Sunday, June 30, 2019, 04:56 PM
Posted by Administrator
NOTE TO READERS (and this pertains to the entire blog): What is here reflects my understanding of Florida law. I don't intend to give legal advise. If you rely only on what you read here and don't investigate further, use common sense, and speak to a local lawyer if you have a lot at stake, drop me a line and let me know how it went. I would imagine, it did not go well. But, I'm frequently wrong.


I would like to take a few moments to rant about the OPEN ACCOUNT.

Here is the idea:
-You get a bill in the mail.
-You do not object to the bill.
-You do not pay.
-You get a collection letter.
-You do not object.
-You do not pay.

Then, one bright, sunny day, a process server knocks on your door and hands you a Summons and Complaint claiming you owe money. And, the claim is not that you didn't pay for your ER visit to the hospital; not that you ran up charges on your credit card and didn't pay for all of them; not that the drain cleaning company cleared your sink BUT that you received a bill and didn't object so you MUST owe the money. Why does it matter? Glad you asked.

It matters because, since the lawsuit is only on the OPEN ACCOUNT, based only upon the fact that you received a bill and did not likely won't be able to defend the claim by making a case that:
-The hospital overcharged.
-You didn't make all those credit card charges and you were overcharged for interest.
-The drain cleaning company charged twice the going rate------and you didn't agree to a higher-than-usual rate when the were hired.

The debt(s)accrued more than 4 or 5 years ago(and might be barred by the statute of limitations)? Nope. The courts will likely use the fiction that the debt accrued the most recent time you didn't object to a bill.

Is this unfair? The answer is beyond my pay grade. It makes it easier for creditors to collect money they say is owed......less to prove up and more time to bring a suit. It opens the way for collection agency to revive old debt and to get around laws that say they waited too long to sue.

Also, for those people (and entities---corporations, for instance) that owe, it takes away a lot of super-great defenses, especially if you believe that providers tend to overcharge (when they can get away with it). It also changes which party to the lawsuit has the burden of proof. Does the plaintiff have to prove up the reasonableness of their bill to prevail or will the defendant lose unless they can prove that they're not the person the bill was intended to be sent to? ALL THE PLAINTIFF HAS TO PROVE IS that it send the bill and the defendant did not object. Easy. Right?

ANYWAY, IF YOU GET A BILL THAT YOU AREN'T WILLING/ABLE TO PAY------DISPUTE IT. Don't lie (because it is bad to lie) but, if you can, say:
-I don't owe the money.
-You overcharged me.
-The bill is unreasonable.
-You didn't provide the service you claim I owed for.
Keep a copy of the letter. Bring it with you to court.

Then, after a successful morning in court, think to yourself: "That entry OPEN ACCOUNT was a boring read. But, I'm glad I suffered through it."

You're welcome.

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