Can I take someone to court over a shared cell phone bill?

If so, which type of court? My aunt and I both share a cell phone bill. I started my line after she already started her line months earlier for her daughter and her. For the last 3 months she has been paying the bill and I was living with her for those 3 months. She never once stated during that time that I needed to repay her for those months. Is it fair for her to now say I owe her for those months? She paid the bill and she is also saying that we need to split the bill when she is using 2 of 3 lines alotted by the cell phone provider.

Asked on July 23, 2012 under Bankruptcy Law, Florida


SJZ, Member, New York Bar / FreeAdvice Contributing Attorney

Answered 8 years ago | Contributor

An oral agreement to pay part of a phone bill is legally enforceable. However, the agreement must have been made at the outset--someone cannot after-the-fact or retroactively try to charge somone amounts which that person had not previously agreed to.

If a lawsuit is brought over these types of charges, a good idea would be to bring it in small claims court, where the person suing can represent him/herself (no lawyer) and court costs are lower. The person suing would have to prove the existence and terms of the agreement by a "preponderance of the evidence," or that it is more likely than not that the other person had agreed to pay him/her money, and could do so by testimony, by emails or text messages, by any correspondence, etc. The other person could present his/her evidence or testimony contradicting the plaintiff's (the person suing) evidence and disputing his/her case.

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