-- A UK family is crying party foul after their 5-year-old was billed for missing a schoolmate's birthday celebration. Now they are being threatened with legal action, should they refuse to pay.
Cornwall residents Derek Nash and Tanya Walsh said they were shocked when their son, Alex, arrived home from preschool with a brown envelope stuffed in his backpack. Inside there was a formal invoice from another mother, Julie Lawrence, for £15.95 ($24.14): monies due, apparently, for failing to RSVP to her son's fete when Alex could no longer attend.
"It was an invoice for a 'child no-show' fee for the party... and it was a proper invoice with full official details, even her bank details, and e-mail address, and name," Nash told BBC News in an earlier report.
After expressing his frustration to his son's teacher and school officials, Nash confronted Lawrence at her home, stating that he had found the invoice in his son's bag and "wasn't happy about that."
"Because I was so angry, I said she wasn't going to get a penny out of me," Nash told BBC News. But Lawrence is now threatening to take Alex's family to small claims court.
Etiquette expert Jacqueline Whitmore recommended different courses of action for both parents.
"This is the first time I have ever heard of someone invoicing their guests for not showing up. It’s just bad etiquette," Whitmore told ABC News.
Instead, Whitmore suggested "a courtesy call saying, 'I’m sorry that your child could not attend my child’s party. I had to incur the cost of him not showing up. Therefore, I would appreciate it if you could help me out by helping me either fully or in part take care of the bill for him not showing up.'”
Whitmore went on to add that Alex's parents weren't off the hook either. The couple claimed they couldn't find the original invitation when they realized their son was double-booked and therefore couldn't connect with Lawrence.
But Whitmore, who is also the author of Poised for Success, believes Alex's father or mother could have made more of an attempt to get in touch.
Below is more of Jacqueline Whitmore's advice when it comes to children's birthday parties:
Jacqueline Whitmore’s Pet Peeves:
Host do's and don’ts:
Parent do's and don’ts: