Can a contractor change an invoice more than a year after you paid the original invoice they sent?

UPDATED: Sep 30, 2022

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Can a contractor change an invoice more than a year after you paid the original invoice they sent?

I hired a company to put a new roof on my house in 2015. The work was completed in August 2015. I received an invoice and paid the full amount in December 2015. I have received no communications from them in over a year and now on 1/12/17 a receive a new invoice that has been changed from the original and they want more money. Can they change an invoice more than one year after they already issued it and it was paid in full?

Asked on January 13, 2017 under Business Law, Indiana


SJZ, Member, New York Bar / FreeAdvice Contributing Attorney

Answered 5 years ago | Contributor

It depends on *why* they changed the amount. It can legally be changed to correct an obvious error, one that *you* can verify based on the line items, or contract, or your correspondence, etc. Examples:
1) They original invoice listed all line item charges correctly, but added them up wrong, so the total was incorrect--since the line charges are listed and correct, this was a simple mathematical error which could be fixed.
2) The contract or accepted (by you) proposal said you'd pay labor and materials, but they omitted to include some or all materials on the invoice. As long as they can show that the materials they are charging for now are the ones used, they can invoice for them.
3) The original contract was for, say, $7,000. You then put in a change order to use a higher grade material which adds $1,000 to the cost, or to do some additional work (maybe fix some subroofing which was discovered to have problems) for another $1,000, but they forgot to include the change order on in the invoice. As long as they can prove that the new cost is from your valid change order, they can invoice for it.
But they can't simply decide that they *should* have charged you more for what they did; that sort of change is not legal. All they can do, as stated, is correct a provable error.

IMPORTANT NOTICE: The Answer(s) provided above are for general information only. The attorney providing the answer was not serving as the attorney for the person submitting the question or in any attorney-client relationship with such person. Laws may vary from state to state, and sometimes change. Tiny variations in the facts, or a fact not set forth in a question, often can change a legal outcome or an attorney's conclusion. Although has verified the attorney was admitted to practice law in at least one jurisdiction, he or she may not be authorized to practice law in the jurisdiction referred to in the question, nor is he or she necessarily experienced in the area of the law involved. Unlike the information in the Answer(s) above, upon which you should NOT rely, for personal advice you can rely upon we suggest you retain an attorney to represent you.

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