Iowa Debt Collection Laws

Thomas E.
Mark U.

Submitted by Thomas E. Sherzan and Mark U. Abendroth, Abendroth and Russell, P.C.

Published by The National List of Attorneys


Founded in 1987, Abendroth and Russell, P.C. is an Iowa law firm based in the Des Moines metro area.  As commercial and retail collection specialists, Abendroth and Russell, P.C. provides a full range of services for Iowa businesses and for national companies doing business in Iowa.  We “Cover Iowa” and have over 100 years of combined legal experience with which to serve our clients. At Abendroth and Russell, it is our mission to provide our clients with the best legal services available, to excel in our practice areas, to “do what we do and do it well” for the mutual benefit of our clients and our employees.

Mark U. Abendroth is a founder and shareholder in Abendroth and Russell Law Firm, where he focuses his practice primarily in the areas of retail and commercial collections and real estate transactions.   Mark received his undergraduate and law degree from Drake University.  He is a member of the National Association of Retail Collection Attorneys.  He holds an AV rating with Martindale-Hubbell. 

Thomas E. Sherzan is an associate with Abendroth and Russell Law Firm, where he practices primarily in the areas of collection litigation and real estate transactions.  He received his B.B.A. from the University of Iowa in 2008 and his law degree, with honors, from Drake Law School in 2011.  Thomas is a member of the Iowa State Bar Association.

I. Iowa Debt Collection Laws

a. Statute of Limitations

Iowa Code Chapter 614 governs Iowa’s statute of limitations for the collection of open accounts, written contracts, and judgments entered by the Court. In Iowa, the statute of limitations for unwritten contracts is five years, while the statute of limitations for written contracts is ten years. Iowa case law has specifically found that an action on a delinquent credit card account balance is an action to enforce an oral, rather than a written contract, and thus the action must be brought within five years of the action accruing. The cause of action for an open account accrues “on the last item therein,” which typically is the last payment made on the account. Once entered, a judgment is enforceable in Iowa for twenty years.

b. Bad Check Laws

Iowa law regarding the enforcement of dishonored or “bad” checks is found in the Iowa Uniform Commercial Code Chapter 554, Article Three. Specifically, Iowa Code section 554.3513 provides remedies available in an action against a defendant providing a dishonored check. The plaintiff may recover total damages equaling three times the face value of the dishonored check, which sum includes the face value of the check. However, total recovery cannot exceed more than five hundred dollars plus the amount of the check.


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