I can imagine when loans were logged in ledgers, paper forms filed away. It’s likely many of these will be wrote off. When banks/loan companies began to rely more on digital data bases. Balance sheets and losses, outstanding debt gets carried forward. Shareholders are more inclined to value debts even if there is a slim chance of recovery. Loan companies/banks will often negotiate a lower settlement fee where repayment is looking difficult and close the loan on account on payment.
Im unclear what the letter of the law is regarding 6 year rule or whatever options are, although I’ve increasingly heard of folk banking on it.
A mate who went to live/work in the USA got deported back to the UK, after 10 years of working in America. He was in a longterm relationship with a American lass. He advised her to take out $10,000 loans on furniture/household items etc and come over to the UK, after selling all the items for a pittance of their value. They eventually married here in the UK. Unfortunately she cannot return to America for fear of facing those old debts. If they split up/divorce. Her actions could have a major impact on her future.