New Zealand Law
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The limitation period for collecting a debt is six years. So even if the finance company was difficult to contact, the debt would remain enforceable for six years after the last payment, and the date of default for when the next payment was due, but which he would have missed. The time for claiming starts at the time of the missed payment. The problem with finance company loans is that they often have very high penalty interest, and so over the last four or so years, the interest would accumulate on a compound interest basis. This is why it has reached this amount. So unfortunately they are still able to enforce payment, and he may need to make arrangements to pay this off. He should check whether the finance company went out of business and whether this is being claimed by a debt collection company. It is possible to enforce a judgment from Australia in a New Zealand court, so they could get a judgment and then chase him here.