Is it legal for a creditor to never send me a bill and then 5 years later send me to a collections agency?

UPDATED: May 21, 2012

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Is it legal for a creditor to never send me a bill and then 5 years later send me to a collections agency?

I just received a collections notice in the mail, supposedly for an energy bill from 5 years ago. However, I never received even 1 bill from the energy company in the past 5 years, so I had no clue I owed any money.

Asked on May 21, 2012 under Bankruptcy Law, Wisconsin


MD, Member, California Bar / FreeAdvice Contributing Attorney

Answered 10 years ago | Contributor

Do not confirm you owe any money. Pull up your credit reports, check to see if the bill is on there and dispute it through the credit reporting agencies if it is on there. If it has not shown up yet, you need to understand the statute of limitations may have lapsed, and therefore, you do not need to pay it. Simply wait and see or you can certainly call and explain you do not owe this debt and leave it at that. The better approach would be to wait it out. If you get a second letter, again run through the credit check or contact your local consumer protection agency to help you.

IMPORTANT NOTICE: The Answer(s) provided above are for general information only. The attorney providing the answer was not serving as the attorney for the person submitting the question or in any attorney-client relationship with such person. Laws may vary from state to state, and sometimes change. Tiny variations in the facts, or a fact not set forth in a question, often can change a legal outcome or an attorney's conclusion. Although has verified the attorney was admitted to practice law in at least one jurisdiction, he or she may not be authorized to practice law in the jurisdiction referred to in the question, nor is he or she necessarily experienced in the area of the law involved. Unlike the information in the Answer(s) above, upon which you should NOT rely, for personal advice you can rely upon we suggest you retain an attorney to represent you.

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