Tuesday, January 20, 2015

5 year old boy billed for missing birthday party...say what?

At some point in a life, people miss attending a celebration that could be attributed to unforeseen circumstances including a sudden illness, wrong date, traffic jam - your normal, every day reasons. However - it's always the howevers in life that get you in the end - a missed birthday party  is being considered as a reason for legal action. Really.

Our story begins innocently enough as many stories do, when five year old Alex Nash of Cornwall, England, was invited to a birthday party by someone in his class. Having given permission for Alex to attend the party that took place before Christmas at a ski centre, his father forgot that he had made prior arrangements to visit his grandparents. Upon his return to school, a bill for £15.95 or $24 was slipped into his school bag as a birthday party no-show. Again, really.

Anyway...assuming the bill was a joke, Alex's father met with the mother of the birthday boy and was informed that the bill stood and that he (Alex) would have to pay up for none-attendance. According to information gleaned from news articles, the mother of the birthday boy claims complete details of the party were on the invitation including a contact phone number.

What started out as an innocent invitation between class friends has turned into a cause celebre, replete with a detailed invoice and threats of court proceedings. The story is also generating interest outside of the country focusing on the validity of billing a parent for what basically was a kid's missed birthday party. Makes one wonder if there still would have been a charge administered if a child was, say, ill or for whatever reason couldn't make the party. The issue seems to be that no notification was made to inform the birthday boy's parents that Alex would not be attending plus the no-show charge.

For their part, the ski center's manager is attributing the incident as a dispute between parents since they had no part in the billing procedure. Their policy is a small deposit to hold the booking and to confirm the attendees forty-eight hours before the party. The centre doesn't have a no-show fee.

Believe it or not - again we're talking about young children who most likely would not have thought twice about Alex missing the event - the parents of the birthday boy are contemplating taking the matter to small claims court. Really.

It will be interesting to see the legal aspect of this case should legal proceedings be pursued. Hopefully not. What do YOU think?

1 comment:

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