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Disputing an Invoice

If the accuracy or completeness of an invoice is in question, a dispute can be filed with the vendor.  A dispute can be defined as any discrepancy showing that something might not be true or accurate with the invoice/billing document that may result in the delay of payment.

Notifying the Vendor

  • The vendor must be notified in writing within 21 calendar days from the date Texas State first received the invoice. If you fail to notify the vendor within 21 days, the invoice will be subject to interest when it is paid.
  • Send an email notice of dispute to the vendor.  State in the email that the referenced invoice is being returned for the following reasons:
    • Vendor has not complied with the purchase order agreement.
    • There is a problem with the invoice provided.
    • Other ______________________________________
  • Include the invoice as an attachment to the email.
  • Maintain email communication and the invoice until the dispute has been resolved. 
  • The vendor may also be notified over the phone which will also stop the 30-day processing time. If communication is over the phone, you must document the date you spoke with the vendor, the telephone number, the person, their title and what was discussed.
  • If the vendor was wrong:
    •  You wait for the new invoice.
    • The baseline date will be the date the new/corrected invoice is first received.
  • If the department is in error: 
    • The baseline date will be the latter of the original invoice received date or the goods/services received date.

Returning the Invoice

The instructions for completing an Invoice Return Letter state to attach the original invoice to the letter when returning it to the vendor. However, the following vendors do not have an accounting system that will allow them to resubmit corrected invoices:
  • Telecommunication vendors
  • Utility vendors
  • Commercial freight and shipping vendors
Therefore, Accounts Payable needs your assistance when dealing with these vendors. Return a copy of the invoice along with the original Invoice Return Letter to the vendor. Mail the original invoice attached to a copy of the Invoice Return Letter to the Accounts Payable Office. Remember to keep a copy of the invoice and letter for your files.

Processing a Revised Invoice

An invoice that has been resubmitted to Texas State for payment should have “Revised” written on it by the vendor. However, you can process the invoice even if “Revised” is not on the invoice. Be sure to date stamp the revised invoice with the date it was received.  

Email the original invoice number, disputed email chain, corrected invoice, and other supporting documentation to the Accounts Payable Office at promptly once the dispute has been resolved.

When Not to Return an Invoice to the Vendor

If an invoice is received in Accounts Payable and the contract/PO clearly indicates that the invoice should be sent to the department, the invoice can still be processed without sending it back to the vendor. Accounts Payable will first try to process the invoice if possible. Accounts Payable will follow these steps.
  1. Identify which department the invoice belongs to based on the PO number.
  2. If Accounts Payable can identify the invoice the accounting clerk will:
    • Fax or email the invoice to the applicable administrative staff, account manager, or principal investigator.
  3. Upon receiving the invoice, the Department will:
    • Approve the invoice and promptly email it to
    • Remind the vendor that the correct PO number should be on the invoice.
    • Inform the vendor that invoices can be emailed to or to the billing address on the PO.
  4. If the invoice cannot be identified with the PO number
    • Accounts Payable will return it to the vendor.

Paying a Partial Invoice

There are instances when a partial payment can be processed. Documentation is still required in a similar fashion as if you were returning the entire invoice.
  1. When to partially pay an invoice
    • Payment on the agreed purchases is required to continue service.
    • The agency has a business need to continue purchasing or services with the vendor.
  2. When not to partially pay an invoice
    • No letter or documentation disputing the pending charges has been completed and delivered to the vendor.
    • A new invoice for the disputed purchases will not be resubmitted.
    • Receipt of all the goods or service is required to fulfill the requirements of the purchase order or contract.