Skip to content

Antiquing squabble shows billing error no excuse for not paying, rules B.C. tribunal

Two parties must expressly agree to a final payment even when a billing error is made on a transaction, states a recent Civil Resolution Tribunal ruling.
An antique furniture store.

A billing error alone is no excuse to not pay for what is initially agreed upon as the full payment for goods or services, according to a new B.C. Civil Resolution Tribunal ruling.

Surrey-based furniture company Revamp Furniture and Garage disputed an unpaid balance of $4,431.65 for antique furniture it had purchased from Stryco Investments Ltd. on July 16, 2020.

A tribunal ruling noted it was undisputed that Revamp agreed to purchase $12,078.03 worth of furniture from the applicant on consignment and initially paid Stryco $4431.65 directly, and then paid a further $3,214.74 when Stryco hired a bailiff to collect the outstanding amounts owing.

This left $4,431.65 outstanding. However, Revamp disputed owing anything further because they claimed Stryco’s bailiff verbally confirmed their last $3,214.74 payment was “payment in full.”

The bailiff said it contacted Revamp thereafter and advised that there had been a calculation mistake and wanted to collect the balance owing. The bailiff said Revamp did not deny the outstanding amount owing at that time.

“In their most recent submissions, the respondents (Revamp) argue that the bailiff did not justify the additional amount owing after demanding 'payment in full' of $3,214.74,” noted the tribunal.

At issue is what’s known as the doctrine of “accord and satisfaction,” whereby two parties agree to discharge a claim.

“Under that doctrine, the alleged debtors, the respondents, must show that the alleged creditor, the applicant, expressly communicated an intention to accept partial payment as a final settlement. Silence is not generally considered acceptance,” stated tribunal member Leah Volkers.

“I find the respondents cannot rely on the defence of accord and satisfaction,” she ruled.

And since Revamp did not otherwise dispute the amount owing, the tribunal found Stryco is entitled to payment of the outstanding $4,431.64 owing for the furniture.