A charge-off is a final status indicator for a delinquent account. Although you’re still responsible for repayment, it means the original creditor has flagged your account as uncollectible and has closed the account and written it off as a bad debt. Once this happens, a charge-off will generally remain on your credit report until the statute of limitations as defined in the Fair Credit Reporting Act expires.
FCRA Statute of Limitations
The statute of limitations for a charge-off is seven years from the date a creditor reports your account as delinquent. Depending on the creditor, it can take anywhere from 30 to 180 days for the creditor to file this report. However, when a creditor transfers your account to a collection agency to secure repayment, it does not restart the clock. According to credit-reporting agency Experian, the statute of limitations is the same for a charge-off account and a collection account. Although a credit-reporting agency cannot remove a charge-off from your report before it legally expires, an option to avoid a charge-off notation involves negotiating with the original creditor to settle the debt without including the information on your report.
Based in Green Bay, Wisc., Jackie Lohrey has been writing professionally since 2009. In addition to writing web content and training manuals for small business clients and nonprofit organizations, including ERA Realtors and the Bay Area Humane Society, Lohrey also works as a finance data analyst for a global business outsourcing company.