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tdlawyer, Lawyer
Category: Law
Satisfied Customers: 1096
Experience:  11 years experience of general practice.
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My wife and I bought a guest house in Oct 2006 and ordered

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My wife and I bought a guest house in Oct 2006 and ordered some roadway signs from a local company for it in July/Aug 2006 before we moved in. We were told that the cost would be about £400 -£450. We never received an invoice then despite seeing the employee who did the signs regularly. Over time I forgot about them. Last Thursday, 30 Jan 2014 we were hand delivered an invoice with a note inside saying that they would be grateful for early settlement as they were restructuring the company. The bill was for over £850. It was not dated nor was there any date for when the work was done, VAT, included in the £850, was charged at 20%. Although I feel we have a moral obligation to pay something:
1. We have not budgeted for this now.
2. The amount is almost twice what I would have expected
3. Isn't the absence of dates in conflict with VAT rules
4. Is VAT at 20% correct

I would appreciate the legal position.

Geoff Challenor

tdlawyer : Hello, thank you for your question. My name is XXXXX XXXXX I can assist you with your question.
tdlawyer : Would the signs themselves have been ordered in 2006?

Yes and I picked them up myself from their factory unit before we moved.

tdlawyer : were you obliged to pay for them back then too, in 2006?

Yes,I suppose so. But this is the first request for payment we have had, either verbally or written. And, sorry, the invoice IS dated 29th Oct 2013 I have just noticed but it was hand delivered and left on the doorstep, didn't even ring the doorbell

tdlawyer : Okay. Then it's too late for them to pursue you for this now. They only have 6 years from when payment should have been made and they seem to be at least 2 years over that!
tdlawyer : But this only works if you don't admit the debt in writing or make a part payment. In either of those cases the 6 years starts to run afresh.

Then legally I can ignore it?

tdlawyer : Yes. And in many ways it's probably the best thing to do. If you're then sued you can say its out of time and that will be the end of it.

Many thanks, XXXXX XXXXX

tdlawyer : If morally you feel obliged to pay something then you should discuss it by telephone only to avoid any written evidence that you acknowledge the debt and hence time runs afresh.
tdlawyer : You're welcome.
tdlawyer : Is there anything more you would like me to assist with?
tdlawyer and 2 other Law Specialists are ready to help you
Customer: replied 4 years ago.

Just a second thought: "with whom does ownership of the signs rest? If I ignore the invoice can he legally come and take the signs back?

Ownership usually passes to the buyer when they buy - unless the parties agree otherwise. They can only be taken back if ownership has not passed and this is down to what was agreed. If nothing is specifically agreed, then ownership transfers when the contract is made.

Customer: replied 4 years ago.

Many thanks. We've decided to ignore it.

Okay. Hope it goes away for you.