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Law Educator, Esq.
Law Educator, Esq., Attorney
Category: Business Law
Satisfied Customers: 110577
Experience:  All corporate law, including non-profits and charitable fraternal organizations.
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My question is about billing customers. I work in an industry

Customer Question

My question is about billing customers. I work in an industry that provides on-site repair services to clients. We may bill them "Time & Materials" as required... or if it's a quantifiable project, we may quote them a firm price beforehand for the work. In both of those scenarios billing is straightforward; no questions. But... there are time when we may have a Service Call on the Schedule for "Customer A" for which we would normally invoice him for "Time & Materials, portal to portal." So, we would bill him for travel to the location (time and mileage), 2) time and materials used on-site, and return travel (time and mileage). But let's say that morning we get a call from "Customer B" who is located just 5 miles away from Customer A. Is it OK to invoice Customer A for the round trip travel AND invoice Customer B for the same round trip travel? It's a pretty standard practice in the industry to do this... but I just got to thinking and wondered if there is anything wrong (illegal) with billing that way? It's pretty much a standard Industry practice, so I'm anticipating that this is allowable... but I'm curious enough about it to ask the question. I'd appreciate your answer and the rationale behind the answer. Thank you!
Submitted: 5 months ago.
Category: Business Law
Expert:  Law Educator, Esq. replied 5 months ago.
Thank you for your question. I look forward to working with you to provide you the information you are seeking for educational purposes only.
There is nothing illegal about doing this. Your billing is based on terms in your contract and also industry standard. So if industry standard is that mileage is based on mileage from your home office, then that is not illegal. It is not good faith ethical business practices, but it is not illegal and it is not a breach of contract if your contract provides this is how billing would work. The reason it would not be illegal is that your contract provides for it and that is how billing is done in your industry. However, as far as unethical and not fair, which is not something you would be legally liable over, charging a customer for something you may not have done is not fair (of course if there are also times your customer B may be 20 miles away and you only bill for mileage and time from the office, then it balances out).

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