A five-year-old boy was charged a 'no-show' fee for skipping a school pal's birthday party - and his parents say they have been threatened with court action if they fail to clear the infant schooler's debt.
Alex was slapped with a bill for £15.95, payable to the classmate's parents, after missing a party at the Plymouth Ski Slope.
Dad Derek Nash explained that Alex was keen to attend and so had accepted the invite. However, just before the day of the party, Derek and his partner realised that the bash coincided with a day out with Alex's grandparents.
Derek said that Alex's mum had tried to get in touch with the classmate's parents after realising there was a clash, but couldn't find any contact details.
On the day of the party, Alex chose to go out with his grandparents and sister instead. His parents thought nothing more of it, although when term resumed Derek's partner looked for the classmate's mother in the playground to apologise for Alex's absence, but could not find her.
However, when Alex came home from school, his dad was appalled to find an envelope in his bag containing the invoice, which had been passed on by a teacher.
"I thought it was a joke to begin with," Derek told the Plymouth Herald. "I am lost for words. 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."
As the classmate's address was on the invoice, Derek was able to confront her in person. "I told her she should have spoken to me first and not put the invoice in my son's school bag."
She, on the other hand, claims that her contact details were on the invite and that Alex's no-show left her unfairly out of pocket.
Delivery driver Derek told the Herald he now has no intention of paying the bill, despite being threatened with small claims court. "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."
What do you think about this? Have you ever been tempted to charge for party no-shows?
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Children's party politics: Who to invite, how to give out invitations and how to console your left-out child
Children's birthday parties - stress!