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Old 10.02.2021, 12:56
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Invoice for renovations incorrect

Hi all
I had some solar panels put on our roof last year and the second invoice literally does not add up. I have been emailing every week to tell them, I have broken it down for them into step by step instructions (I used to work in accounts!).
This has been going on for 3 months and all I have received in reply is 'I do not understand, it does add up'.
Now they are threatening me with legal action for not paying!
Where do I stand with not paying until they send me something that makes sense?
Thanks very much, have a lovely day
A
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  #2  
Old 10.02.2021, 13:09
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Re: Invoice for renovations incorrect

you mean the sub items do not total the final amount? can't you just show them 2+3+4 =/=20?

i had an issue where i got the wrong invoice and when i wrote back saying that it looked wrong (it was 4x the expected value) they wrote back saying it looked correct to them.

after a bit of back and forth in german, i finally wrote in english that it appears that they have taken the total cost for the entire street instead of only the costs relating to my property. after that, i received a corrected invoice, no apology, no acknowledgement of mistake on their part.
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Old 10.02.2021, 13:09
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Re: Invoice for renovations incorrect

Right were you are. In the end it is a dispute and if neither budges it will go the usual route: Betreibung/Poursuit, Contest of the Betreibung, Justice of Peace, court case.

A possibility is to pay as much as you think is correct. In that case the dispute will only be about the difference. This lowers risk and also cost.
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Old 10.02.2021, 13:21
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Re: Invoice for renovations incorrect

Hi thanks for your quick replies!
It would be nice if there were sub items on the invoice - one of the things I have been asking for is the breakdown of costs he wrote and promised he would send - but it is just a few numbers. I told him 17500 - 10500 (our deposit) does NOT equal 7500 but he does not understand...and there are other problems also like tax added a second time...


I had thought about paying a few thousand more - bascially what we think we owe after all the deductions - which I have in writing that they agreed to. Will that actually help?
Thanks again!
A
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Old 10.02.2021, 13:38
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Re: Invoice for renovations incorrect

I do not know exactly what is your situation however final cost may be up to 10% off from offer for any works etc without prior approval from investor side and it's legal to what I know - as one can't estimate exact costs of given work (margin or error).

So it may be that - or simply some overlooked statement like "fee for registering works/alterations at local Gemainde etc" which they took on your behalf.

I'd not pay anything until it's clarified as that is your position of strength. Anything like legal action - you should check your insurance for legal assistance that you covered but it's very seldom to get to that stage as it's costly and it's not worth the effort for most.

I had it couple times dispute of this kind and at the end - someone that has idea about the subject of the discussion calls up - once of course Betreibung Biuro is informed and my objection to the bill is raised - that it was misunderstanding and closes the case as they know there is these that will pay due to the fear and those that won't .

Last edited by hoover1; 10.02.2021 at 13:44. Reason: add
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Old 10.02.2021, 13:49
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Re: Invoice for renovations incorrect

I have to question almost every bill that I get but I usually get "There was a mistake here's a new bill". Yeah sure. It might be wrong to say that it's systematic deliberate scamming but that's what it feels like.
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Old 10.02.2021, 13:59
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Re: Invoice for renovations incorrect

Had this a few times when doing a big renovation of my place. I left it to my wife to sort it out with the contractors in German. Basically she tells them in writing the exact amount we are going to pay and that we consider it to be the final settlement, and we paid after a couple of weeks. They have never responded and that seems to be the end of it.
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Old 10.02.2021, 14:06
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Re: Invoice for renovations incorrect

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I told him 17500 - 10500 (our deposit) does NOT equal 7500 but he does not understand...
This bit implies that the whole lack of understanding is a communications problem. If he's failing to see that his basic arithmetic is incorrect, or you're failing to explain it properly, then maybe you simply need to get a 3rd party who can speak the language better to mediate? Either that or it's you that's making a mistake and there's a good reason for the extras, which I agree doesn't sound likely...

As has been suggested, you could simply pay what you think is the correct amount, and send a detailed re-arrangement of the invoice to explain how you came to that figure and why the original invoice was wrong. If you're confident of your numbers then it will be up to him to bring a case against you, which would be thrown out as soon as the court sees the correct and incorrect set of figures, or hopefully before ut even gets to that stage.

