How far in the past can a company request payment?

  benbawden 14:22 06 Oct 2005

Way back in April 04 I bought a hard drive from Simply Computers. Today I got a phone call from a company that took over Simply, claiming that the item was unpaid for. Apparently Simply didn't process my payment. Now I haven't kept my bank statements from that far in the past, and in fact, I'm pretty sure I paid for it on a credit card that no longer exists, so I've got no record to show I did pay for it.

I do remember seeing the invoice that came with the unit, and I'm pretty sure it said 'Paid'.

Firstly, presumably it's their responsibility to prove that I haven't paid rather than my responsibility to prove I have.

Secondly, assuming my payment was never processed, can they still demand payment, or has too much time passed?

Thanks in advance.

  ventanas 14:38 06 Oct 2005

I'm pretty certain that six months is the limit for card payments. That's what my bank told me a while back anyway. I had paid something by card and the amount was never debited. Also I hardly think a phone call is the correct way to deal with anything like this. It should have been put in writing. I would check with your bank just to be certain about the time limits. The burden of proof probably falls on the seller, but its always a good idea to keep all invoices and receipts, just in case. It should also still be possible to contact the card company and ask for a copy of your record, although they may charge for this.

  wiz-king 14:49 06 Oct 2005

If you have on-line access to your credit card you should be able to look up you statements for around that time. If not do as Ventanas said, contact your credit card company (if you can remember which one you were using at the time!) by letter.

  benbawden 15:04 06 Oct 2005

Thanks for the advice. If for some reason I can't get definitive proof that I did pay for it, where do I stand? Can I just tell them to get lost?

  ventanas 15:39 06 Oct 2005

In my view its a try on anyway, hence the phone call and no letter, so keeping it off the record.
I would wait and see if you hear anything else, and in the meantime do what you can to confirm my suspicion that there is a six month limit.

  benbawden 15:41 06 Oct 2005

I'll do that. Thanks for the advice everyone.

  Stuartli 16:24 06 Oct 2005

My offspring keeps accurate records of his Switch and other card payments.

If it's not been collected after six months (very rare actually) he knows he can delete the item.

I think the six month period also applies to most bank cheques from the issue date provided by the chequebook holder.

  €dstowe 16:24 06 Oct 2005

Strange company sending stuff out before payment has been received. No wonder they went up the wall.

I agree - it's a try on. If they claim it isn't, insist that everything is done in writing by post.

  24bitkid 16:25 06 Oct 2005

I had a case like this some years ago and I was told it comes down to your ability to show you have paid for it rather then theirs to prove you haven't.

But with the time involved - forget about it.

  Knikerbeine 17:40 06 Oct 2005

"there is no time limit for debts prior to 1 May 1997: after this date the time limit is three years and six months"

Extract from the debt recovery guidlines click here

Maybe ignoring it is not such a good idea.

  wee eddie 18:23 06 Oct 2005

Await documentation, accept Hard Copy only.

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