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Incorrect invoice I don't want to pay

(15 Posts)
Tz1a Mon 17-Oct-16 21:42:01

As part of my job at a school I received a verbally agreed discount off my child's school fees. I became unhappy with some of the changes at school and decided to withdraw him. I was told that if I did that, then I would no longer have a job - the contracts were renewed yearly. 2 weeks before the end of term I gave a term's notice for my son and gave a 6 week notice for myself(my contract did not have a notice period). After the break (4 weeks later) I recieved the invoice for my son including my staff discount for that last term. I assumed that as I was working some of that last term that they had kindly applied the discount to the whole term. I went back and worked the last 2 weeks of my notice. On my last day I paid in full that invoice for the summer term for my son. I have now been contacted by the school saying they made a mistake in applying that discount and that the invoice had been prepared before I handed in my notice. They have sent 2 letter (which I ignored) and have now passed it onto debt collectors. How should I approach this please? Any helpful advice appreciated.

Creampastry Mon 17-Oct-16 22:00:57

Presumably if you weren't employed there then you pay full price? What wS the time difference between handing in notice and receiving the invoice? Days or weeks?

PotteringAlong Mon 17-Oct-16 22:02:07

I think you should approach it by paying the fees you owe them.

Tz1a Mon 17-Oct-16 22:29:48

3-4 weeks time difference between handing in notice and getting invoice, Creampastry.

Tz1a Mon 17-Oct-16 22:31:32

And I didn't pay it until 3 weeks after receiving it.

andintothefire Tue 18-Oct-16 00:17:15

It sounds as though there may be a dispute about what was verbally agreed. If you want to challenge the debt, you should write a letter to the school and debt collectors stating that you dispute the charges and that it wasn't what was agreed. You should also state that they have no right to call in debt collectors over a private disputed debt.

However, you need to be very clear about what was agreed. Was it simply that you would only be entitled to a discount while you worked at the school? If so, you might find it difficult to defend the claim if you had left the school for part of your son's attendance there. However, ultimately they will need to start legal proceedings and prove that you owe the debt. They might not want to do that. It is not a defence that they sent you the wrong invoice.

Another alternative is, at the same time, to write a letter headed "without prejudice save as to costs" and make an offer to pay part of the sum they are demanding.

I am not an employment lawyer, but have you also considered taking advice on whether you have a case for constructive dismissal? At the very least it might be a bargaining chip if you can threaten it.

OlennasWimple Tue 18-Oct-16 00:22:30

Hang on - you were told that if you withdrew your son from the school you would be sacked?? Definitely get some advice on this

On the invoice, don't ignore letters - they won't go away! What is the different in cost between what you have paid and what they are asking for?

Collaborate Tue 18-Oct-16 07:39:50

You should also state that they have no right to call in debt collectors over a private disputed debt.

Yes they do. They are simply asking someone to call round to see the OP to ask her to settle the debt. Nothing in law to prevent that.

topcat2014 Tue 18-Oct-16 08:16:22

I would have expected the discount stop at the end of your last week of employment.

Did it stop before this? - if so I think you have a valid claim.

I would not expect the discount to carry on to the end of term after you left.

In any event, I would pay the discounted total for the term - as that is the minimum amount payable. You have no reason for witholding that.

I imagine private schools are quite experienced in debt collection to be honest.

Coconutty Tue 18-Oct-16 08:22:23

Message withdrawn at poster's request.

LIZS Tue 18-Oct-16 08:39:36

You need to check the terms of your employment regarding the discount. If it applies only if you are employed for the whole of the relevant term or prorata if you leave mid term then surely you owe them the balance regardless of when you paid. Be careful, if you are moving your dc to another private school the reference may include confirmation that fees are paid up to date.

donkir Tue 18-Oct-16 08:52:28

As it has been referred to debt collectors then by law you have to pay it. They will escalate it and you'll end up paying more. Once it's paid then you can go to court with all your evidence and hopefully get the money back.
Please don't ignore the debt collectors it will only get worse.

Collaborate Tue 18-Oct-16 09:03:21

As it has been referred to debt collectors then by law you have to pay it.

No, you don't. You only have to pay it if you are contractually obliged to. Getting debt collectors involved is another way of asking you to pay.

As LIZS posts, check your contract pdf employment, and check your contract for education.

andintothefire Tue 18-Oct-16 15:27:45

Collaborate - I don't think I was very clear in my post (late at night!) but I thought that a disputed debt was not allowed to be collected by debt collection agencies. It's only an undisputed debt that can be enforced. The Financial Ombudsman Service can look into any complaints.

Collaborate Tue 18-Oct-16 23:11:27

Debt collectors are "enforcing" a debt. they are simply people who go round and ask debtors to pay up. they have no powers at all. They can still try and collect a disputed debt, but in practice they won't as it's a waste of time.

I think you might be confusing debt collectors with county court bailiffs or high court sheriffs officers.

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