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It is standard practice of many financial service providers, in South Africa, at least to state on the bottom of their statement, something along the lines of:

Kindly check your statement and advise us of any incorrect entries within 30 (thirty) days of statement.

or

Unless a query is raised in respect of the contents of this bill within30 days from the date thereof, the contents shall be deemed to be correct.

They purport to say that after 30 days, you deem your charges correct and that no further action can be taken. Our customers have asked us for proof of delivery documents going back years related to billing and we comply - we like our customers.

I found a billing error that goes back quite some time and when raised, I was told that they are unable to pay due to the above clause. It is a very big corporate, so cashflow ($200) is unlikely to be the issue here.

In South Africa, prescription law notes that 3 (three) years is the limit with any debt - mostly. Not exactly in line, but same should apply.

As a friend mentioned, I can put anything I want on a statement to a customer, doesn't mean it is legal.

Is there any legal grounds in what they are saying, or are they taking a chance? Do I have legal grounds, as essentially I WAS overbilled.

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    What does your contract say? If you agreed to this in the contract, it’s probably legal.
    – Dale M
    Jun 22 at 0:13
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    As with many corporates, it is always subject to you agreeing to the terms and conditions, which can change at any time. In this case, the T&C says: "It is your responsibility to check your account regularly and report any discrepancies to us within 30 days of the date of your detection of the discrepancy.". Still doesn't answer whether it is legal to bill you incorrectly and not rectify it. Ultimately, it is now a debt due to me, which falls into prescriptive law. Jun 22 at 9:23
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    Often there are statutes that limit practices like this for consumers engaged in transactions for personal or household use, but not for business deals. I don't know if South Africa has such a law, however.
    – ohwilleke
    Jun 22 at 23:28

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