Should I have to pay an invoice I received from a vendor today for work done3 years ago?

The vendor performed work 3 1/2 years ago. He originally stated the work would not cost us more than $3000. This afternoon, I received a bill for $4300 post dated. Just after he completed the work, my wife asked him for an invoice to pay the job. Then 7 or 8 months later, she continued to call him for the invoice, so we could claim the work done on our taxes. He never sent the invoice nor returned calls. He even changed his cell number, so there was no way for us to contact him. Now, we receive his invoice. We feel we should not have to pay it now.

Asked on December 6, 2011 under Bankruptcy Law, Pennsylvania

Answers:

SJZ, Member, New York Bar / FreeAdvice Contributing Attorney

Answered 8 years ago | Contributor

You do not indicate which state you are in; that is critical information, however. That is because time period to enforce a debt is called the "statute of limitations," and every state sets its own statutory periods--that is, the time period to enforce a debt in NJ can be different from that in OH,  for example.

Every type of debt has its own statute of limitations. The type of debt you describe most likely result from or grows out of a written agreement or contract, assuming there was some written agreement, proposal, etc. for the work. You need to look up the statutue of limitations for your state for a written contract to see if the vendor still has time to enforce the debt. If the statute of limitations has expired, it's too late for  him to take action. (You can also repost your question with the identify of your state, for someone here to answer.)

Note that if there was some firm proposal or contract setting out the price, then regardless of the statute of limitations, the vendor may not seek more money than the contract, etc. provided for.


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