5-year-old misses friend's party, gets invoiced by boy's mother

5-year-old misses friend's party, gets invoiced by boy's mother
Published: 2015 January 19 14:31:50 (12202 Views)
A five-year-old boy in Plymouth, Devon, UK who missed a friend's birthday party has been invoiced £15.95 by the host's mother.

Alex Nash was handed the bill via a teacher after he visited grandparents instead of showing up at a ski centre.

Alex's parents found it in his school bag and their refusal to pay could now lead to a hearing at a small claims court.

But the birthday boy's mother Julie Lawrence said she had no regrets.

'All details were on the party invite,' she said in a short statement. 'They had every detail needed to contact me.'

Mr Nash, 45, from nearby Torpoint, Cornwall, said he thought the 'no show fee' slip was a joke when it was found in Alex's school bag.

He had confirmed Alex would attend the 'slide and ride' party before Christmas at the Plymouth Ski Slope and Snowboard Centre.

Costing £15.95 a head, it would have included half an hour on a snow tubing run, three toboggan rides, a hot meal, ice cream, jelly and balloons.

But he then realised he had already arranged for their daughter to go on a day trip with her grandparents.

Without a contact number or e-mail address for the friend's mother, he claimed, he had no choice but to withdraw Alex from the party and apologise when school resumed on January 6.

Mr Nash said his partner looked out for the host's mother at Torpoint Nursery and Infant School, but couldn't find her.

Without warning, the bill was found in Alex's bag a week later.

'I have talked to quite a few people about this,' said Mr Nash, a delivery driver. 'They're all quite incredulous that this has happened.

'I thought it was a joke to begin with. I am lost for words.'

He said Alex had chosen of his own accord to spend the day with his grandparents.

'My partner looked out for [the friend's mother] to apologise for Alex not showing up to the party, but didn't see her,' he said.

Mr Nash confronted the host's mother, who he said has threatened to take the case to a small claims court.

The birthday boy is also no longer playing with Alex at school.

'When she answered the door I told her I had found the invoice in my son's school bag and that I wasn't happy about it,' Mr Nash said.

'I told her I would not be paying her the money. I told her she should have spoken to me first and not put the invoice in my son's school bag.

'I would have sympathised with her about the cost of Alex not showing up, but I just can't believe the way she has gone about it.'

The host's mother could have little luck getting back the £15.95 in court - where the administration fee to make a claim is £25.

The ski centre's manager Louisa Duggan said: 'It seems to be a dispute between two parents and the parent who wrote the invoice has put us on it, which is crazy because we have nothing to do with it.

'We ask for a small deposit on booking and 48 hours before the party we ask hosts to confirm numbers and pay us the full amount. It's £15.95 a head for a slide and ride party.

'But there's no such thing as a no-show fee. We don't invoice private individuals, we just ask for payment 48 hours before.

'If the child doesn't show, to be honest we're pretty flexible. We might give the hosts some extra toboggan rides or some credit at the bar.

'I understand people being upset because people outlay a lot of money for these parties, so I understand their frustration.

'Whether invoicing another parent is a good idea or not is not for me to say, but it's certainly not something I'd do.'

Alex's mother Tanya Walsh, 30, said: 'I messaged Julie on Facebook to say sorry and let's resolve this amicably. And she said "the amicable way I believe is for you to pay me the money. And let that be a lesson learnt."

'I have spoken to Julie after we got the bill and the next thing I heard was she was taking us to the small claims court. I am now waiting to see what she does next.

'My partner went to see her and it ended in an argument. She always seemed nice. Every time I spoke to her previously she was always very polite. All of this is very shocking.

'When Alex couldn't attend we tried contacting them. But I didn't have a number or a full name at the time. It was over the holidays so it was not like I could just bump into her at school.

'She said we had an invite but we don't remember ever getting one. I definitely have not seen one. I have searched the whole house and found nothing.

'She could have tried to contact us before issuing the bill. If she had spoken to us we would have considered paying it.

'I could totally understand her point. It is not about the money for us and we did not mean to let them down. It is the way she has gone about it.'

'Little Alex was really upset and today he was scared to go to school. He was worried that no-one would want to play with him.

'He was upset when I left him at school this morning. But he is a tough cookie and will get over it.'

Source - DailyMail


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