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Question concerning time limits for submitting invoices. Louisiana

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  • Question concerning time limits for submitting invoices. Louisiana

    We are an oil and gas construction corporation operating in Louisiana. We provide diving services to offshore production companies. We are in the process of attempting to collect several very large invoices owed us by a particular client that we are no longer a vendor for. The job was completed in April 2006 and invoiced in May 2006. For good reason, and way too complicated to get into here, we only became aware that the invoices were still outstanding in May of 2008. At that time we contacted the client. They informed us that they were unaware of the invoice and would re "re-submit" it. We did so at that time. We have not been able to get them to pay us in the nine months following. They are not disputing the charges (as we have signed tickets for each day on the job by our client). They are now saying that they will only pay 1/3 of the invoice amount ($78,000.00) as that is all they billed their client. In addition, they keep stating that we took 2 years to invoice them. While we dispute this, it is our word against theirs. In our favor, we had done numerous jobs for them before and they always received their invoice within 6 weeks of completion. Additionally, our daily rates were always consistent so they should have known, based in previous invoices to them, what to charge their client based on the number of days on the job.

    My question is there a time period in which we are required to invoice a client (we have no written contract with them regarding this issue) or are we okay as long as we are in the statutory time-frame for collecting an open invoice?

    I would appreciate any feedback offered as we need to move this forward and don't want to misspeak. I believe we are okay and that their argument for not paying is without merit. Thanks!

  • #2
    La. is not my state, but the only shortest time limit for collecting a date that I could find is 3 years after the debt is past due (this was for open accounts, which specifically included credit cards, but might apply for a business doing business with another business on a credit basis.) For this kind of money, it's worth it to check in with a lawyer.

    You're right that they should have noticed that they came in WAY under budget on the job...just like you should have noticed you had an unpaid invoice. You might want to start making it standard practice to review customer accounts and clear up past dues, maybe once a quarter.

    I deal with some of my company's issues with payables, and I've seen this type of issue handled a lot of different ways. You can sue. You can hire a collection agency. You can estimate what it would cost to sue or go to collections, and offer to let them pay the difference. You can offer to split the cost 50/50 with them since you both were at fault for the invoice going so far past due. You can offer them a deal where you ask them for more business and write the debt off bit by bit according to the amount of business they throw your way (say you write off 10% of the amount of any new business, so clearing up this $78K owed would take $780K in jobs thrown your way.) You can offer to let them pay it in installments over the course of a few months, so it's less of a hit to your budget. A lot of it will depend on your respective financial positions, the climate of your industry, etc.

    You need to be actively pursuing this, by the way. If I were your customer, I would not be actively following up on this unless you kept following up with me. The ball's in your court - they're not going to hunt you down to give you money. I tend to be most responsive if the people I'm dealing with are persistent, but polite, and try to understand my side of the issue - that the problem is generally not personally my fault and I don't personally have the authority to fix it...I need time and resources and patience to make it happen.


    • #3
      i believe you have 2 or at the most 3 years, but i would take care of it asap, get yourself a top lawyer since you are dealing with high numbers, would love to find out what happened to your case, do post and let us know, thanks
      Last edited by Betty3; 01-04-2010, 11:19 PM.


      • #4
        smartrefinance, please do not post to old threads - thanks.
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