Can a city go back 24 months charge for unbilled utility services?

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Can a city go back 24 months charge for unbilled utility services?

I received a call today for a business (which we manage) which has incorrectly not billed us for sewer charges for the past 24 months. They are now instructing us that we owe over $9,500. This comes just a month or so after they hit the same business for over $800 in under billed sales tax. Can they really require us to pay for the past 2 years of sewer bills?

Asked on August 2, 2010 under Bankruptcy Law, Wisconsin

Answers:

SJZ, Member, New York Bar / FreeAdvice Contributing Attorney

Answered 10 years ago | Contributor

Unfortunately, they can look to be paid for 2 years of sewer bills. The statute of limitations, or time to bring a lawsuit, in Wisconsin is 6 years for both contracts and open accounts, and this matter would probably be one of them. If the statute of limitations has not yet been exceeded--i.e. too much time has not passed--a creditor or service provider can look to recover amounts due, including amounts due for improper billing. They should not charge you interest or penalty fees if the cause of the late payment was their own improper billing. It would also be appropriate  for them to work out payment schedule, rather than expecting all 24 months at once. And finally, you don't need to accept their charges at face value; if you believe they are wrong, you can try to challenge them. Good luck.


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