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Clyde2010

Impossible Invoice

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on 1/1/2017, I received my daughter's sorority invoice. It was due 1/10. I immediately mailed it, as the invoice stated "if mailing, allow 5-7 business days for receiving and processing". As 1/2/2017 was a national holiday, and with weekend days, there were not 5-7 business days available before the due date noted on the invoice. My check cleared on 1/11, and I was assessed a late fee. The sorority will not budge, saying it's my fault it was late. As the invoice itself provided a mailing option, and the recommended time for receiving the check and processing it was not possible, do I have a legitimate issue/case? 

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Sure.

 

But if the sorority won't budge what do expect to be able to do about it?

 

Refuse to pay? Get your daughter kicked out? Sue?

 

Sometimes the practical stuff outweighs the legal stuff.

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42 minutes ago, Clyde2010 said:

on 1/1/2017, I received my daughter's sorority invoice.

 

What the heck is a "sorority invoice," and why was it addressed to you if it was your daughter's invoice?

 

 

43 minutes ago, Clyde2010 said:

As the invoice itself provided a mailing option, and the recommended time for receiving the check and processing it was not possible, do I have a legitimate issue/case?

 

No (although insisting on a late fee when the payment is only a day late is pretty douchy).  Needless to say, the statement on the invoice about allowing enough time for mailing was nothing more than a practical suggestion.  Since you obviously knew that "the recommended time for receiving the check and processing it was not possible," mailing the payment by regular mail was ill-advised.

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on 1/1/2017, I received my daughter's sorority invoice. It was due 1/10. I immediately mailed it, as the invoice stated "if mailing, allow 5-7 business days for receiving and processing". As 1/2/2017 was a national holiday

 

And January 1 was a Sunday and a holiday.  It sounds like someone received it before that.

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27 minutes ago, AdjunctFL said:
3 hours ago, Clyde2010 said:

on 1/1/2017, I received my daughter's sorority invoice.

 

And January 1 was a Sunday and a holiday.  It sounds like someone received it before that.

 

Good point.  The only way for you to have received it on 1/1/17 would have been if someone personally handed it to you or sent it by a private courier service (such as Fedex) that allowed for Sunday/holiday delivery.  So...by what means did you receive it on 1/1/17?

 

Also...

 

3 hours ago, Clyde2010 said:

As 1/2/2017 was a national holiday, and with weekend days, there were not 5-7 business days available before the due date noted on the invoice.

 

From January 3, 2017 to January 10, 2017 was 5 business days.

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Just to clarify, the invoice was "auto-emailed" by their system on 1/1/2017. And yes, there are 5 business days between January 3 and January 10th (5, not  the "5-7 business days" they recommended). And finally, I receive the invoice every month, because a) my daughter is on a semester abroad in Spain,  2) and she only lives in Kentucky part of the year, and 3) has changed residence a couple of times (dorm, apartment, apartment that would rent for a partial semester). 

 

The fee is not the issue, it's the principle. The sorority has done this before as well; emailed an invoice, and then due to mailing and processing times, deemed it late and assessed a fee. My question is not about the morality, nor the practicality of this fight, it's simply about the legality; can a vendor issue an invoice, print on the invoice mailing instructions that are not achievable, and assess a late fee? If I receive a credit card bill I have plenty of time to write the check, mail it, and have no issue. My assumption on receipt of the invoice came true; there was no way to achieve the written instructions without penalty. If this is legal, why don't other vendors do the same thing and stuff their coffers with late fees? What prevents all vendors from doing this? I would assume Visa could make billions by mailing statements with due dates that could not be met. 

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2 hours ago, Clyde2010 said:

can a vendor issue an invoice, print on the invoice mailing instructions that are not achievable, and assess a late fee?

 

Yes.  The "instructions" to which you refer are nothing but practical recommendations.  It doesn't say, "allow 5-7 business days for receiving and processing and, if you mail payment at least five business days before the due date, it will be regarded as timely paid, regardless of when we receive it," right?

