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Old 17.06.2011, 16:39
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Unexpected invoice

I need to rant - but also need some advice on who I can contact officially to ask about this...

I have today received a reasonable sized invoice from an organization that I have paid a large amount of money to over the year.

The money paid to them has been form 3 invoices, each one contained 2 discounts.

They have sent a new invoice to me - stating that one of the discounts was in error and therefore I need to pay it - I am assuming this is the case as there is no covering letter and simply a copy of the 3 previous bills with an amount highlighted

Now - my thinking is that this is not possible - all monies due have been paid and if they made an error well its their fault.

However - this is Switzerland and I have a feeling it may be different (this is the latest in a long line of issues with this organization)

Any suggestions on who I can speak to in regards to this?

Thank you
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Old 17.06.2011, 16:43
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Re: Unexpected invoice

What organization are we talking about here ?
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Old 17.06.2011, 16:43
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Re: Unexpected invoice

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What organization are we talking about here ?
An international school
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Old 17.06.2011, 16:45
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Re: Unexpected invoice

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An international school
Do they have a website / contact line which you could call and explain to them that there has been an error ?
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Old 17.06.2011, 16:51
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Re: Unexpected invoice

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Do they have a website / contact line which you could call and explain to them that there has been an error ?
I have emailed them and asked for details of their accounts department - however the school is not known for being very good at communication.

I would have expected a letter to accompany the invoice to explain - the only contact details available is the generic school email.

The sensible thing would be to phone them - however I am more than a little angry so I would like to understand if I am required by law to pay this, then I can calmly call them.
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Old 17.06.2011, 16:54
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Re: Unexpected invoice

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I have emailed them and asked for details of their accounts department - however the school is not known for being very good at communication.

I would have expected a letter to accompany the invoice to explain - the only contact details available is the generic school email.

The sensible thing would be to phone them - however I am more than a little angry so I would like to understand if I am required by law to pay this, then I can calmly call them.
I am no expert, but if they think that you owe them money and you think you don't, the right way would be to call/visit and clear it up. Otherwise, whats to stop them from sending the invoice to the authorities ?

Just talk to them. That's definitely the easiest way to clear things up.
Once they realize their mistake, I am sure you will have the chance to insert some choice words to express your resentment.
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Old 17.06.2011, 17:00
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Re: Unexpected invoice

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I am no expert, but if they think that you owe them money and you think you don't, the right way would be to call/visit and clear it up. Otherwise, whats to stop them from sending the invoice to the authorities ?

Just talk to them. That's definitely the easiest way to clear things up.
Once they realize their mistake, I am sure you will have the chance to insert some choice words to express your resentment.
I do agree with you - my challenge is that they are very much 'these are the rules etc' so I would like to understand what are the rules in this case.

Thank you for replying -talking is the sensible option - I think I will wait for the details of their accounts department and approach them , like you say, explain to them that its a mistake on their part etc
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Old 17.06.2011, 17:04
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Re: Unexpected invoice

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I do agree with you - my challenge is that they are very much 'these are the rules etc' so I would like to understand what are the rules in this case.

Thank you for replying -talking is the sensible option - I think I will wait for the details of their accounts department and approach them , like you say, explain to them that its a mistake on their part etc
Good Luck. Hope you get it all sorted.
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Old 17.06.2011, 17:13
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Re: Unexpected invoice

If a company makes a mistake on a bill (too high or too low) I believe they have the right to reclaim/refund the difference. Sometimes, a company which makes an error in the customer's favour will waive the amount as a good will gesture.

If your discount was applied twice by mistake, then they should be able to ask for the second discount back. In my opinion, the only open question here is ... did you get a discount you shouldn't have? If so, you'll need to pay it back. If not, you need to speak to them and tell them why the extra discount was, in fact, correct.
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Old 17.06.2011, 17:17
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Re: Unexpected invoice

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If a company makes a mistake on a bill (too high or too low) I believe they have the right to reclaim/refund the difference. Sometimes, a company which makes an error in the customer's favour will waive the amount as a good will gesture.

