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I recently bought a house and signed up for utilities. I then go to sign up for automatic payments on their webpage, and it says I owe over $400 from when my account was last active in 2004.

I know exactly where the $400 comes from, as in 2004 my friends and I rented a house together, and paid on an equal payment plan. When we left, the plan had $400 yet to be paid. I didn't find out about it until several months later when I went to join the marines and as part of the intake process they run a credit check on you. The $400 was showing up on my credit. So I call up my friends, they all chip in their share, and I pay the $400 bill. Unfortunately, this was paid out of my account with Washington Mutual, who both a) no longer exist, and b) my Chase account that was created when Washington Mutual went away was closed out years and years ago.

Everything I've read suggests that if I were sued over this bill, the statue of limitations on it would allow me to get the suit dismissed. Now, the utility company isn't suing me, they're just saying I never paid, and that I now have to pay.

What should I say to the utility company to get them to vacate this? I have no proof that it was paid, just an e-mail from one of my friends talking about when they would have their portion paid to me.

  • What state, please? (Washington state?) – Rocky Oct 22 '18 at 18:54
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    Many utility providers are governmental bodies where consumer protections may not apply. Was this utility provider a non-governmental company? – Shannon Severance Oct 22 '18 at 19:00
  • This is in Utah, for Dominion Energy, which is not governmental entity. – fishybell Oct 22 '18 at 22:17
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Can't pretend I have a complete answer, but perhaps you could use your credit history as proof of payment? It was on your credit report - did it come off when you paid it?

When I say proof, I don't mean proof in court, but something that will convince the accountants at the utility. There's always a chance that you can get a human to work with you. Maybe you can escalate past the unskilled folks who answer the phones to actual accountants who will have a lot more access to records.

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