Brilliant, AL asked in Civil Litigation and Consumer Law for Alabama

Q: What is the statute of limitations on unpaid cell phone bill?

1 Lawyer Answer
Samuel G McKerall
Samuel G McKerall
  • Consumer Law Lawyer
  • Gulf Shores, AL

A: In Alabama its 3 years from the date of the last charge OR the date of the last payment, whichever is most recent. In other words, every time you make a payment on the bill the statute of limitations resets and starts all over again. The time period varies from state to state, so this advice is only valid for people in Alabama.

But ... pay attention now. They can still sue you even though the statute of limitations has expired. That is because the statute of limitations is what's called an "affirmative defense", which means you have to raise it as a defense to a lawsuit in order for it to be a bar to the action. If you don't, you waive it. So, the sequence of events is that they sue you, and then you answer the complaint asking that that the suit be dismissed because it is barred by the statute of limitations. The judge should dismiss it but some judges don't take people who are trying to represent themselves very seriously. I'm sorry to have to say that but it is what it is.

Doing it right is not as easy as you might think the above sounds. Your best bet is to explain to them that suit is barred by the statute of limitations. Maybe they'll close their file. If they sue you please hire a lawyer to represent you, if you can. Some areas have legal aid offices that may help you. Many times lawyers will take a case "pro bono", which means for free. I think "pro bono" is Latin meaning "for the good". Something like that.

Good luck with it.

Justia Ask a Lawyer is a forum for consumers to get answers to basic legal questions. Any information sent through Justia Ask a Lawyer is not secure and is done so on a non-confidential basis only.

The use of this website to ask questions or receive answers does not create an attorney–client relationship between you and Justia, or between you and any attorney who receives your information or responds to your questions, nor is it intended to create such a relationship. Additionally, no responses on this forum constitute legal advice, which must be tailored to the specific circumstances of each case. You should not act upon information provided in Justia Ask a Lawyer without seeking professional counsel from an attorney admitted or authorized to practice in your jurisdiction. Justia assumes no responsibility to any person who relies on information contained on or received through this site and disclaims all liability in respect to such information.

Justia cannot guarantee that the information on this website (including any legal information provided by an attorney through this service) is accurate, complete, or up-to-date. While we intend to make every attempt to keep the information on this site current, the owners of and contributors to this site make no claims, promises or guarantees about the accuracy, completeness or adequacy of the information contained in or linked to from this site.