03 February 2009

Original Invoice and Copies

Two days ago I received an email from abroad concerning “original” and “copies” of invoice. The issue of original and copies have been brought to the attention of ICC many years ago when UCP 500 was still in force. It was a big issue where there were cases ended up in legal disputes.

To make this very clear, I think it is best to look at four situations below:

1. LC requests original invoice
2. LC requests a specific number of original invoice
3. LC permits copies of invoice
4. LC does not mention original invoice or copies

Upon receipt of the LC, it is very important to check and fully aware the terms of the LC such the issuing date, expiry date, the last day of presentation, availability of the LC and the date of shipment, to name a few. When these particulars are agreeable, look at the conditions like documents requirements, special instructions and the rest of the particulars.

Alright, let’s get back to invoice. Pay attention to field 46A (Documents required). Read carefully what are the documents required, number of pieces required. And cross check with field 47A (Additional conditions) to see if there is any special instruction where seller needs to perform.

If the LC requests the original invoice to be presented without specifically mentioned number of original, it means that at least one original invoice should be submitted. This will satisfy the requirement of the LC.

On the other hand, if the LC specifically mentioned “3 original invoice”, it means that 3 original invoice must be presented by the seller. This is a clear cut case.

Sometimes LC specifically mentioned, invoice in “3 copies”, “in duplicate” or “in two fold”. In this case, seller is said to have satisfied the condition of the LC by presenting at least one original invoice and the rest can be in copies. This is in accordance with article 17(a) of UCP 600.

If the LC does not mention either original invoice or copies to be presented, the seller shall present either original invoice or copies.

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