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  1. #1
    FLGator1 is offline Junior Member
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    Letter Requesting Payment for Old Invoice

    FL

    Received a letter in the mail requesting payment on a two year old invoice (dated in 2006). We have purchased many items from this particular vendor but do not have any records of receiving these items (I should note our records were not that good back then either). We requested proof of delivery for these items of which the vendor could not provide.

    Without proof of delivery, do they have a leg to stand on to collect?

    Thanks for any and all help.
  2. #2
    cvdesign is offline Member
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    I'd be VERY cordial and say something to the effect of "I don't recall this purchase off hand ... is there anyway that I could please see a detailed invoice for accounting purposes?"

    Let them know that you are a large agency and need to know which employee made the purchase.
  3. #3
    FLGator1 is offline Junior Member
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    Well, unfortunately we are a very small agency and they have a record of who ordered the items (me). They have provided all detailed info except the proof that the items were delivered to us.

    We have been cordial and professional in our requests but curious to the underlying reason you stressed being CORDIAL (besides always being professional)?
  4. #4
    cvdesign is offline Member
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    Quote Originally Posted by FLGator1 View Post
    Well, unfortunately we are a very small agency and they have a record of who ordered the items (me). They have provided all detailed info except the proof that the items were delivered to us.

    We have been cordial and professional in our requests but curious to the underlying reason you stressed being CORDIAL (besides always being professional)?
    No offense was meant, really!! I really only meant to keep a light, friendly tone -- don't let them on that you doubt the veracity of their claim (for then, they might take some sort of action or be inclined to believe that you have no intention of paying -- not sure if you do or if you don't ... I'm just saying it doesn't hurt to keep things close to your vest, so to speak!).

    As to your being a small agency, that actually works ... let them know that while you're the one that actually ordered the item(s), you don't remember WHO you ordered them FOR. Unless they think/know that your agency consists of only two people (not saying it does, of course) they won't question that ...

    But again, I was NOT questioning your professionalism -- it was just my way of saying "pour on a little extra honey!"
  5. #5
    xylene is offline Senior Member
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    Did you not act when an ordered item did not arrive?

    Have they billed you previously?

    Do they claim to have billed you previously?
  6. #6
    FLGator1 is offline Junior Member
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    No offense taken at all!!! Just was curious if you had any other reason.

    If we got it, sure we should pay for it. However, this is 2 years later so I cannot recall any details on it at this point thus I cannot confirm no deny if we made any action on it (however, they allege that they do not have any notes on us calling to complain about the order but at the same time, they never billed us until 2 years later, so how reliable is that statement....plus how many times have notes not been entered on a call you made to customer service?).

    They have not billed us until now nor claim they have billed us in the past. It was discovered in an audit and they are sending out bills to everyone they "have not received payment from on past orders".

    Again, of course we should pay if we got it but at the same time why should we send them anything if we never received it. How do we confirm anything two years later if both our records are missing critical info? Is it up to them to prove receipt of goods on our end?
  7. #7
    las365 is offline Senior Member
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    What product is the invoice for? How much do they claim your company owes?
  8. #8
    FLGator1 is offline Junior Member
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    Approx $2,000 for electronics (printers, monitors, etc)
  9. #9
    cvdesign is offline Member
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    Quote Originally Posted by FLGator1 View Post
    No offense taken at all!!! Just was curious if you had any other reason.
    Good!

    No, no other reason ... just that I've found that sprinkling on a LOT of extra sugar (sue me, I'm southern! LOL!) often gets people to be more forthcoming with info than just being business-like.

    If we got it, sure we should pay for it. However, this is 2 years later so I cannot recall any details on it at this point thus I cannot confirm no deny if we made any action on it (however, they allege that they do not have any notes on us calling to complain about the order but at the same time, they never billed us until 2 years later, so how reliable is that statement....plus how many times have notes not been entered on a call you made to customer service?).
    Yeesh ... 2 YEARS later?? I have never, ever, heard of a company waiting for 2 years to bill someone. Never. 2 more years and I'm pretty sure that the debt would have been uncollectable (due to SoL).

    It does sound fishy to me ... 'specially when you consider the items -- printers, electronics and such -- tend to go obsolete by the time they've been shipped, so I'd think the average supplier would want their money THEN, not 2 years later.

    Okay, let me ask you this: YOU were the one who made the order, right? Do YOU remember EVER getting items that you didn't pay for? I mean, do you remember ever saying to yourself "Oh, wow!! I still have to pay for this!"?

    If you've got a good memory, and you don't remember saying that, you might not have bought it. Therefore, I'd question it.

    They have not billed us until now nor claim they have billed us in the past. It was discovered in an audit and they are sending out bills to everyone they "have not received payment from on past orders".
    Yikes. That's a really shoddy way of doing business. I wouldn't be surprised if half the unpaid bills were being sent to companies that don't even exist anymore.

    I wonder (and this is just me rambling) if the audit was caused or put into motion by suspicions of employee embezzlement or wrong-doing?

