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Electric bill responsibility Business Debt, Collections

Discussion in 'Other Debt, Collection, Garnishment' started by esp625, Feb 8, 2013.

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  1. esp625

    esp625 Law Topic Starter New Member

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    I sold a small business 6 years ago, but two years after I sold it, I received a bill from the electric company saying that I had an overdue bill I needed to pay for $17,000. I looked into what had happened, and turns out the electric account had not been changed over when I sold the company to the new owner and he had continued to pay the electricity bill under my name until he filed for bankruptcy two years after buying the business from me. I had no idea that the electricity account was still under my name for those two years and when I contacted the electricity company to tell them that I had sold the company two years prior, they said because the account was still under my name, I was responsible for it and that it was my fault that I had not changed the account over. I know for a fact that I called in to notify them of the change but they are saying that I have to have come in to sign the account over or faxed a written notice at the time which honestly I am not sure I did or was even informed of when I had made the phone call to notify them of the ownership change. I spoke with the new owner and he wrote a written notice to the electric company explaining the situation and that he takes full responsibility for the bill but the electric company is saying that they will not go after the new owner regardless. (It seems to me that they are unwilling to go after the new owner because he has already filed for bankruptcy and there is nothing to get from him and are unwilling to transfer the responsibility unto him.) This went on for two years until I faxed in all the documents I had proving that I was not responsible for the bill to the company lawyer and I didn't hear anything from them for two whole years until two months ago when I received the exact same "Final Notice" regarding the bill. I contacted them again and sent in the documents again but a month later, the debt had gone over to collections and now the collections company is asking me for the money.
    I am at a loss as to how anyone could ask someone that had nothing to do with anything to be responsible for something?
    In my limited ability to make an analogy, it's like someone sold his gun to someone else and in the process of changing ownership, something didn't go through or there was some mistake on someone's part and the gun was continually registered under the original owner's name. And for the next two years, the new owner of the gun goes out and harms someone with the gun and eventually the gun is found and the authorities come after the registered owner, who has not actually had possession of the gun for the past two years and tells him that he is responsible for the crime that has occurred with the gun because it was registered to him. Then, the person who committed the crime comes forth and confesses that it was him that committed the crime. Then, isn't it wrong for the authorities to say "Well, it doesn't matter who committed the crime; it only matters who the car was registered to so we're continually going to go after the registered owner."
    This is the kind of situation I feel I am stuck in. Maybe it was my fault that the change of ownership didn't somehow go through at the time of the business sale. But to demand that I pay for something that occurred two years after I sold the business over, even when the new owner is coming out to take full responsibility for it, doesn't seem fundamentally right, even though it may be supported by their "policy" that the registered owner is responsible.
    But maybe I'm wrong. Maybe I am responsible of paying $17,000 or $8,500 out of my pocket for electricity that I did not use.
    Any advice would be greatly appreciated.
    Thank you.
     
  2. mightymoose

    mightymoose Moderator

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    Check your credit report to make sure none of this is reflected there.If so, issue the appropriate disputes through credit agencies.
    If there is no blemish on your credit then you have nothing to worry about yet. Continue to dispute the bill from time to time when collections contact you. Don't argue with them or agree to pay anything. The more you do in writing and the less over the phone the better.
    If they do not sue you before the statute of limitations express then this will all go away in time. If they do bring a lawsuit then you can present all your documents to the court and let a judge decide.
    You don't have to pay a penny unless a judge orders you to.
     

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