How long does an inn have to bill you?

My wife and I got married over 4 years ago and we held the reception at a an inn. My mother-in-law paid the bill and paid for some of the rooms. Then, last week, she got a bill for almost

$300 claiming that the hotel never charged her for certain taxes and 1 of the rooms. I know

the hotel has every right to send a bill for unpaid services at any time but this is the first bill and the service was 4 1/2 years ago. I heard that after 6 months a hotel has no way of forcing a person to pay, however I haven’t been able to find any evidence that this is true. Is there

any way that the inn can force us to pay the bill or is paying simply voluntary at this

point? What does the law say in such a matter?

Asked on May 14, 2016 under Business Law, Missouri


SJZ, Member, New York Bar / FreeAdvice Contributing Attorney

Answered 4 years ago | Contributor

Someone can present you a bill--and if you don't pay it, sue you--any time before  the "statute of limitations", or time within which to sue, expires. (Technically, they can bill you after the statute runs out, but since they can't sue, they can't enforce the bill--it would be 100% voluntary whether you pay.) In your state, the appropriate statute of limitations (contract: the claim arises out of the agreement to provide certain services for pay) is 5 years, so if this happened 4 1/2 years ago, they are still in time to take legal action if they want.

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