 

 

2 hours ago, Clyde2010 said:

If I receive a credit card bill I have plenty of time to write the check, mail it, and have no issue.

 

Sure.  However, it's not unheard of for credit card invoices to get lost in the mail or for mail to take an inordinate amount of time to be delivered.  The fact here is that you knew at the time you mailed the payment that there were only five or six business days (depending on whether Saturday -- a day on which mail is picked up and delivered -- counts as a "business day").  You therefore also knew that there was some chance that payment wouldn't be received on time.  I'm assuming that, somewhere in the documents that govern your daughter's membership in this sorority, it says something about these payments (whatever they're for) needing to be received by the due date and that, if they're not, a late fee will be assessed.  It therefore is the payor's responsibility to ensure that payment is received by the due date and, if there are only a few days remaining before the due date, paying by mail may be ill-advised.  Rather than relying on the notoriously unreliable U.S. Postal Service, you could have sent it by some form of guaranteed overnight or two-day delivery.  All of this is equally applicable to credit cards, by the way, except that most major credit card issuers will actually allow for a grace period if the payment is postmarked before the due date.

 

 

2 hours ago, Clyde2010 said:

If this is legal, why don't other vendors do the same thing and stuff their coffers with late fees?

 

Because most folks are smart enough not to trust the mail with a payment being sent shortly before the due date.  Also, credit card issuers are subject to innumerable laws and regulations that have no application whatsoever to sororities.

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PG1067, thanks for the reply. I guess I don't agree with you; why include in your invoice the term "5-7 business days" and then provide a due date that does not provide the necessary time you just mentioned? Isn't it fraudulent to expressly state on an invoice ANYTHING that isn't possible in terms of customer payment? And don't vendors have some responsibility in terms of their due dates and invoicing? Otherwise, why wouldn't vendors issue invoices 2 days before their due knowing they can assess financing and late fees? I guess it comes down to this; is a vendor responsible for the accuracy of their invoice? 

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8 minutes ago, Clyde2010 said:

I guess I don't agree with you

 

Don't agree with me about what?  My responses have all been legally correct, and if you were not prepared to accept a response that isn't favorable to you, then I have to wonder why you would have posted here in the first place.  I did make some other comments that don't directly bear on the legal issue, so you obviously can accept or reject those as you see fit.

 

 

9 minutes ago, Clyde2010 said:

why include in your invoice the term "5-7 business days" and then provide a due date that does not provide the necessary time you just mentioned?

 

I can't explain why the sorority did what it did.  If you're actually interested in an answer to this question, you obviously should contact someone there.

 

 

10 minutes ago, Clyde2010 said:

Isn't it fraudulent to expressly state on an invoice ANYTHING that isn't possible in terms of customer payment?

 

No.  As I previously mentioned, the statement that you should "allow 5-7 business days for receiving and processing" is nothing more than a common sense suggestion.  If you interpreted it to mean that your daughter would not be assessed a late charge as long as payment was mailed at least five business days before the due date, regardless of when the payment was actually received, then that's on you.

 

 

18 minutes ago, Clyde2010 said:

And don't vendors have some responsibility in terms of their due dates and invoicing?

 

Some responsibility?  Sure.  However, I'm guessing that these are monthly or annual dues (or something that has to be paid on a regular basis) such that it's no mystery when they're due.  I also assume the documents that govern your daughter's membership in the sorority impose no requirement whatsoever on the sorority in terms of sending invoices.  In other words, the sorority could easily decide not to send invoices at all and leave it up to the members to ensure that payments are made in a timely manner.  Of course, it is beneficial to the sorority to send invoices as reminders.  However, unless the documents governing your daughter's membership contain very unusual terms, the sorority likely has no responsibility whatsoever as concerns how far in advance of the due date invoices are sent.  Of course, I have no idea what those documents say, and you haven't provided any such information.

 

 

22 minutes ago, Clyde2010 said:

why wouldn't vendors issue invoices 2 days before their due knowing they can assess financing and late fees?

