Citizens Advice Column: How can I make my ex pay his huge phone bill?By Laura Herbert
March 05, 2013
Q: I split up with my husband and he moved out. Before he left he ran up a large phone bill by calling lots of premium sites and now the phone company is chasing me to pay the bill.
Although the account is for my address, my name is not on it – only my husband’s. Is there any way I can get him to pay this large bill?
A: Responsibility for paying the phone bill depends on who signed the contract. Some service providers only allow one person to take out a contract, while others will allow contracts to be taken out in joint names.
Sometimes disputes about bills can happen when a relationship ends and someone moves out.
With partners and spouses, only the person who signed the contract and has their name on the account is the one who is legally responsible for paying it.
As the account is in your husband’s name and he left without paying the bill, then you are not legally responsible for the debt unless you are/were a joint account holder.
As your service provider is chasing you for the unpaid bill, and your name is not on the bill, you should write to the service provider.
Remind them you are not a named account holder and are therefore not legally liable for your husband’s debts.
The provider will have to chase your husband for the unpaid money.
If the account had been in your name and someone else has used your phone, internet or TV and run up an expensive bill, you would still be responsible for paying it.
If you want to get the money back, you would have to try and get the person who made the calls to give it back to you. So, if this is likely to happen make sure you have contact details for the person in case they become hard to find.
If someone has used a premium rate service to make calls on your landline or mobile phone, you could try getting in touch with PhonepayPlus at www.phonepayplus.org.uk.
They may be able to help you claim back some of the money for the calls, but you might find it difficult to persuade PhonepayPlus that your phone was used without your permission.
n You can get help, information and advice from your local Citizens Advice Bureau or visit www.adviceguide.org.uk or contact Wokingham CAB at First Floor, 26-28 Market Place, Wokingham, RG40 1AP. Tel: 0844 499 4126. Website: www.wokingham-cab.org.uk email: email@example.com.
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