What is the Statute of Limitations in BC on credit cards?

There is a Statute of Limitations in BC governing collection actions by creditors including credit cards. The limitation period is the time frame within which a creditor must commence a legal proceeding against the debtor seeking to enforce the debt in question. Once the limitation or prescription period has expired, the right to commence such an enforcement action is generally lost.

The Statute of Limitation in BC sets out a prescribed limitation period (these prescription periods vary from province to province and are established by provincial legislation). The British Columbia Limitations Act does not specifically provide for creditor’s claims as noted in Subsection 3(2). See below. Consequently, these claims fall under the B.C.’s Act general six year limitation period calculated from the date the right to bring a cause of action arises pursuant to Subsection 3(5). See below.

LIMITATION PERIODS

3(2) After the expiration of 2 years after the date on which the right to

do so arose a person may not bring any of the following actions:

(a) subject to subsection (4) (k), for damages in respect of injury
to person or property, including economic loss arising from
the injury, whether based on contract, tort or statutory duty;
(b) for trespass to property not included in paragraph (a);
(c) for defamation;
(d) for false imprisonment;
(e) for malicious prosecution;
(f) for tort under the Privacy Act;
(g) under the Family Compensation Act;
(h) for seduction;
(i) under section 27 of the Engineers and Geoscientists Act.

(5) Any other action not specifically provided for in this Act or any

other Act may not be brought after the expiration of 6 years after

the date on which the right to do so arose.

For example, if you owe Credit Card A $5,000 and you made your last payment on June 30, 2012 and the next payment is due on July 30, 2012, then the limitation period begins on July 30, 2012 and ends on July 30, 2015. During that time, the collection agency can initiate legal proceedings in a court of law.

The Statute of Limitations does NOT change no matter how many times the old debt is bought and sold or how often they may call you.  However, there are only two instances in which the Statute of Limitations does change and the creditor would have more time to collect from you.

1.  If the debtor makes a payment within the limitation period even if it’s only $1.

2.  If the debtor makes a written acknowledgement of the debt within the limitation period.

NOTE If you make a payment or a written acknowledgement of the debt outside the limitation period, this does NOT restart the limitation period

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