 

That you asked this question contradicts your prior statement that your questions are "simply about the legality."  In any event, vendors who did this sort of thing regularly would lose customers.  If your daughter doesn't like her sororities practices in this regard, she is free to quit.  If you don't like it, you're free to tell her to handle billing and payment herself.

 

 

26 minutes ago, Clyde2010 said:

I guess it comes down to this; is a vendor responsible for the accuracy of their invoice?

 

Yes, but there's nothing inaccurate about a suggestion that payment be mailed x days before the due date.  It would be very different if the invoice stated on the due date were 1/10/17 but a late fee were assessed even though the payment were received on 1/8/17 because the invoice was in error.  But that's a far different thing than what happened here.

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4 hours ago, pg1067 said:

 

 

Good point.  The only way for you to have received it on 1/1/17 would have been if someone personally handed it to you or sent it by a private courier service (such as Fedex) that allowed for Sunday/holiday delivery.  So...by what means did you receive it on 1/1/17?

 

 

And this was correct from you? Looks like an assumption that was completely wrong. Or maybe you haven't heard of email? That's one of the many reasons I see that I can't trust your responses. You make unfounded assumptions. 

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33 minutes ago, pg1067 said:

No.  As I previously mentioned, the statement that you should "allow 5-7 business days for receiving and processing" is nothing more than a common sense suggestion.  If you interpreted it to mean that your daughter would not be assessed a late charge as long as payment was mailed at least five business days before the due date, regardless of when the payment was actually received, then that's on you.

 

 

 

 

So let me get this straight; putting a hard due date on an invoice is fine, but other stuff is "suggestions"? Really? You actually wrote that? Tell me how a consumer reading an invoice can tell the difference between a "suggestion" and a due date, or an address, or an amount. Do they use a different font for "suggestions"? 

 

Truly a lame attempt at being a contrarian. Clearly trolling, and you're not that good at it. 

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Just because you don't like the answer, is no reason to stoop to name calling. His answer was legally correct. Possibly bad business practices do not make it against the law. He has been posting here longer than I have and has been practicing law almost as long. Don't shoot the messenger.

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5 hours ago, Clyde2010 said:

Truly a lame attempt at being a contrarian. Clearly trolling, and you're not that good at it. 

 

PG1067 is an attorney. If you don't like what an attorney is telling you for free you are welcome to PAY an attorney of your choice and see if you can do any better.

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16 hours ago, Clyde2010 said:

So let me get this straight; putting a hard due date on an invoice is fine, but other stuff is "suggestions"?

 

Ummm...no.  Suggestions are suggestions, and a due date is a due date.  Why do you have such a hard time comprehending this?

 

 

16 hours ago, Clyde2010 said:

Tell me how a consumer reading an invoice can tell the difference between a "suggestion" and a due date, or an address, or an amount.

 

Ok...

 

1. Most adults who have a modicum of intelligence understand that an address is formatted along the lines of the following:

[first name, last name or business name]

[street address - e.g., 123 Main Street]

[city, state, zip code - e.g., Anytown, KY  40605]

 

If you don't understand what addresses look like, then perhaps my assumption that you are a person with a modicum of intelligence was unfounded.

 

2. "An amount" -- i.e., a dollar amount -- usually looks like this:  $123.45.  Again, this is something that just about anyone who isn't mentally retarded can understand.

 

3. Perhaps it will come as a surprise to you that a due date will typically be noted by the words "due date" or "bill due by" or something like that, followed by a date.  In order not to make an unfounded assumption about your intelligence, dates usually look like the following:  "February 16, 2017" or "2/16/2017."

 

4. As far as suggestions, this will require slightly more than "drooling idiot" level of intelligence, and you need some common sense.  Most folks understand that a due date is exactly that, and that a statement that one should allow x days for mailing is nothing but a practical, common-sense suggestion.  As I explained very clearly above, in the absence of a statement that mailing payment x days before the due date would be regarded as sufficient, regardless of when payment is received, the only reasonable interpretation is that it's nothing more than a suggestion.

