(Sorry in advance for a bit long story.)
In the summer of 2015 we engaged with an accounting firm for the preparation of and filing corporation tax accounts for our company for the tax period ended in 2014. The service and the fee were discussed and agreed by email before the work was started. The service was then properly provided, the invoice was raised by the firm and immediately paid by our company in the same year. With that we believed our engagement was over, but we were actually wrong...
A few months later, in November 2015, an email from the firm was received where it was offered to review and approve the annual return to be filed by the firm with Companies House for our company. We were a bit confused because the only service that we previously asked for and engaged was the preparation of and filing corporation tax accounts. We explained all that to the firm's agent who contacted us, and it was found out that the offer was just automatically generated by the firm's computer system which decided that we had also engaged for secretarial services. Because we hadn't, we did not approve the annual return nor did we authorise the firm to file the annual return. The incident was over.
Since then till last week we did not receive any emails from that firm nor did we ask them for any services.
However, last week we received an invoice asking to pay a fee for the registered office services for the years 2016 and 2017. It was a real (negative) surprise. We replied that we did not ask for any registered office services, and the only service we asked them for was the accounting service properly provided and paid in 2015. In response they wrote that the services they are currently charging us for are within the company secretarial compliance, which implies completing and filing annual return (now confirmation statement) for the company. Yet, according to their email, those secretarial services appeared when we engaged for the accounting services in 2015, and the firm is sorry for not making those secretarial services clear when we engaged.
They mentioned two options: 1) if we consider all this is not fair, they will credit the whole fee; 2) alternatively, they suggest a compromise by reducing the fee by a third.
I would really appreciate if someone could answer the following questions:
1) Is it a normal practice to receive invoices from accounting firms after such a long period of time without having any contacts?
2) Are there any reasons to raise an invoice for services which have not been agreed on, nor even discussed?
Notwithstanding these two questions, a yet another question is: What is a good manner of behaviour for a business in such a situation? Although formally there are reasons to disregard the invoice for the services not provided/discussed/agreed, would it be OK from the standpoint of credibility of our company?
(Sorry again for a long story. Your answers would really help. Thanks in advance!)