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You! be the Judge
The Story

“Hi Mr. Minniver, how ya doing?” said Ron pleasantly. “While I have you on the phone, Ma’s been doing the books and she tells me to tell you that you owe us $700. Are you having trouble or something?”
Ron saw his mother waving frantically at him, so he covered the receiver.
“Now Ron, don’t let that old skinflint talk you out of collecting that money,” she said. “He’s an old scrooge. That General Store he runs is making lots of money. Ain’t nothing wrong with the meat products we sell him. Why, Mrs. Thatcher told me the other day that the only reason she shops at Mr. Stingy’s is because of our meat products.”
Ron waited for his mother to move to the other side of the room before continuing his conversation.
“Mr. Minniver, ya still there? So as I was saying, why aren’t you paying? Oh, you’re surprised the amount is so high. What? Receipts? One moment, I’ll ask Ma.”
Ron covered the receiver and yelled out, “Maaaaaaaaaaaaa. He wants to see receipts. Do you have any receipts for the deliveries we made?”
“That horrible man,” Ron’s mother screamed. “He knows darn well we don’t keep receipts. Who needs receipts when you give him an invoice and deliver each order personally? Now then Ron Sterling, you walk right over there and tell that scoundrel your mother says he’s a liar and get the money.”
A few minutes later, Ron was standing in front of Mr. Minniver, having done exactly what his mother told him to do.
“You’re a good man, Ron,” said Mr. Minniver, “but you’re not a business man. I can’t pay without receipts.”
With no other option, Ron and his mother took Mr. Minniver to court.

In the Courtroom

“Your honour,” argued Ron. “Mr. Minniver should have kept copies of the invoices for their accounts so that they would know how much they owe me. We didn’t keep receipts, but my ledger book clearly show the deliveries that I made to the General Store.”

“I don’t know what to tell you,” said Mr. Minniver. “Far be it for me to question Ron’s honesty. He’s always been a reliable boy. But I simply don’t know why I owe them that much. Unless they can prove why the bill is so high, I don’t think I should have to pay.”

Does the store have to pay? You! Be The Judge. Then look below for the court’s decision.

The Decision

“You must pay part of the Bill, Mr. Minniver,” declared the judge. “The General Store does not need to keep invoices. Ron should have asked all his customers to sign receipts. However, I believe that Ron kept honest records of deliveries. But I will not have Mr. Minniver pay for any deliveries not made personally by Ron!”

Today’s column is based on a case from Ontario. The characters and the scenarios are fictional. Any resemblance to real people is purely coincidental. The information in this column does not constitute legal advice. If you have a similar problem, consult a lawyer in your jurisdiction. Elissa Bernstein is a lawyer and syndicated columnist. Copyright 2016 Haika Enterprises, all rights reserved. BC25-4
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