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Are charged off debts still collectible?

Answer: Generally, yes.  You are still obligated to repay the debt.

But “charged off” sounds like the debt is no longer owed!   Yes, but “looks can be deceiving."

What is a charge off?  It is an accounting entry.  The creditor removes the debt from the bank or corporate balance sheet due to the probable “near future” uncollectability.  Thus, for accounting purposes, the debt is no longer deemed as a “current” asset. But the creditor’s charge off accounting entry does not remove your responsibility to pay what is legally owed.

Sometimes a creditor will choose not to collect on a charge off debt.

Sometimes a creditor will sell (assign) the debt to a debt buyer who, from then on, typically owns any legal right to collect the full balance that is still owed.

However, state laws provide a statute of limitations time limit deadlines for filing a lawsuit in court to collect a debt.  The time deadlines vary from state to state. See article California Statute of Limitations.

Charged off debts can and often are still be reported on your credit report and will remain thereon for seven years.

Lastly, a successful bankruptcy discharge will typically forgive the debt in whole or part.

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