 

Since your daughter is in college and, therefore, presumably has a high school diploma, you might ask her to explain all of this to you.  Also, if you truly think distinguishing between suggestions, due dates, addresses, and amounts is difficult, then you probably should tell her that you're completely incompetent to be handling things like this on her behalf in the future.

 

 

17 hours ago, Clyde2010 said:

Truly a lame attempt at being a contrarian. Clearly trolling, and you're not that good at it.

 

No, the problem here is that you got an honest answer that you didn't like and decided to make moronic arguments to the contrary.  Don't be surprised when you do that and someone answers back in kind.

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3 hours ago, pg1067 said:

 

Ummm...no.  Suggestions are suggestions, and a due date is a due date.  Why do you have such a hard time comprehending this?

 

Ok, let me get this straight. Part of the invoice is "suggestion", but it's not labeled as a suggestion. The other part is binding; the amount, statement period, due date, late fee, etc.....And the reader magically is supposed to know the difference. So tell me again where or how the reader can determine a "suggestion" vs the legally binding stuff? Maybe that's why it's hard? 

 

Ok...

 

1. Most adults who have a modicum of intelligence understand that an address is formatted along the lines of the following:

[first name, last name or business name]

[street address - e.g., 123 Main Street]

[city, state, zip code - e.g., Anytown, KY  40605]

 

If you don't understand what addresses look like, then perhaps my assumption that you are a person with a modicum of intelligence was unfounded. Clearly. Your assumptions are off, as seen in how you avoided answering why you assumed that I had received the invoice before 1/1 and the "only way I could have received it was by courier or Fedex". Odd how you keep avoiding that faulty assumption of yours. Your credibility either was lost in the assumption, or your lack of understanding how email works. 

 

2. "An amount" -- i.e., a dollar amount -- usually looks like this:  $123.45.  Again, this is something that just about anyone who isn't mentally retarded can understand. Do "retards" understand email? Or how invoices can be received through email? 

 

3. Perhaps it will come as a surprise to you that a due date will typically be noted by the words "due date" or "bill due by" or something like that, followed by a date.  In order not to make an unfounded assumption about your intelligence, dates usually look like the following:  "February 16, 2017" or "2/16/2017." Email works through the internet. While not instantaneous, it's pretty quick. Thus, an invoice can be sent on 1/1/2017 without having to use the mail or courier service. Thought you might need the help. 

 

4. As far as suggestions, this will require slightly more than "drooling idiot" level of intelligence, and you need some common sense.  Most folks understand that a due date is exactly that, and that a statement that one should allow x days for mailing is nothing but a practical, common-sense suggestion.  As I explained very clearly above, in the absence of a statement that mailing payment x days before the due date would be regarded as sufficient, regardless of when payment is received, the only reasonable interpretation is that it's nothing more than a suggestion. Explain it one more time; what parts of the invoice are legally binding, what parts are not, and how they are differentiated. Your sophomoric obfuscating of this fact highlights that you don't know the answer, or haven't thought to provide it. 

 

Since your daughter is in college and, therefore, presumably has a high school diploma, you might ask her to explain all of this to you.  Also, if you truly think distinguishing between suggestions, due dates, addresses, and amounts is difficult, then you probably should tell her that you're completely incompetent to be handling things like this on her behalf in the future. You continue to avoid how to differentiate the binding parts of the invoice from the "suggestions". Is the "late fee" binding? Is the "returned check fee" binding? If they are, and then why isn't the " allow 5-7 business days for mailing" binding? Same paragraph, same section, same font, same invoice. And how can an invoice be binding to the recipient, but not to the sender?

 

 

 

No, the problem here is that you got an honest answer that you didn't like and decided to make moronic arguments to the contrary.  Don't be surprised when you do that and someone answers back in kind. No problem, I understand you can't answer the questions, and will continue to dance around your ignorance. Please find another thread to occupy your time.

 

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