Pennsylvania Debt Collection Laws 

Frederic I. Weinberg

Submitted by: Frederic I. Weinberg, Esquire of Gordon & Weinberg, P.C.

Published by The National List of Attorney’s


Gordon & Weinberg, P.C., is a collection law firm specializing in commercial and consumer collections, providing statewide coverage in Pennsylvania and New Jersey. The firm’s managing partner, Frederic I. Weinberg, is a graduate of the National Law Center of the George Washington University, class of 1984, and he is currently an attorney board member of the Board of Governors of the Commercial Law League of America (CLLA) and is an active member in the National Association of Retail Collection Attorneys (NARCA), the International Association of Commercial Collectors (IACC), ACA International and the Debt Buyers Association (DBA).

I.          Overview of Pennsylvania Collection Laws

A.         Statute of Limitations – Until recently, the statute of limitations applied in all collection matters (except federal student loans and subrogation) was four years, which is the statute for breach of contract claims. See 42 Pa. C.S.A. §5525. While many judges still uniformly apply the four year statute, one Federal Court judge has imposed a new two-step analysis in determining the applicable statute of limitations. In the case of Hamid v. Stock & Grimes, LLP, PICS Case No. 12-1179 (E.D. Pa. June 12, 2012), the U.S. District Court for the Eastern District of Pennsylvania applied the Pennsylvania Uniform Statute of Limitations on Foreign Claims Act, 42 Pa. Cons. Stat. §5521(b), essentially applying a two-step analysis to determine the correct statute of limitations for filing debt collection suits in Pennsylvania. The Court first looked at the choice of law provision in the credit card agreement (contract) and then looked at the place where payments were to be sent. In the decision, the answer was Delaware law to both. The Court found that the failure of the creditor to receive the debtor payment in Delaware was the injury, triggering the Delaware statute of limitations (rather than the breach occurring in Pennsylvania where the debtor failed to issue the payment). Accordingly, until this issue is further resolved by the courts, the safe practice at this time is to make the analysis as to whether a shorter limitations period may apply. It is also a safe practice not to follow a longer limitations period, even if provided for in the choice of law provision.


The statute of limitations in subrogation files is two years, as it follows the limitations of actions for personal injury or damage to property. See 42 Pa. C.S.A. §5524.


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