetts General Laws.


The statute of limitations is usually measured from the date that someone has defaulted on the agreed-upon payments. This is sometimes the last payment date, but the agreement itself must always be reviewed, because the agreement might define “default” differently.


Some credit card agreements state that they are governed by the law of other states. These states often have shorter statutes of limitation. The issue of whether these agreements shorten the Massachusetts statute of limitations has not been decided here.


Instead, to determine which state’s statute of limitations applies, Massachusetts uses what is called the “significant relationship” test. This test examines the totality of the circumstances to see which state’s law has a more significant relationship to the contract at issue. Culik Law has been able to dismiss cases using this argument, but it is still an unsettled area of the law.


If your last payment was six or more years ago, however, it is very likely that the debt is beyond the statute of limitations. Debt collectors are permitted to ask for payment beyond the statute of limitations, but they are not allowed to file a collection lawsuit. If a debt collector does file a lawsuit past the statute of limitations, it is probably a violation of the Fair Debt Collection Practices Act.