A 5 year old came home from school with a note in an envelope.
But it wasn’t from Alex Nash’s teacher. It was from a classmate’s mom. And it contained an invoice for £15.95 (US $24.10).
In the note, Julie Lawrence said because Alex was a no-show at her son’s birthday party, and his parents never bothered to call and cancel, she had to pay for Alex.
“It was a proper invoice with full official details and even her bank details on it,” Derek Nash, Alex’s father, tells BBC. “I can understand that she’s upset about losing money. The money isn’t the issue, it’s the way she went about trying to get the money from me.
“She didn’t treat me like a human being, she treated me like a child and that I should do what she says.”
Derek and Tanya Walsh, Alex’s mom, say their son didn’t go to the party because, after committing, they discovered he was double-booked.
They say they thought about it, but then couldn’t locate Lawrence’s contact information to let her know their son would not be able to attend.
In a short statement to the UK media, which have been all over this story, Lawrence said: “All details were on the party invite. They had every detail needed to contact me.”
Lawrence is not backing down: She’s threatening to take the matter to small claims court if Alex’s parents don’t doesn’t pay up.
BBC legal correspondent Clive Coleman says that Lawrence has little chance of winning if it should come to that.
“Any claim would be on the basis that a contract had been created, which included a term that a “no show” fee would be charged,” he says.
“However, for there to be a contract, there needs to be an intention to create legal relations. A child’s party invitation would not create legal relations with either the child “guest” or its parents.
“If it is being argued that the contract is with the child, it is inconceivable that a five-year-old would be seen by a court as capable of creating legal relations and entering into a contract with a “no show” charge.”
Parents everywhere are weighing in.
“Feel sorry for the children, such petty parental skills,” writes one on a UK website.
Says another: “This Julie Lawrence woman is clearly barking. Someone from the Torpoint Mental Health & Counseling should be dispatched to her address ASAP. For the sake of the children.”
And another: “As ridiculous as sending an invoice to the boy’s parents is, it was very rude of them not to inform the party host that they had to cancel having initially accepted the invitation, especially when the host was forking out for the dry slope treat, plus refreshments and, presumably, party bag. I actually think Alex’s parents should have offered to reimburse Ms Lawrence. Pity about the invoice.”
What say you? Weigh in below.