Do all bills need to be paid, or are there any types of bills that do not need to be paid at all?

Here are some examples that I can think of:

  • A bill that claims a service that I never received.
  • A bill that is too old.
  • An unfair bill.
  • 3
    This question feels too broad. There are an almost an infinite number of bills you should not pay... For products you didn't order, bills not addressed to you... Try and be more specific on what kind of bills you are thinking of not paying, that would make this question better.
    – Vality
    Aug 16 '19 at 15:44
  • 2
    Also define "need". You never "have" to pay any bill. There just may be consequences to not paying.
    – GendoIkari
    Aug 16 '19 at 18:49
  • @Gendolkari, I mean, by not paying the bill, there is no consequence whatsoever.
    – Zuriel
    Aug 16 '19 at 19:38

Sure, there are all kinds of reasons why you may not be legally obligated to pay a bill.

The most obvious would be if the bill is fraudulent. If I sent you a bill for a product that I had never sent you and that you never ordered, that's pure fraud, and you are certainly not obligated to pay it.

If we had an agreement but you are not satisfied that I lived up to my part, that's more complicated. Like if, say, I said I'd repair your car for $500, and I really did some work but that car is still not running correctly, you have grounds to dispute the bill, but you can't just refuse to pay and suppose that that will be the end of it. IF you can't work it out with the other party, your only legal recourse is to go to court. (Or maybe some form of binding arbitration.)

In the United States, there is a statute of limitations on how long someone can wait to collect a bill. In my state of Michigan, for example, someone to whom you owe money in general has 10 years to bring a lawsuit against you. If they wait more than 10 years, there's nothing they can legally do to force you to pay. (Don't rely on this number, I'm just using it for an example. There are special cases and different categories and whatever.)

I just got married last year and a debt collector apparently found out and I guess figured I might have more money than she did, and so sent us a bill for a 30 year old debt contracted by her first husband whom she divorced like 20 years ago. There was some fine print on the bill that said that the statute of limitations had expired and so if we didn't pay they could not sue us or hurt our credit rating. (I'm guessing they were required by law to say this and didn't include it just because they wanted to be nice.) If it was for something that was really for her, maybe I would have felt morally obligated, but it was for something her ex had bought for himself. So we just ignored it and have heard nothing further.

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