Statute of Limitations

I moved to Astoria three weeks after I moved to NY.  I subletted at the first place for four months before moving down the street permanently (well, until I decide to move, that is).  Four months after I moved out (last May) I got an email from a guy who used to live at the apartment I subletted, but who had moved out shortly before I moved in.  Basically it said that the cable had been billed to his account for all four months because no one had switched the names, and no one had been collecting money for it, so I owed him four months of cable.  It came out to $148.

After talking to Em, K, my mom, and listening to my own instincts, I decided to ignore the email and not pay.  After all, when I agreed to stay there, I was told I’d pay rent plus $90 a month, which I assumed covered ConEd and cable.  Also, I didn’t exactly believe this guy’s story.  I mean, if your account is the account being billed that means that every single month you have to collect money from your roommates to offset the cost.  That isn’t the sort of thing you just “forget” about for 8 months (the 4 that I lived there and the 4 it took him to send the email).  And if you didn’t switch the name on the account when you moved and didn’t notice for 8 months, that is, again, not my problem.  Idk, to me this is like if I agreed to rent a hotel room for $70 a night, but when I checkout they tell me it’s really $90 because of undisclosed fees.  Not cool.

So you’re probably wondering why I’m telling this story now when it happened over a year ago.  Well, when I checked the mail tray this morning, there was a letter addressed to me from none other than that very same guy!  16 months after I moved out, he’s still trying to collect his precious $148.  Granted, the letter is well-written and polite, so I feel kind of bad ignoring it, but it’s been 16 months!  I thought 4 months was too long, so why would I pay now?  In the letter he did say that it would be great if I could do installments if I couldn’t pay all at once, or that he would “understand” if being a student meant I didn’t have money now, he just “wanted to be sure that he had reached me.”

Idk, like I said, I do feel a twinge of guilt because he seems nice and I’ve never not paid something I legit owe (meaning that I would have paid it with no problem if I’d known about it beforehand) but it’s not my fault that he’s fiscally irresponsible and/or absent-minded.  I mean, it sucks for him that he now has to foot my (small) portion of the bill, but let this be a lesson that when you screw up with your money, it’s no one’s responsibility to pay but your own 😉


One Response to “Statute of Limitations”

  1. thenakedlistener Says:

    I make no representations but the timebarring in your kind of situation is generally three years – your mileage may vary depending on your state. Timebars in contract law are pretty much the same all over the world.

    In case you wonder, I bought my home about 10 years ago, but I still have repo men coming to me for outstanding mortgage by the last mortgagee. Ten years…

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