If your discount was applied twice by mistake, then they should be able to ask for the second discount back. In my opinion, the only open question here is ... did you get a discount you shouldn't have? If so, you'll need to pay it back. If not, you need to speak to them and tell them why the extra discount was, in fact, correct.
bugger - they applied a discount for paying by year - when it was paid for by term - that is what they are claiming i need to pay - the first invoice was paid in august last year - I wonder if there is a time limit on it
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Old 17.06.2011, 17:28
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Re: Unexpected invoice

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bugger - they applied a discount for paying by year - when it was paid for by term - that is what they are claiming i need to pay - the first invoice was paid in august last year - I wonder if there is a time limit on it
Generally the Swiss will negociate as nobody ever makes a mistake! Perhaps you should offer to pay half & they write off half as a gesture of goodwill.
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Old 17.06.2011, 17:31
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Re: Unexpected invoice

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Art. 62

A. Requirement
I. In general
1 A person who has enriched himself without just cause at the expense of another is obliged to make restitution.
2 In particular, restitution is owed for money benefits obtained for no valid reason whatsoever, for a reason that did not transpire or for a reason that subsequently ceased to exist.
http://www.admin.ch/ch/e/rs/220/indexni2.html
Art 62 to 67 could be relevant too.
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Old 17.06.2011, 18:45
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Re: Unexpected invoice

so its not looking good - i am happy to pay the amount from the last invoice at thats only a few months old.

But the invoices from August and December I think are a bit old and they have had plenty of time to notice this - maybe I will offer that
Thanks everyone
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Old 17.06.2011, 19:03
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Re: Unexpected invoice

Surely it all comes down to the contract you presumably both agreed to?

I can see an argument that says "this tradesman did a bad job which I had to pay to put right, therefore I don't think I should pay the full amount he is asking'.

But if you agreed to pay, say CHF 1000 for a service, were happy with the service, but found you were only billed CHF 900 in error, I think your argument is much weaker if the correct amount is later requested.

I feel sympathetic, and it definitely sounds like they need a lesson in courtesy, but legally I would be surprised if you have much of a case if you did actually agree, at the outset, to pay the full amount.
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Old 17.06.2011, 19:04
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Re: Unexpected invoice

Generally, the rule of thumb in CH is that money for services rendered cannot be withheld. If they made a mistake, they are entitled to correct in. Unless otherwise stated the default payment period for bills is 30 days - or so I've been told. Welcome to the financial world of CH.
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Old 17.06.2011, 19:09
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Generally, the rule of thumb in CH is that money for services rendered cannot be withheld. If they made a mistake, they are entitled to correct in. Unless otherwise stated the default payment period for bills is 30 days - or so I've been told. Welcome to the financial world of CH.
hmm interesting they do state on the invoices a due date and these were all payed - I am annoyed at its about 1.5k chf and there have been plenty of times when i feel they shoudl have refunded monies and have refused.

i.e. charging for 8 ski sessions, but only being able to attend 3 due to the school canceling for bad weather and for medical exemption - they insist that monies can not be paid back to us - so 700chf for 3 ski sessions.

They are a very money grabbing organisation and charge high amounts without providing a breakdown of costs (when directly asked) i.e school trip of 3 days costs 1000chf - when asked can i have a breakdown of costs was told its not possible
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Old 17.06.2011, 19:19
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Re: Unexpected invoice

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i.e. charging for 8 ski sessions, but only being able to attend 3 due to the school canceling for bad weather and for medical exemption - they insist that monies can not be paid back to us - so 700chf for 3 ski sessions.
If they did not supply the service they must refund, you can ski in all weathers, if the lifts are closed go somewhere else.
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Old 17.06.2011, 19:24
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Re: Unexpected invoice

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hmm interesting they do state on the invoices a due date and these were all payed - I am annoyed at its about 1.5k chf and there have been plenty of times when i feel they shoudl have refunded monies and have refused.

<snip>

They are a very money grabbing organisation and charge high amounts without providing a breakdown of costs (when directly asked)
That's the world of Private schools in CH - did you not know all this before sending your child(ren) there?

They are under no obligation to provide you the breakdowns of their charging structures. These are for-profit organisations and usually come with all sorts of no-refund strings attached. They also generally have very little oversight with respect educational quality and have a like-it-or-lump it attitude to complaints.

If you don't like the hassle, send your child(ren) to a Swiss school.
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Old 17.06.2011, 19:29
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Re: Unexpected invoice

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That's the world of Private schools in CH - did you not know all this before sending your child(ren) there?

They are under no obligation to provide you the breakdowns of their charging structures. These are for-profit organisations and usually come with all sorts of no-refund strings attached. They also generally have very little oversight with respect educational quality and have a like-it-or-lump it attitude to complaints.

If you don't like the hassle, send your child(ren) to a Swiss school.
He finishes in 3 weeks for this very reason
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Old 17.06.2011, 19:36
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He finishes in 3 weeks for this very reason
Good for you/him.
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