Court Holds Statute of Limitations for Telephone Bills is Only Two Years

A federal statute, 47 U.S.C. Section 415 (a), provides that the statute of limitations for civil actions to collect on unpaid telephone bills is two (2) years. Most state statute of limitations are much longer. California’s statute is four (4) years for debts based on contracts. New York’s law is six (6) years.

In an interesting decision, a trial court in Queens County, New York, recently held that the two year federal statute preempts state law. If the decision is upheld on appeal, a significant number of collection actions involving telephone bills will be subject to dismissal. The key factual question is whether more than two years have passed since there was any activity on the account.


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