Payday loans allow debtors to borrow against their next paycheck to get cash for emergencies. However, most payday lenders charge high interest rates, and the borrower may find himself unable to pay back the loan when he gets paid. If a borrower fails to pay back a payday loan, the lender may take collection action against him. Florida gives lenders a limited amount of time to do this in most cases.
Florida law sets the statute of limitations for unpaid debts at five years. This means that if you do not pay back your payday lender, the lender has five years to use the court system to collect the debt. The payday lender may still use other methods to collect the debt, such as contacting you by telephone or engaging the services of a collection agency, even after the statute of limitations expires.
If a payday lender sues you and wins, the court enters a judgment against you. A judgment is a court order to pay a certain amount of money. In Florida, creditors may attempt to collect judgments for 20 years after the court enters the judgment against a debtor. Thus, if your payday lender sues you within the five year period following your default and gets a judgment against you, he can continue to attempt to collect the judgment amount for the next 20 years.
Payday lenders in Florida may not press criminal charges against a debtor for non-payment of the debt, including prosecuting her under bad check laws. In addition, lenders or collection agencies may not threaten to have the debtor arrested under bad check laws if she does not pay back the debt. In general, creditors and collection agencies may not make empty threats to compel a debtor to pay a debt.
Tolling of the Debt
If the debtor leaves Florida, the statute of limitations on the debt is tolled, or suspended, until such time as he returns. Thus, if a debtor defaults on a payday loan and leaves the state for five years, his creditor can still sue him when he comes back. In addition, if the debtor makes any payment on the debt, it resets the statute of limitations. For example, if the debtor owes $200 and pays $20, after four and a half years, the statute of limitations resets.