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Topic # 132345 18-Oct-2013 14:05
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4 years ago, I purchased a projector, and screen. 

A guy came out late one night very close to Xmas and installed it for me. 

I never got an invoice, so chased up, made sure he had the correct address. 

I have just replaced said projector, and contacted the recommended installer by the shop who sold it, who referred it on to the original installer who said he would be happy
to come and install the new one. 

He came today, installed the new projector and left an invoice for $790, $200 for today, and $600 for the original install from 2009.

The invoice is more than I would have expected or have been happy to pay originally $600, but futhermore he hasn't contacted me for 4 years, I never got an invoice etc. 

Do I just pay it and move on with my life?

He did do the work, he did a good job, and he did it late at night near xmas, but I am struggling to digest an invoice of this size, especially after 4 years. 





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  Reply # 917023 18-Oct-2013 14:16
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What did he do on the original job? Run cables? Roof mounts? Screen installation?

Does the invoice have detailed costs per item?  How long as he there for?

Did he do any sparkie work? (or is he a registered electrician)?

What he supply any brackets, etc?

Depending on what he did, it could be reasonable, but yeah it still a bit.  If he did all the above (i.e. you bought it, he set up everything) then it doesn't sound so bad.

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  Reply # 917036 18-Oct-2013 14:40
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Holy... If I left four years to invoice my clients and get paid I wouldn't have a business. How does he get going?

Yes, rethorical question, but still...




 
 
 
 




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  Reply # 917041 18-Oct-2013 14:47
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freitasm: Holy... If I left four years to invoice my clients and get paid I wouldn't have a business. How does he get going?

Yes, rethorical question, but still...


Yah I am really torn. I could never invoice my customers that far down the track.  He did the work, but I didn't budget to get a bill for $600 out of the blue and he made no mention of it prior to arriving. 

It's not like he did not know where I lived or how to get hold of me. 

It seems a little naff/cheeky, but he did do the job. 



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  Reply # 917045 18-Oct-2013 14:50
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Yea. Cant believe this.
But I think its still morally right to pay it.

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  Reply # 917048 18-Oct-2013 14:57
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Wait 4 more years to pay.

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  Reply # 917055 18-Oct-2013 15:02
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AINAL, but......

there are two issues here

1) the lateness of the invoice

2) the invoice being more than you expected



With 1), there may be a statute of limitations on invoicing of around six years, if NZ follows the legal system of the UK (which for the most part it does), so this means he is well within his rights to invoice you for the work done

With 2) if no price indication for something was agreed for a service (i.e. no quote, verbal or written) then I believe tradesmen may only charge a 'reasonable' amount for work done. There is quite a broad definition for 'reasonable'. An install for a projector, where you requested it to be outside normal hours, and took him a few hours and some hardware (cables etc) is probably within the realms of resonable for $600.

The reasonable clause is to stop massive extortion e.g. you ask a sparky to come out and change a lighbulb and he charges $500 or something.

I would ask him for the details of the $600. Provided it is for genuine costs (labour + parts) and not for any sort of late payment penalty or anything then you should pay it, but if he is trying to add extra stuff on for lateness then I would dispute those as you had not been invoiced.

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  Reply # 917061 18-Oct-2013 15:07
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NonprayingMantis: AINAL, but......



Grammar Police (or is is acronym police) - it is IANAL..... unless you mean something completely different???!!?

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  Reply # 917067 18-Oct-2013 15:19
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NonprayingMantis:

With 1), there may be a statute of limitations on invoicing of around six years, if NZ follows the legal system of the UK (which for the most part it does), so this means he is well within his rights to invoice you for the work done

With 2) if no price indication for something was agreed for a service (i.e. no quote, verbal or written) then I believe tradesmen may only charge a 'reasonable' amount for work done. There is quite a broad definition for 'reasonable'. An install for a projector, where you requested it to be outside normal hours, and took him a few hours and some hardware (cables etc) is probably within the realms of resonable for $600.

The reasonable clause is to stop massive extortion e.g. you ask a sparky to come out and change a lighbulb and he charges $500 or something.

I would ask him for the details of the $600. Provided it is for genuine costs (labour + parts) and not for any sort of late payment penalty or anything then you should pay it, but if he is trying to add extra stuff on for lateness then I would dispute those as you had not been invoiced.


Ummm this might not make any sense but we were caught with number 2 on this one. We had a written estimate for some work and told the person to proceed. They gave us no indication that the price was changing but then delivered an invoice that was a 300% increase on the estimate.

Everyone we talked to said what you are indicating so they ended up taking us to court. The court found that they were responsible for errors which resulted in the price blowing out and that they never communicated this increase to us but because they did the work that we had to pay everything including their court costs. Not a fun lesson that unless you have a piece of paper that says "Fixed price quote" that it's the wild west.

