What is our recourse regarding an unresolved invoice?
Question Details: We had a signage company come put up 2 signs on our building. Upon arrival, we were told one of the cars in the front parking lot had to be moved as it was apparently obstructing some of the area needed for the scaffolding. We were not told to keep that area clear prior to their arrival. Despite making many phone calls, the owner of the car could not be contacted. The owner arrived to the site some time later. The signage company invoiced us with an extra 45 minutes waiting time billed at 140 ph. We disputed this as a had we been told that space had to be clear and had we known the process would need that much space we would have organized the day before to block off the area. We were not advised there would be a waiting fee. We were not advised their arrival time and did not know what time to expect them. I would like to know a what is the right thing to do here? If they were to go to small claims court, who would most likely win the case?
Typically, you can only be charged--
1) Fees or expenses you are aware of (or should be aware of: that is, the information was provided or made available to you, whether or not you paid attention to it)--so if you were not aware that there was an hourly time charge, for example, you could not be charged for the waiting fee.
2) When the person or business charging you is not responsible for the charge--that is, they can't cause a charge or expense then charge you for it. So a failure to notify you that the space had to be clear could make it impossible for them to collect.
So depending on the circumstances, you may have a good defense to this charge.
However, if they were hired by an LLC or corporation you own or manage, you'd need to hire an attorney to appear in court (non-lawyers cannot represent LLCs or corporations in court, even their own), and the cost of an attorney would exceed the extra time charge if you were sued. Or even without an attorney, depending on how you value your own time, simply spending several hours in court may be worth more than the money. You may wish to try to settle with them.