What if my customer disputes my invoices?

| Annelien Maurissen

It happens more often than we would like: you supplied goods or services, but your customer does not agree with your invoice afterwards. The reason for this can be diverse. If your professional customer does not pay because he does not agree with your invoice, he must oppose or dispute the invoice. How do you deal with this as an entrepreneur?

A dispute form your customer? Keep your cool and find a mutual agreement_design by pch.vector

A dispute does not necessarily equal no payment

You receive a dispute. What now? Your customer must always provide a reason for his dispute. His objection must therefore always be well-founded and motivated. The most common reasons for dispute are:

  • The works have not been carried out correctly.
  • The invoice amount does not correspond to the quotation.
  • The works or the delivery was not made on time.
  • Work that was never requested, was performed and/or invoiced.
  • Billed to the wrong company.

If your customer gives one of these reasons right away, it’s easy. For example, adjust your invoice, provide him with a copy of your general terms and conditions or of the signed quotation or create a credit note for the incorrectly invoiced part. Usually that is enough to still receive your payment.

Customer stands firm

Did the dispute take place outside the term as stated in your invoice conditions? Report this to your customer. Hopefully, your customer will respond to this argument and receive your payment soon. Otherwise, it gets a bit more complex. Always try to find out the reason for the dispute. Ask about the annoyance of your customer and formulate a commercial proposal. Even if everything went according to the plan. You can always bring a (late) dispute to court, but that is of course a scenario that you certainly want to avoid.

Prevention is better than the cure

An invoice according to the rules of the art, clear invoice conditions and good conclusive agreements or a price quotation can prevent your invoice from being disputed.

  • Mention in your general terms and conditions or invoice conditions the term and way in which the dispute must be made. The term must be short and reasonable, usually between eight and fourteen days after receipt of the invoice. A dispute should also be made in writing. So, also state whether you wish to receive a dispute by email or rather by registered letter.
  • Add a reference to your general terms and conditions or invoice conditions on your invoice. Are these on the back of your invoice? Refer to them on the front of your invoice.
  • In addition, you can also have quotations, order forms and/or delivery notes signed. Also add the name of your contact person or the name of the person who received the goods.

Finally, respond as soon as possible. Often the problem only gets worse the longer you leave it undone. Ignoring the dispute or still sending payment reminders can cause more frustration for your customer. Contact him and try to reach a mutual agreement.

Dispute during the administrative procedure for undisputed invoices

If Go Solid receives a dispute form your customer, the administrative procedure for the collection of undisputed debts with which Go Solid collects your invoices, will stop. We will, however, provide you with our advice for possible collection via the classic legal procedure via summons. The outstanding (court) costs can then be added to the summons. If you decide to discontinue the file, we must invoice you for any outstanding costs. Once your customer disputed the invoice and it turns out to be justified, the legal insurance also lapses.