Can the gas company add my husband’s past debt from an old account onto my new account?

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Can the gas company add my husband’s past debt from an old account onto my new account?

We were just married 4 months ago and got a house together. I had gas turned on in only my name. They asked if I wanted to add anyone’s name onto the account for a person that could call in or make payments on my behalf. I told them my husband’s first name, nothing else. Got the bill and there was a past due of $350. They keep saying it’s his debt butnow that I’m married I have to pay for it. I just don’t see how they can do this without me consenting to take his debt or at least them making sure it was he right person. Is there anything that I can do?

Asked on July 1, 2011 under Bankruptcy Law, Illinois

Answers:

MD, Member, California Bar / FreeAdvice Contributing Attorney

Answered 9 years ago | Contributor

You can take his name off of the account or pay for the past due debt. Unfortunately, utility companies often do this and you have recourse but you would need to file a complaint with the public utilities commission to appeal the reason they placed it on your account. At the end of the day, while it is his debt, by you marrying him and opening a joint account in essence you may have opened yourself up to acquiring this debt. If he owes the debt, it may simply be easier to work out a payment plan with the gas company to pay it off. Then, in the future, make sure the debts are fully paid before opening a new account or transferring the account if you move.


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