    Again, of course we should pay if we got it but at the same time why should we send them anything if we never received it. How do we confirm anything two years later if both our records are missing critical info? Is it up to them to prove receipt of goods on our end?
    I hope someone else more versed in this law pipes up ... me, I would tell them that SINCE it's been 2 years and SINCE they never bothered billing you until now, they need to provide some sort of proof ... perhaps just a tracking number that says something was delivered? Unless you have reason to not trust them?

    Honestly, I would think that the law would be on your side ... and do you mind if I ask: if they have NO proof or records of your purchase, how do they know that you made one?????? Just doesn't seem to add up, to me.
  10. #10
    FLGator1 is offline Junior Member
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    Yes, I was the one who ordered but we got a lot of stuff from this particular vendor. Our paperwork system was pretty poor back then so we just paid the bills as they came in. My memory's not so great (I was gifted with other talents I guess) so I don't recall any issues back then.

    The company is a VERY large company so clearly something went wrong somewhere. Who knows why they all of a sudden are billing everyone..allegedly. Perhaps sales are down enough for them to have the time to search for $$$, I don't know. Could have been a regular audit. In any case, I agree, TWO YEARS later you are billing us?

    My understanding of the SoL is they are still under the limit, but then again I'm asking for feedback from any experts out there. It would be my understanding, as in the case of challenging any charges on a credit card, they have the burden of proof of providing evidence that the items were delivered (and we have been paying our invoices by credit card on account with them). Any confirmations on this?
  11. #11
    cvdesign is offline Member
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    Dum-dee-dum-dum-DUM!

    ... on my part!

    Should have asked:
    Have you tried calling Florida's Dept of Consumer Affairs? They might be able to give you some good info on what your rights are, in this situation! They won't give you legal advice (what to do, really) but they can tell you what statute to look in for help!
    (1-800-HELP-FLA)

    Here's a statute that I found (unfortunately, since I don't know the arrangement you and your supplier had, I couldn't be more specific! But I'll keep looking!!):

    [url]http://www.flsenate.gov/statutes/index.cfm?App_mode=Display_Statute&Search_String=&URL=Ch0679/SEC210.HTM&Title=-%3E2007-%3ECh0679-%3ESection%20210#0679.210[/url]
    (Statute 679.210 Request for accounting; request regarding list of collateral or statement of account.)

    And per FL law, when you are contacted with a debt, you do have the right to demand proof -- in this case, I would assume it would be a PO or shipping receipt of some sort -- of your debt. Further than that, I don't know.

    How likely are you to need to do business with these people in the future? Do you still order with them? If so, even though (I do believe) you are in the right, they may refuse to sell to you after this, if you demand proof that they can't give.
  12. #12
    Zigner is offline Senior Member
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    If this really goes south (not saying it will), then you can count on this vendor no longer doing business with you...
    SoL applies in a "legal" sense. There is nothing to stop the vendor from saying "If you don't pay the 2 year old bill, then we will no longer sell to you". Also, there is nothing to stop the vendor from saying "All future shipments will be COD".
  13. #13
    FLGator1 is offline Junior Member
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    Thanks for the continued info. I did call Consumer Affairs but they cannot handle biz to biz transactions. They forwarded me to the Attorney General's office and, as you stated, they cannot give any legal advice but did give me the site with the Statutes, etc you pulled up.

    It may go south but I have just a little difficulty paying such a late invoice with no POD, not to mention the plain gall of anyone pulling something like this. If we lose the relationship, it will have minimal impact on our business and we'll move on.

    Thanks again for all of your help. If anyone else has any input, I'm all ears!
  14. #14
    debtcollector` is offline Senior Member
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    1. cvdesign is was misleading you

    You should return notify them that you can't cut a check on a stale-dated invoice without more information.

    You need:
    Purchase Order Number
    Bill of lading
    Delivery confirmation

    Without those docs -- the invoice cannot be paid. Talk to your accountant.

    DC
  15. #15
    cvdesign is offline Member
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    Quote Originally Posted by debtcollector` View Post
    1. cvdesign is was misleading you

    You should return notify them that you can't cut a check on a stale-dated invoice without more information.

    You need:
    Purchase Order Number
    Bill of lading
    Delivery confirmation

    Without those docs -- the invoice cannot be paid. Talk to your accountant.

    DC
    I said:
    And per FL law, when you are contacted with a debt, you do have the right to demand proof -- in this case, I would assume it would be a PO or shipping receipt of some sort -- of your debt. Further than that, I don't know.

    If they do have proof of the debt, they should pay it. It's what's right. But if they can't provide proof, I'd say not to pay -- UNLESS the business relationship is MORE important than the $$.

    I have several suppliers that, over a length of time, charge me far less than their competitors -- if I had to pay $2K to them for a "questioned" bill, I'd honestly consider it. Simply because their competition wouldn't make my life as easy as my current supplier does.

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