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LawTalk, Attorney
Category: Legal
Satisfied Customers: 37855
Experience:  I am a practicing attorney with more than 3 decades of experience in the legal field.
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How much time, legally, do I have to pay a bill from the time

Customer Question

How much time, legally, do I have to pay a bill from the time I receive it? I had a home ins. policy that was sent out on the 15th of each month-I confirmed this with them. It would get
to me about 5 days later, on about the 20th. The due date was 10 days later, which would give ME 5 days to pay it and send it considering the time it took to get it there on time. I received many late payment fees because I'm paid every two weeks and that didn't coincide with getting the money there on time.
I cancelled the policy, and now they are after me for late fees and last month not paid.
So what is the legal rule on how much time I have to pay a bill, and is there a law on how much time you have after a due date to actually incur the late fee?
Submitted: 7 years ago.
Category: Legal
Expert:  LawTalk replied 7 years ago.
Good morning,

I'm sorry to hear of your dilemma.

While there are new laws for credit cards going into effect on Feb. 22, 2010 which will effectively mandate that cardholders have at least 21 days to pay the bill, these new laws have not yet crept into everyday business installment payments.

The fact that you knew that your insurance payment was going to be due on a specific date--and presumably you also knew how much the bill would be, the fact that the paper statement arrived 10 days before the payment was due will not give you a legal defense to the failure of your timely payment, I'm afraid.

Also, I'm sorry, but the fact that you didn't have the money to pay the bill when it arrived is never a valid defense to not paying the bill. The law expects you to budget your money so that you pay your bills on time.

I'm afraid that if the insurance company seeks payment from you of the late fees, if push comes to shove and you are sued, then you will lose. More importantly, if you don't pay the late fees, the insurance company can legally file a report which impacts your credit score for years to come.

I wish you the best in 2010.

Thank you very much for having allowed me to assist you. It would be greatly appreciated if you would click the green Accept icon so that I can receive credit for having assisted you.

Best regards,