I recently received an invoice from a company requesting immediate payment. The due date on the invoice was before the issue date of the invoice and I received the invoice around 10 days after that date, making the invoice already 11 days past due on receipt.

This was from an estate management company. Your typical shady scumbags that plague every recently built housing estate in the UK.

Today I received a letter from a collections company for non payment, threatening adminstration fees higher than the amount owed.

I have no issues making payment, but considering they are completely incompetent and take months to resolve issues or simply ignore emails I'm wondering if I can refuse payment on the grounds that the invoice is invalid?

Is the invoice invalid if the due date falls in the past?

  • 3
    As a practical matter, it seems unlikely that the cost in terms of your time and credit score are worth it to argue that the invoice is invalid when your best case outcome is that they re-issue the invoice and you pay it. Does the debt actually even require an invoice or was the invoice a courtesy? If your rental contract, for example, says that you owe $x on the first of every month, the company is generally under no obligation to send you an invoice every month. Sep 7 '20 at 12:29
  • It's complicated, it's part of the land registration document (that states you're the legal owner of the property) that they have the legal right to charge you, but the amount is variable and depends on many factors. However, it doesn't affect my credit score to challenge it. I realise I'll have to pay then eventually, I just wanted to give them a hard time over it 🙂
    – Philio
    Sep 7 '20 at 19:31

IANAL and I don't live in the UK, so I can't speak to specific UK law.

But just speaking from common sense: You imply that the invoice is for a valid expense. At least, if they were billing you for some work they never did or that you never agreed to, I presume you would have brought that up rather than just talking about the dates.

In the US, it's not uncommon for an invoice to have a date after the due date if it is not the first time you were billed. If, say, someone did work for you in, say, January, then typically in early February they will send you a bill saying it is due in late February or early March. If you don't pay, then in March they'll send you another bill saying it's past due. So the March bill may be dated March 11 but show a due date of March 1. This is totally ordinary on a late bill.

If the very first bill they sent you was mailed after the due date, you may or may not have some argument against being required to pay late fees. If the bill is legitimate -- if they really did do this work and you agreed to this price -- then you should certainly pay the amount of the bill. You might dispute late fees based on the dates, but that's not grounds to dispute the original bill.

As I say, I don't live in the UK and I don't claim to know UK law. But I would be very, very surprised is a court were to rule that you don't owe for a legitimate service because someone made a mistake and put the wrong date on a bill.

  • What you said makes a lot of sense. These companies are practically a scam, they do a deal with the property developers and are responsible for maintenance of the estate like cutting the grass. They often impose exorbitant fees and charges that are illegal in many other business sectors. I've successfully legally challenged one in the past but I have no real issue this time other than a technicality so I guess I'm paying 😂
    – Philio
    Sep 7 '20 at 19:26

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