As far as invoice dates I believe that these can be chased in court up to 5 years but this my be more.

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  Reply # 917071 18-Oct-2013 15:25
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wow thats interesting so will be interesting to get the varied thoughts on it.

From my perspective I'd feel pretty guilty but would probably be up front and say its been a long time and the amount is more than I thought so can we reach an amicable arrangement as he maybe a bit embarrassed by it, or not.




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  Reply # 917073 18-Oct-2013 15:29
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jeffnz: wow thats interesting so will be interesting to get the varied thoughts on it.

From my perspective I'd feel pretty guilty but would probably be up front and say its been a long time and the amount is more than I thought so can we reach an amicable arrangement as he maybe a bit embarrassed by it, or not.


Yah I mean I would have expected at the very least for him to mention it prior to coming out a second time. If he seemed embarrassed them I would have paid. 

I had a similar situation where an invoice to a customer ended up misplaced, and it was for $1300 + GST, for work I had done. 

I went to them and said, "look I know this looks bad, this is how the situation got like this, it's our mistake, would you pay $1000 as a compromise". They weren't happy about the situation but appreciated the way I handled it, and paid the $1300.

I have sent him a message saying I was unpleasantly surprised and asked for a copy of the invoice, have paid for todays work, and will see what the invoice states. It's probably okish as an invoice amount, just more than I expected. 

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  Reply # 917083 18-Oct-2013 15:40
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Klathman:

Ummm this might not make any sense but we were caught with number 2 on this one. We had a written estimate for some work and told the person to proceed. They gave us no indication that the price was changing but then delivered an invoice that was a 300% increase on the estimate.

Everyone we talked to said what you are indicating so they ended up taking us to court. The court found that they were responsible for errors which resulted in the price blowing out and that they never communicated this increase to us but because they did the work that we had to pay everything including their court costs. Not a fun lesson that unless you have a piece of paper that says "Fixed price quote" that it's the wild west.

As far as invoice dates I believe that these can be chased in court up to 5 years but this my be more.


There's a significant legal difference between "charged more than an estimate" and "charged more than a reasonable amount". An estimate is also different than a quote.

For example, a particular job might be expected to cost, on average, $300. If Joe gives you a written estimate of $100, but ends up charging $250, you won't have much recourse. If, however, Joe tried to charge you $600, you would have recourse. It's not only significantly more than his estimate, but is significantly more than "a reasonable amount" for the work done. If, however, he had estimated $600 in the first place, it'd be tough luck, you knew beforehand.

However, if Joe gave you a written quote for $100, then tries to charge $250 without communicating in the interim that there will be a reasonable cause for the increase, tough to Joe. He quoted $100, then tried to charge more. He can't.

Legally, they cannot charge more than quoted, unless they discuss with you at the time it becomes apparent to them (or as soon as practical) that additional work beyond the original quote is required to complete the task, and you agree.

They can, however, charge more than an estimate, provided the amount is still 'reasonable' for the work done.

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  Reply # 917096 18-Oct-2013 16:06
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The biggest problem is what the legal definition of reasonable is. As far as I'm able to determine this is decided by the judge that you get on the day if it goes that far. There is no percentage increase allowance or comparison to other vendors as these were all stated as being irrelevant in our case.

Going back to the original question though yes they can legally charge you and I believe they would be able to enforce the invoice. They my lose some goodwill in doing so but they would be within their rights.

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  Reply # 917107 18-Oct-2013 16:36
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I would front it up, unless you are the sort of person that can sleep with that.

Else, return everything for a negotiated sum.


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  Reply # 917167 18-Oct-2013 19:00
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Had the same thing with a lawyer but was only 6 months.  Got him to look at a house sale and purchase contract and a little chat, wasn't very long.  Didn't go through with the house purchase, but then we bought a house 6 months later and noticed that the time was billed from the first contract.  Fair enough but was a little shocked.  Paid it and thought nothing of it afterwards.
I would just be up front with him and just ask why? he may have a really good excuse and you may even be able to barter him down a little.  Technically he did the job and should be paid, i would think the small claims court would be in his favour as well.

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  Reply # 917171 18-Oct-2013 19:06
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If you feel the amount is reasonable, I would pay it. If you don't, then I'd dispute/query the amount.

For me, the lateness doesn't really matter too much.. I'd feel obligated to pay for the service that was provided (albeit a long time ago).

With that said, if you disputed the amount and he was not reasonable, then you'd certainly have additional grounds to bargain with.

Interesting situation. Good luck with it. ;)




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