Offsetting Payments of Supplier Invoices
Q. A trucking company hauling lumber for us had an accident. A rate was negotiated for the lumber that was accepted. We have other outstanding invoices with this trucking company. Can we legally deduct from the agreed amount owed using the invoices? If not deduct, can we hold any or all of these invoices past 30 days or until we are reimbursed for the lumber we already paid for?
A. The issue you raise concerning withholding payment of a supplier's invoices to offset the supplier's debt to you is outside the regulatory authority of the FTA. In the absence of a contract clause addressing this issue, the matter would be governed by State law. Each state’s laws differ regarding withholding or deducting funds for claims owed on unrelated/separate contracts. You should contact an attorney in your state that can help you with this problem. (Reviewed: September 1, 2009)