When a consumer becomes very delinquent on an account, the creditor will probably charge it off. This means that the creditor will write the debt off as a loss for tax purposes. This does not mean that they have given up collecting on the debt. The creditor is now likely to either sell the charge off debt or send it to collections. In general, charge offs stay on a credit report for seven years. The seven years usually starts on the date of the last activity on the debt. However, unless the debt is discharged by a bankruptcy, the creditor can continue to attempt to collect on the debt for even longer than that seven years.