Am I entitled to receive payment for the late fee charges?

UPDATED: Oct 2, 2022

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Am I entitled to receive payment for the late fee charges?

I have a labor only business, I emailed an invoice for a customer dated 07/31 with a clause on the bottom stating that all invoices are to be paid within 30 days or a late fee of 10 will be added. I did not receive payment. I then sent a reminder email stating there would be a charge if the check was not received by 08/29, to which I did not proof read and that is the wrong date. On 8/19 I sent an invoice for the late charge. I received payment for the original invoice on 08/26. They are now saying that they will not pay the late charge because of the date on my email. The email was just a reminder and the invoice is the correct dates, am I still entitled to payment?

Asked on August 28, 2019 under Business Law, Indiana


SJZ, Member, New York Bar / FreeAdvice Contributing Attorney

Answered 3 years ago | Contributor

You are only entitled to late fees IF the customer agreed before hiring you to the late fees: for example, if there were late fees in the service agreement or contract. If there was no agreement prior to hiring you as to late fees, you cannot impose them later by putting them on an invoice, since that would not have been part of what they agreed to--it's not part of the contract between you and the customer, and you cannot unilaterally (on your own) impose new or additional terms. If you want to get late fees, make sure it's part of your contract/agreement with the customer.
Even if it had been part of the initial agreement, bear in mind that if they won't pay voluntarily, you'd have to sue them to get the money. It is doubtful whether it is worth suing for the amount involved.

IMPORTANT NOTICE: The Answer(s) provided above are for general information only. The attorney providing the answer was not serving as the attorney for the person submitting the question or in any attorney-client relationship with such person. Laws may vary from state to state, and sometimes change. Tiny variations in the facts, or a fact not set forth in a question, often can change a legal outcome or an attorney's conclusion. Although has verified the attorney was admitted to practice law in at least one jurisdiction, he or she may not be authorized to practice law in the jurisdiction referred to in the question, nor is he or she necessarily experienced in the area of the law involved. Unlike the information in the Answer(s) above, upon which you should NOT rely, for personal advice you can rely upon we suggest you retain an attorney to represent you.

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