Is it legal for my alarm company to back bill me for their mistake?

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Is it legal for my alarm company to back bill me for their mistake?

My alarm company just called me to tell me that my account is delinquent. I set-up an auto payment with them, and verified that they had the correct method of payment. For the last 3 years they didn’t bill me, I actually called to let them know they haven’t billed me and again verified my method of payment. Today I was told that they forgot to run my payment for the last 6 months and now want me to pay the 6 months of back billing. I have never been sent a paper invoice or received a notice of being late. Am I liable for this amount even though it’s their mistake?

Asked on March 2, 2011 under Bankruptcy Law, California

Answers:

SJZ, Member, New York Bar / FreeAdvice Contributing Attorney

Answered 10 years ago | Contributor

Of course you're liable, IF--as you seem to indicate--you should have paid that money all along. The fact that someone forgot to bill does not absolve you of your responsibilities under a service agreement or other contract; it does not mean that you get the service  for free. If it's a legitimate bill, you have to pay it--the same way you'd expect to be paid if, for example, your employer forgot to send you a couple of paychecks or direct deposits and you did not catch it until after the fact.

If it's their mistake, they can't charge you interest or penalties, however--all they can do is charge you whatever amount you should have been paying all along, under the agreement.


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