Boy (5) fined by friend’s mother for missing birthday party

Bill for £15.95 and threat of legal action as woman said she was left out of pocket by no-show

Alex Nash with his father Derek: a brown envelope with a £15.95 (€20.80) “no-show fee” was put in   Alex’s school bag. Photograph: Guardian/Apex/Lucy Davies

Alex Nash with his father Derek: a brown envelope with a £15.95 (€20.80) “no-show fee” was put in Alex’s school bag. Photograph: Guardian/Apex/Lucy Davies

 

The parents of a five-year-old schoolboy have been invoiced for failing to attend a school friend’s birthday party and threatened with legal action if they do not pay.

Derek Nash and Tanya Walsh found a brown envelope with a £15.95 (€20.80) “no-show fee” in their son Alex’s school bag last week, sent by his classmate’s mother Julie Lawrence.

Ms Lawrence claims that Alex’s failure to attend her child’s birthday party has left her out of pocket, and that his parents had her details to tell her that their son would not be attending.

Mr Nash said he had been told he would be taken to the small claims court for refusing to pay.

It all started with an invitation to the birthday party just before Christmas at the Plymouth Ski Slope and Snowboard Centre. Alex – who attends a nursery in Torpoint, Cornwall – told his parents he wanted to go, so they confirmed he would be at the party.

However, his parents realised on the day that Alex had been double-booked to spend time with his grandparents.

His mother told the Plymouth Herald, “Julie Lawrence and I weren’t friends, we didn’t talk to each other at school, but I felt bad about Alex not going to the party.

“I searched for the party invite afterwards and I’m not sure we even had one.”

She added: “But to be invoiced like this is so over the top – I’ve never heard of anything like it. It’s a terrible way of handling it, it’s very condescending.”

Mr Nash said he did not have the contact details of Julie Lawrence and so could not let her know on the day.

After he found the letter he visited Ms Lawrence, as her address was on the invoice, and “told her I would not be paying her the money. It was a proper invoice with full official details and even her bank details on it.”

He added: “I can understand that she’s upset about losing money. The money isn’t the issue, it’s the way she went about trying to get the money from me.

“She didn’t treat me like a human being,” he said.

In a short statement, Ms Lawrence said: “All details were on the party invite. They had every detail needed to contact me.” – Guardian News and Media