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Boy Receives Invoice for Being a No-Show to Birthday Party

The Short of It

A 5-year-old was sent an invoice for being a no-show to a friend's birthday party. Alex Nash, from Cornwall, England, was invited to the party just before Christmas. When he didn't show up, his parents received an invoice from the party host's mother, Julie Lawrence, for the wasted expense.

The Lowdown

Alex's parents accepted an invitation to the party at a dry ski slope in Plymouth, Devon, just before Christmas, but they soon remembered that their son was double-booked and due to spend time with his grandparents, so they blew off the seemingly inconsequential children's party.

Alex's parents said they had no contact information for Ms. Lawrence at that time. She says they had everything they needed in the invitation.

Alex's father, Derek, said he was told that he would be taken to the small claims court for refusing to pay the invoice for £15.95 (USD $24.17), which he found in a brown envelope in Alex's schoolbag last week.

"It was a proper invoice with full official details and even her bank details on it," Mr. Nash said.

The Upshot

As a mom who understands the out-of-pocket expense of parties much too well, I understand why Lawrence was annoyed. But this is a bit over the edge. Even if Alex's mom had called to cancel, as good birthday party etiquette demands, the expense would have already been spent. It seems she is more upset by the blatant disregard for her time.

According to BBC legal correspondent Clive Coleman, it would be all but impossible for Ms. Lawrence to recoup her money since it's doubtful that a court would rule a children's party invitation is a contract, especially one that has a "no-show fee" penalty.

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