Dear Customer, as it appears you are already aware, the liability you are concerned about follows actual contractual obligations as opposed to good will gestures. While I may have misunderstood your posting (I do apologize, this does sometimes happen in this forum, particularly with complex fact patterns), unless you have contractually obligated yourself for the additional port fees or other charges ow being assessed.
If you are in fact contractually obligated for the fees (were either in direct contract with the Port, or agreed to pay the fees directly - in these transactions the shipping company often is the one in contract with the Port, but you need to check your contracts), you may be liable to the Port for their fees. Once these fees are paid you will have a claim against your manufacturer or shipper for (1) repayment of the fees; and (2) possibly, a claim for damages based on their failure to pay.
As far as the collections goes, usually these agencies try to settle matters without resorting to court action, they may be willing to negotiate a settlement (often they have purchased the debt for less than its actual value), but they usually are firm on recovery of the entire amount. If they do choose to pursue this matter to Court Action, they may do so, but given the relatively small amount ($1,100.00), this is a small claims matter, and can be dealt with with minimal cost by yourself, unfortunately as an LLC you will need an attorney. You are smart to ask for an invoice and contract - unless they can show that you are contractually responsible (as opposed to a "good will" responsibility) they will not have a strong claim in court.
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Dear XXXXX, thank you for your response. My only follow up question is regarding to what constitutes a contractual obligation. While I do have a signed contract with them for services, I'll have to pull it out and read it thoroughly to see if I accepted terms falling under this circumstance. If this agreement exists in my service contract, I would have thought they would have reminded me of that. I have not received any written or mailed correspondence for payment from this company, no late notices, statements, demands, etc... Would my agreement via email to forward an invoice to the Vietnamese manufacturer create an assumption of financial repayment from me?
Dear Customer, bearing in mind the fact that (1) I have not seen either the contract or the e-mail; and (2) I cannot give you specific legal advice, I would venture the following. Your contract for services (assuming it is with the Port), likely obligates you for all services - you are smart to read the contract thoroughly, the terms of the contract are key in determining what your duties and obligations are. The e-mail authorizing additional services (regardless of where the invoice is to be sent) is likely to be read as an extension of the contract, the manufacturer never entered into a contract with the Port to agree to services, you did. (Remember, this is my assumption, and you are wise to review your documents to determine your actual obligations).
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