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Should I refuse to reissue invoice?

Request to reissue invoice received after invoice paid - should I refuse to reissue

Hi all

 

Back in May, we issued an invoice to our customer Oranges Ltd* and payment was subsequently received from Lemons Ltd* referencing that invoice number.  Prior to this point, we had had no contact with Lemons Ltd.  As far as we were concerned we had been engaged by Oranges Ltd to perform our services but as the payment had our invoice number as a reference, and was the correct amount for that invoice, we matched the payment to the invoice and that was that. 

 

We have now, 6 months later, received an email request from Lemons Ltd (the first actual direct contact we have had from them) saying they need us to credit the original invoice to their 'sister company' Oranges Ltd, and reissue the invoice to their name and address.  This request has our contact at Oranges Ltd copied in, who has also reiterated the request, but looking on Companies House, the two companies appear to have different directors and shareholders.  I would like to refuse on the grounds we were not engaged by Lemons Ltd, have no contractual basis for reinvoicing them, and frankly doing so is a bit of a pain as we closed our ledger for that project when payment was received months ago.

Would anyone disagree with my position for refusing the request? They are being quite insistant it needs to be done but I'm not comfortable with it.

Thanks.

 

* Not the real company names, obviously.

Replies

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08th Nov 2017 17:58

If you supplied Oranges Ltd, that is to whom your invoice should be addressed.

You may or may not need to consider an SAR.

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By Ruddles
08th Nov 2017 18:36

As is so often the case, first question is whether you want/expect to do further business with either or both of the companies. If not, tell them to take a hike. If you do, ask them to explain exactly what’s behind their request (“because Lemons paid” is not good enough).

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09th Nov 2017 14:33

Lemons Ltd might/will ask for the money back but I agree you shouldn't re-invoice to Lemons

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09th Nov 2017 14:35

I should have added that you will then have to sue Oranges for the non payment of the original invoice

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09th Nov 2017 22:42

Tell them to have lemons invoice oranges.

Putting it another way - they can sort their own [***] out!

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10th Nov 2017 19:34

They can raise their own invoice between themselves. I would tell them it's history and you're not interested.

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By Robjoy
16th Nov 2017 10:29

This is what I have long referred to as "Doing other people's bookkeeping for them".

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By ShayaG
16th Nov 2017 13:07

Happens the whole time, especially if you set up a new (vat registered) company. I'm generally inclined to be flexible depending on (a) who the letter of engagement was written to (b) underlying economic reality and (c) chance of repeat business with this contact / contact's wider circle.

In this case I'd be inclined firmly to to the inflexible side.

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16th Nov 2017 16:24

@ kalaika (OP).

Since your opening question states that you "were not engaged by Lemons Ltd" and "have no contractual basis for reinvoicing them", then under no circumstances whatsoever should you a this stage accede to the request, received by you, to re-invoice Lemons Ltd (on the basis of the facts given by you).

Whether your working relationship relationships (with Oranges Ltd and/or Lemons Ltd) would be prejudiced by your declining the request is simply not a factor to consider.

To accede to the request at this stage would be a deception, and potentially criminal. It could also have serious adverse consequences from a contract law viewpoint.

To cover off the (albeit seemingly distant) possibility that there is a VALID reason for the request, the following letter/email should be sent:-

"With reference to your email of xx/xx/xxxx, and specifically your requests therein, may we advise you that, having taken independent advice, it would be incorrect for us to accede to your request at this stage, since prima facie we were not engaged by Lemons Ltd and have no contractual basis for re-invoicing them.
If, after taking independent legal advice, you believe there are grounds for our acceding to your request, please forward to us a detailed explanation to support your request".

Of course, depending on the nature of the working relationships with Oranges Ltd and Lemons Ltd, it MAY be courteous/advisable to first phone the author of the email, to advise that a letter or email is being sent to them.

You may also wish to run this matter past your own legal advisors, and request their opinion, as frankly it
is more of a legal question than an accountancy one.

Basil.

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