Information on the invoice
The information contained in a bill should be clear and unambiguous. The invoice must include information such as
- the amount to be paid
- the date that the payment is due
- the basis of the invoice itemised in sufficient detail. The invoice must indicate clearly what is being invoiced
- contact information for use by the consumer
- a mention of the consequences of delay, such as a fee charged for a payment reminder.
Consumers are entitled to itemised invoice for service work
A consumer has the right to get an itemised list of items of payment for service work, such as repair or renovation work, before payment of the invoice.
The itemisation must be so clear that the consumer is able on its basis to see what procedures are included in the work, what materials and how much has been used, and how they have affected the price.
If the consumer asks for an itemisation without unfounded delay after the work has been completed, or after getting the invoice, the consumer is not obligated to pay the bill until after the itemisation has been received. An itemised invoice is not required when a fixed price has been agreed for the service.
Error in service
Invoice error, or lost invoice
If the consumer feels that the bill contains an error, a complaint should be lodged to the company without delay. According to good debt collection practice, a company must not initiate collection procedures before the veracity of the complaint has been ascertained.
- If the consumer feels that only part of the invoice is without foundation, the undisputed part of the payment must be paid on the date that it is due.
- If the invoice is completely without foundation it can be left unpaid until its veracity has been investigated.
- If a complaint is shown to be without foundation the invoice must be paid on the date that it is due unless another point in time is agreed upon.
If the consumer claims not to have received an invoice at all, or at the right time, the company must offer evidence that the bill is likely to have been sent on time and to the correct address.
Complaint to a creditor or debt collection agency for erroneous collection
Refunding excess payment
If a consumer has paid an invoice twice, or has paid a larger sum than was the intention, the recipient of the payment must refund the groundless or excessive payment.
- If a long-term agreement is involved, the excess payment can, with the consumer's consent, be deducted from the next invoice.
- If the error in payment is the result of carelessness on the part of the consumer, the company may collect reasonable reimbursement costs.
The company's obligation to refund the consumer does not end until the customer's right to the money has expired under law. The customer's demand to get the money that is paid in excess expires three years from the time that he or she has learned, or should have known, of his or her error. In any case the consumer must present a demand for repayment no later than 10 years form the payment event.
Expiration of receivables
If a company has not demanded that a consumer pay its receivables within three years, the customer is no longer under an obligation to pay the invoice in question.
Expiration of receivables
If a company has not received any of its receivables from the consumer in three years, the bill need not be paid.