Are we obligated to pay these invoices even though they were never invoiced at the time of service?

8 months ago

Our landscaper suddenly sent us 3 invoices for work he has done almost 4 years ago. The invoices are dated for January 2020. We don’t remember if we paid or not. We have no debt and pay all bills immediately upon receipt. We also pay him automatically monthly. He is billing us for random things and extras work that we did have done. He has handled our yard for 9 years and this has never happened. My husband would have paid by credit card for the extra work but he likes to change credit cards because he collects points for travel, so to hunt down which one he was using back then would be very difficult. We want to be fair but even health care has laws in place to protect consumers from late billing. This just seems out of place. Please help… You thoughts?

Senior Legal Associate Levelset
472 reviews

It makes sense that a landscaper might try to get paid for invoices that are closing in on 4 years since the Texas statute of limitations on claiming a debt on account is 4 years. This is set out here at § 16.004(3). So, if more than 4 years passes before a debt is paid, then the unpaid party will no longer be entitled to pursue a claim on that debt. Meaning, debts getting close to 4 years in age could lead to some scrambling before the deadline.

As for whether you’re obligated to make payment – that would come down to whether payment has actually been made on the debt. If payment was made on that invoice, then there’s no obligation to make additional payment. But, if payment hasn’t been made, then it’d be required. Granted, if the 4-year mark is closing in, the unpaid party may struggle to bring some sort of recovery claim. Though, that’s no way to do business – so, it’d probably be wise to try and uncover whether or not payment was actually made. As inconvenient as that may be, going through old records could provide a lot of help here. Further, asking the claimant for invoicing records around that time – including the allegedly missing payment – could help, too. They might provide some insight into how payment was being made around that time.

Disclaimer: The information presented here is not legal advice and should not be construed as such. Rather, this content is provided for informational purposes. Do not act on this information as if it is advice. Further, this post does not create any attorney-client relationship. If you do need legal advice, seek the help of a local attorney.
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