Alabama Debt Collection Laws

Brent Yarborough

Submitted by Brent Yarborough, Zarzaur & Schwartz, P.C. 

Published by The national List of Attorneys


Brent Yarborough is an attorney with the Birmingham law firm of Zarzaur & Schwartz, P.C., where he practices in the areas of collections, creditors’ rights, commercial litigation, and the defense of consumer law claims.  He is a frequent speaker and author on topics related to collections and consumer law.  Brent earned his B.A. degree, cum laude, from Birmingham-Southern College and his J.D. degree from Cornell University.  Brent serves on the Board of Directors of the National Association of Retail Collection Attorneys (NARCA), on the executive board of the Birmingham Bar Association’s Bankruptcy and Commercial Law Section, and on the steering committee of the Central Alabama Financial Education Coalition. Zarzaur & Schwartz, P.C. is a full service creditors’ rights law firm.  Located in Birmingham, Alabama, the firm serves its many local and national clients throughout the State of Alabama, in all courts and jurisdictions.  The firm specializes in the areas of commercial collections, consumer collections, medical collections, utility collections, student loan collections, collateral recovery, commercial bankruptcy, consumer bankruptcy, and the defense of consumer law claims. 


Statute of Limitations & Judgments

Collection suits are generally based on breach of contract or stated account, both of which fall under the six (6) year statute of limitations provided in Alabama Code Section 6-2-34. Actions for open or unliquidated account must be brought within three years.  See Ala. Code § 6-2-37(1) (1975).  Judgments are presumed satisfied ten years after entry or last execution.  See Ala. Code § 6-9-191 (1975).  A judgment may be revived one time, but a judgment cannot be revived after the lapse of twenty years from its entry.  See Ala. Code § 6-9-190 (1975).  Judgments based on contract actions bear interest at the same rate of interest stated in the contract.  All other judgments bear interest at the rate of 7.5 percent per annum.  See Ala. Code § 8-8-10 (1975).  Alabama has adopted the Uniform Enforcement of Foreign Judgments Act, which can be found at Ala. Code § 6-9-230 et seq. 


Bad Checks

“A person commits the crime of negotiating a worthless negotiable instrument, if the person negotiates or delivers a negotiable instrument for a thing of value and with the intent, knowledge, or expectation that it will not be honored by the drawee.”  Ala. Code § 13A-9-13.1.  This is a Class A misdemeanor.  Most, if not all, district attorneys maintain a worthless check unit pursuant to Ala. Code § 12-17-224 (1975).  Alabama law also provides a private cause of action for bad checks.  The holder of a worthless check may recover punitive damages, compensatory damages, and a reasonable attorney fee.  Ala. Code § 6-5-285 (1975).  Actions based upon a worthless check must be brought within one year.  Ala. Code § 6-5-285 (1975). 


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