Written by attorney Richard Glenn Elie

Two (2) Year Statute of Limitations on Cell Phone/Landline Bills or not?

Federal law supersedes state law in areas where the U.S. Government has dominated the field of regulation of communications carriers. This is based on the Supremacy Clause of the U.S. Constitution.

47 USC 415 governs the federal 2 year statute of limitations period for carriers to sue for money.

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This is a slippery slope issue. However, if the cell phone carrier attempts to collect federal taxes as part of its lawsuit, there is a possibility that the suit then gets tossed. If the carrier sues ONLY to collect its charges and no federal taxes or tariffs, then you have to rely on the state statute of limitations. There are two competing opinions regarding this issue. One says that it does not apply out of the 5th Circuit Court of Appeals. The other opinion argues that it does, but is not very analytical and that one comes out of the state of Illinois. Scrutinize the charges that are asserted as part of any lawsuit or claim. Then proceed from there. If there are any tariffs or federal taxes included in the bill, then its probably limited to 2 years. Do not automatically assume this is the only statute of limitations. Apply your state's SOL too.

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