When is a debt uncollectible?

Updated March 23, 2017

If given enough time, almost all debts are uncollectible. When a company believes it has no reasonable chance of collecting debt, it becomes uncollectible, but this does not go without consequence for the customer.

Time Frame

Each state has its own laws on when a lender can no longer go after a debt. The time span ranges from two to 15 years, according to the After the statute of limitations passes, the lender cannot go after the borrower in court.


A company must write off a debt for it to become uncollectible, according to Usually, companies write off debt after six continuous months of nonpayment. As soon as a debt is written off, the time limit on the statute of limitations begins.


A written-off debt remains on a credit report for seven years and is one of the worst red flags you can have. Also, debt collectors and the lender can still sue you until the statute of limitations passes.

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About the Author

Russell Huebsch has written freelance articles covering a range of topics from basketball to politics in print and online publications. He graduated from Baylor University in 2009 with a Bachelor of Arts degree in political science.