A five-year-old has been handed an invoice and his parents threatened with court action – for missing his friend’s birthday party.
According to the local Plymouth Herald newspaper, Derek Nash and his partner discovered the £15.95 “no show fee” invoice after it was slipped into their son Alex’s school bag.
Mr Nash said he originally “thought it was a joke”, but the issue has remained unresolved with the birthday boy’s mother, Julie Lawrence, threatening small claims court.
The family confirmed their son would be attending the party at the Ski Slope and Snowboard Centre just before the Christmas holidays.
However, Mr Nash, from Torpoint, Cornwall, realised he had already arranged for their daughter to go on a day trip with her grandparents.
He said: “She saw me and asked if Alex was coming to the party. At this time I agreed and said that Alex was looking forward to it.
“By this time we did not have a contact number, email or an address to let [the boy’s mother] know. So on the day of the party we asked Alex what he wanted to do – he chose to be with his grandparents.”
Alex returned to Torpoint Nursery and Infant School on January 6, but the family were shocked to receive the bill just over a week later.
Mr Nash added: “My partner looked out for [the friend’s mother] to apologise for Alex not showing up to the party, but didn’t see her.
“But on January 15 she looked in Alex’s school bag and found a brown envelope. It was an invoice for £15.95 for a child’s party no show fee.
“I asked Alex’s class teacher if [the child’s mother] had given anything to her. She said, ‘Yes, a brown envelope’.
“I then visited Alex’s school head teacher, who couldn’t apologise enough that one of the teachers had passed this on. She said she would remind all staff that this was a breach of protocol.
“I left the school and went to see [the birthday boy’s mother] as her address was on the invoice.
When she answered the door I told her I had found the invoice in my son’s school bag and that I wasn’t happy about it.
“I told her I would not be paying her the money. I told her she should have spoken to me first and not put the invoice in my son’s school bag.
“I would have sympathised with her about the cost of Alex not showing up, but I just can’t believe the way she has gone around it.”
Ms Lawrence has since threatened the family that she would take the case to a small claims court, while the birthday boy will no longer play with Alex at school.
Mr Nash added: “I drive all around the south west for my job and I have talked to quite a few people about this. They’re all quite incredulous that this has happened. I thought it was a joke to begin with. I am lost for words.”
His partner, who does not want to be named, has been in contact with the mother via social media in a bid to resolve the situation.
Ms Lawrence said the boy’s non-attendance left her out of pocket and insisted his parents did have details to tell her he was not going.
She said in a statement: “All details were on the party invite. They had every detail needed to contact me.”
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