Late invoice payment fee

27 posts in this topic

This is more of a small-scale, minor-league case, but I'm interested in folks' reactions:

 

I recently received an invoice from a legal firm that had preformed some small legal services for me regarding a real estate transaction. The invoice was for 450 EUR and requested payment within 14 days. After 10 days, I received a reminder to pay the invoice along with an extra 10 EUR penalty had been assessed as a 'reminder fee'. In other words: the firm was charging me an extra 10 EUR for sending me a reminder on an invoice that was 10 days old. Keep in mind that the original 14 day 'please pay by' date had not even elapsed yet. 

 

I immediately paid the original invoice (minus late fee) and accompanied it with an email politely telling the firm that they are out of their minds for assessing this extra fee. The head lawyer wrote back essentially saying that this is standard practice in Germany and accusing me of ignorance of local law and custom. I haven't yet found anyone who will corroborate her point of view (that this is 'normal') but wondering if anyone else has found themselves in a situation like this?

 

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What exactly is a standard practice, according to him? Sending a reminder letter with a fee during the period of time given you to pay penalty-free in the first payment letter? That doesnt make sense.

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I guess they had made a mistake and thought the time allowed for payment had been elapsed already. It´s definitely not "standard practice" to charge a fee before payment is due.

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I have had this, think it is basically just a nudge to remind you to pay.  No need to pay the late fee, because not late yet.   And it worked, you paid.  And you benefit because no late payment fee.

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@snowingagain- i guess that's one way of looking at it ('it worked') except it's a hell of a way to do business. I definitely would have floated many hundreds of additional euros their way for future legal services had they simply said, "oops, we got too zealous-- sorry, won't happen again"--  instead, I will be looking for a new attorney. 

 

@klubbnika @jeba - not only was the reminder sent too early (before the initial pay-by date), but also (as I have learned in the intervening hours:) the invoicer is only allowed to charge for direct physical costs related to reimbursement— for example, the cost of mailing an envelope. Administrative overhead (i.e. the time that someone spent writing me a reminder) is not chargeable. Plus, they sent me the reminder by email, so there were no direct physical costs. 

 

tldr; reminder sent too early, but also would have been illegal even had it been sent within allowed timeframe

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Hello, I wonder if anyone has any advice regarding some late fees for an unpaid invoice that I have unknowingly accumulated. In November 2018 while visiting Germany I was admitted for a short stay in hospital and told I would have to pay for my treatment there and then and the hospital would issue me with an invoice that I could later use to claim back the costs from my insurance. However, when I was discharged, I was told that I would not be able to pay for my treatment before leaving the hospital and they could not issue an invoice as the admin staff had gone home for the day. I was asked to leave my address and contact number so that the next day the staff could prepare my invoice and send it to my home address in Spain with instructions on how to pay the invoice from abroad. After leaving the hospital I never head anything more about the issue and had forgotten about it until today when I received a final warning letter from the Inkasso demanding that I make payment by 03/04/19 or they will start legal proceedings. I was surprised to see the final demand as this is the first communication I have received on the issue but on looking at the letter I noticed that my address is incorrect (street name, house number and town are incorrect) so it is not surprising that the previous correspondence has failed to reach me, I'm even surprised the letter I received today managed to find it's way to me. On top of the original cost of the treatment (for which I never received an invoice) am also being charged for Inkasso fees and interest. I have no issue in settling the invoice as long as they can actually provide it to me and I will contact them tomorrow to ask for a copy but  do have an issue with paying the interest and inkasso fees that were only incurred as they were sending the letters to the wrong address and I don't see this as being my fault or something that I should be expected to assume responsibility for. I assume the error is down to someone at the hospital trying to enter a foreign address in to a system that is designed for the German address format. Does anyone know where I stand regarding the inkasso fees? Should I refuse to pay them on the grounds that I never received an invoice or payment reminder as they were using an incorrect address or is it just something that I will have to accept and pay?

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