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Regus Invoiced You For An Incorrect Amount, And You Disputed The Incorrect Invoice. Now What?

Three catch-22s to watch out for

· Regus,Dispute,Unauthorized Charge,Fine Print,New York

This probably won't surprise you. But the Regus contract you signed is full of inconsistencies. Here are three you may encounter when you're disputing a Regus invoice.

# 1 - the lack of a contractually specified payment due date

If you read all pages of your contract carefully, you will probably not find an actual due date listed anywhere. By "all pages of your contract," I'm referring to all three parts of a typical Regus contract: the order form, the terms and conditions, and the house rules.

There's no due date listed on 

the order form part of the contract (which is the only part you actually signed).

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The order form part of your Regus contract.

There's no due date listed in 

the terms and conditions part of the contract (although there is plenty of reference to one).

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The terms and conditions part of your Regus contract.

Even though the terms and conditions part of the contract repeatedly says that the due is specified in the house rules part of the contract, spoiler alert: there's no due date listed in 

the house rules part of the contract either.

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The house rules part of your contract.

Instead, the closest thing you will find to an actual due date is the implication that there is one (and the implication that Regus may unilaterally set a due date at any time, by issuing an invoice). This implication derives from several places in the contract that say that you have to pay invoices when due. But, glaringly, nowhere does the contract specify when payment is actually due. Nor does it say anywhere when it when invoices will be issued.

As a consequence, there is no contractual provision barring Regus from sending you an invoice for $10,000, and stating that your $10,000 payment is due today, even if your monthly payment (as listed in the order form portion of your contract) is only $1,000. That would be outrageous, of course. But note that we actually have seen crazy stuff like this happen multiple times before, when Regus just sends a customer an invoice with a total payment due that amounts to multiple months worth of fees. In fact, if you sections 35 and 36 of the house rules closely, you will notice that it just seems like this "right" is exactly what Regus had in mind when they drafted the contract this way: "or such other day as Regus designates" and no limitation on when Regus may issue the invoices that the contract terms seem to say are trigger for the due date.

# 2 - the unenforceable threat of late fees

Because there is no specified due date listed in the contract, it's an open question as to whether Regus has the contractual right to charge you any late fees whatsoever--because, of course, to charge you late fees, Regus would have to first specify the date payment was due, and to then show that you missed that due date. In this sense, then, the lack of a due date in the contract is just as problematic for Regus, if not more, than it is for you.

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Anyway, my point here is that, when you are disputing an incorrect invoice with Regus, you will be told that you are contractually required to at least pay the undisputed portion of the invoice by the due if you wish to not incur late fees during your dispute. But you should keep in mind the effect that the absence of a contractually specified due date has on Regus's right to charge you any late fees at any time: it makes it really difficult for Regus to substantiate that Regus even has that right.

# 3 - the inability to make partial payment via your MyRegus portal

Oftentimes, the first Regus employee you will notify when you discover an incorrect invoice is one the "boots on the ground" employees who work in your local office. Usually (though not always), those local employees are a bit more reasonable than the Regus employees who work at the central billing office in the Philippines (probably because the local employees have to look you in the eye everyday).

When you notify one of these local Regus employees of the invoice error you've detected, the employee might take a look and reach the same conclusion you did: that Regus committed an error and needs to correct the invoice. But that does not get you anywhere because those "boots on the ground" employees have little to no authority to resolve billing issues.

This means that you often have one place to go to get Regus billing issues resolved: the central billing office in the Philippines. It would be an understatement to say that Regus's central billing office in the Philippines is difficult to work with. In fact, to illustrate that point, here's a quick side story: we handled a case once in which a c-level Regus  executive in the US eventually got involved in trying to resolve a billing issue that a customer had originally reported to a local Regus employee; after several levels of escalation, the issue reach the c-level executive, who then determined that Regus had in fact committed a billing error and owed the customer a resolution; the c-level executive then instructed the central billing office in the Philippines to resolve a billing error in a customer's favor, and central billing office in the Philippines write back to tell the c-level executive 'no." That is, a likely lower ranking employee in Regus's billing office in the Philippines told a c-level Regus executive "no." Pretty wild.

Anyway because those local Regus employees find it awkward to be the spokesperson for a company who made an error but then makes it really difficult to get the error corrected--and who, apparently, also allows lower-ranking employees in the billing department to defy and emasculate higher-ranking Regus employees who work in any other department--oftentimes, those "boots on the ground" employees will try to find something to tell you in that moment to get you to walk away. A common response of this type thing is that you should just pay the amount in dispute now and trust that, in the meantime, Regus will work on resolving the invoice error (see an actuall email response from a local Regus employee below).

Thank you for your patience. I have escalated this to our billing department and I am currently waiting for a decision. In the meantime, please remit payment for the balance, less the amount of retainer that you are disputing. I have looped in the Account Helpdesk so that they are aware that a dispute is taking place on your account. I will let you know as soon as I hear anything back.

That seems like a reasonable suggestion, of course, but the problem is that, nowadays, Regus requires most manual payments to be made exclusively via the MyRegus portal, and be the MyRegus portal does not allow partial payments on an invoice.

So it is, in fact, impossible to make partial payment on a disputed invoice in this way. Therefore, what the local Regus employee's suggestion to you ends up doing is wasting even more of your time, as you at first try to do as suggested, but find out that you cannot do as suggested, which then prompts you to raise another support ticket with the Regus billing department.

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...and the hamster wheel keeps spinning.