Is there a statute of limitations on invoice collecting?

UPDATED: Sep 30, 2022

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Is there a statute of limitations on invoice collecting?

About 7 years ago, I filed for personal bankruptcy. Then, 6 years ago, I hired a stenographer to

assist me in a deposition during a child custody trail I was pro-se in. I explained to her my financial situation, she agreed anyway. The invoice was for $465. My intent was to pay, sadly things have gone from bad to worse. Currently my financial situation is stable but living check to check just to pay mortgage. I have explained this to her many times as she still calls me and sends invoices, now seeking interest on the original invoice. After 6 years can she still do this?

Asked on November 2, 2016 under Business Law, Massachusetts


SJZ, Member, New York Bar / FreeAdvice Contributing Attorney

Answered 6 years ago | Contributor

Someone can send you invoices, or call and ask you to pay, forever: the law does not put any limits on a person's or business's right to ask for payment. What it does do, however, is put a limit on how long they have to legally enforce the debt, by suing. In your state, the statute of limitations for a debt like this, based on agreement to work or provide services for pay, is 6 years; that is 6 years not from when the work was done but from when you failed to pay when you were supposed to. So if this occured 6 years ago, then since you would presumably not have had to pay immediately, but some weeks or months later, she would be able to sue you for up to 6 years after that point, and so likely still has some time left to sue. And, as stated, even when it's too late to sue, she can still keep invoicing you or asking you for the money--but you can simply ignore that once the statutory period runs out.

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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