What it boils down to is - How confident are you that you're correct?
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Old 10.02.2021, 15:17
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Re: Invoice for renovations incorrect

Hello


Thank you so much for all your replies - make me feel better!


There is nothing on the invoice except the figures I mentioned so no margin for error plus I have many email confirmations that it would not be any more than 17500, and he would give a discount, etc.
I thought at first it was some creative accounting but then he sent one email in reply where he actually states: 17500 less 10500 is 7500.....


I have been writing in french every time to ensure no miscommunication (but I confess I am lacking in confidence with speaking so am just sticking with emails). I have sent about 10 emails with bullet points and new calculations to assist him.



If any of you think that 17500 less 10500 is 7500 is correct please let me know as I have had to treble check myself incase it was me going mad!


Thanks again! Have a fun day


A
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Old 10.02.2021, 16:23
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Re: Invoice for renovations incorrect

My son is a carpenter. He put in an offer for renovation a couple of weeks to an accountant. The account/customer was impressed with the detail The other offers were very minimal. Point being ask for more detailed offers.
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Old 10.02.2021, 22:16
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Re: Invoice for renovations incorrect

I'm seeing email after email.

Send a registered letter.


Ask someone on EF to help you with the French.
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Old 11.02.2021, 13:54
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Re: Invoice for renovations incorrect

This is where having Legal insurance is invaluable.
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Old 11.02.2021, 17:12
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Re: Invoice for renovations incorrect

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This is where having Legal insurance is invaluable.
I agree it is invaluable but know there are limitations when it comes to housing/repairs/renovations and how much the insurance can or will help you.

A long read if you are interested!

Having been on all sides regarding law insurance and building what I can say is the problems (or lack of reasonable resolution) lie within the laws rather limiting what help is available to the consumer. Like all things Swiss we nod and smile about, the laws relating to building owner vs Tradesmen date from 100s of years ago where the worker travelled by foot with all his tools on his back getting work where he could. The mean, mega-wealthy landowner would often not pay what was agreed upon so laws were put in place to protect the "poor handworker" in disputes about payment. Fast forward to today where more people own their own properties (rather than a family owning a whole village) and the "handworker" might be a very large company, the laws are outdated meaning their is little consumer protection for homeowners in dispute with building trades. (This description came from our law insurance lawyer after attending a conference about unifying European law on consumer protection for home owners and seeing how dated Swiss law is in this area).

The advice we were given is any fault or problem seen or noted should be reported to the company involved asap via registered letter regardless of verbal/email communication and assurances that the problem will be resolved. This goes counterintuitive to Anglosaxen thinking that this will just inflame the situation (which it may!). There are various rules regarding guarantees and the allowable time to report a fault and then there are even more timelines (depending on the fault) for the handworker to rectify that fault. So a long story short, it is damn complicated and your protection could be compromised by not complying with these timelines.

An example, we had a new parquet floor installed (by my wife's cousin who was a very competent tradesman), a week after laying the floor a couple of the board had the top layer separate which indicated a fault in the glue layer within the parquet. A meeting on site with the supplier it was agreed that the boards were faulty but we should wait for the rest of the floor to settle through 4 seasons to see if any more separated. The default guarantee on the boards and work was two years so this seemed reasonable at the time. One year and two weeks later we all meet again as two more boards were showing signs of being faulty, the suppliers representative at this time verbally agreed to organize the repairs. One week later we receive a registered letter from the manufacture's lawyer stating that the representative did not have the authority to authorize the repairs, further more the parquet was no longer under guarantee as it was used in a renovation which limits the guarantee to 12 months (rather than two years). As the fault and the repair were agreed upon verbally no letter was sent so we were left with the problem of suing a family member who through no fault of his own was left with the problem despite having a 15 year business relationship with this supplier!
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Old 11.02.2021, 18:41
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Re: Invoice for renovations incorrect

Hello


All very interesting, thanks!


Just a quick addition I have sent registered letters too!



However the invoice and the original quotes were only sent by email and that is how we were communiating before so that has been my weekly form of communication for the past 3 months.


Thanks again


A
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