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client renegs on deal

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Todd Morganclient renegs on deal
by on Jun 9, 2008 at 7:22:45 pm

Hi there,

Any advice for the following: client handshakes on deal, then when they can't meet my request of the deposit that was agreed upon, and without any discussion, takes project away... no signed contract though they had it in their hands and the invoice for the deposit. Do I have an legal standings to recoup monies lost? I held a block of time and turned away business for this project.

Thanks!


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Todd TerryRe: client renegs on deal
by on Jun 9, 2008 at 7:37:38 pm

Legal standing?... maybe, maybe not.

Sounds to me like you do indeed have a contract, just not one written on paper.

To have a legal binding contract you only have to have three things: Offer, acceptance, and consideration.

I think you have all of these... the offer ("I will do this project for you"), the acceptance ("Yes, I agree to hire you for this project") and consideration (you both agree in advance what the project will cost).

Verbal or handshake contracts are just as binding as those that are written in granite. The difficulty comes in proving the terms of the contract. It can quickly escalate into a he said / she said kind of thing.

If this was a huge amount of money and a big job, it might be worth pursuing through legal channels. If not, probably best to walk away, it might be more trouble than it is worth for ever seeing the money.


T2

__________________________________
Todd Terry
Creative Director
Fantastic Plastic Entertainment, Inc.
fantasticplastic.com






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Todd MorganRe: client renegs on deal
by on Jun 9, 2008 at 7:50:03 pm

Thanks Todd! After a phone call discussing the situation with the client, I think they realized the error and miscommunication and we now have the project back.

Todd Morgan
Creative Director
morgancreative
http://www.morgancreative.ca


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Todd TerryRe: client renegs on deal
by on Jun 9, 2008 at 7:53:31 pm

Excellent!


T2

__________________________________
Todd Terry
Creative Director
Fantastic Plastic Entertainment, Inc.
fantasticplastic.com






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Steve WargoRe: client renegs on deal
by on Jun 10, 2008 at 1:06:32 am

It's funny that we are all in the communications business but all of the problems are usually started by someone miscommunicating something.

Did I get that right?


Steve Wargo
Tempe, Arizona
It's a dry heat!

Sony HDCAM F-900 & HDW-2000/1 deck
5 Final Cut (not quite PRO) systems
Sony HVR-M25 HDV deck
2-Sony EX-1 HD .


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Tim KolbRe: client renegs on deal
by on Jun 9, 2008 at 7:52:21 pm

...and excellent illustration of why one might want to phrase the last words as: "Once we receive your deposit, we'll take a look at the calendar and get you scheduled..."

...and don't do anything to accommodate the project until the check clears.

That way, it's not personal...it's just policy.



TimK,
Director, Consultant
Kolb Productions,

CPO, Digieffects


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David Roth WeissRe: client renegs on deal
by on Jun 9, 2008 at 7:49:54 pm

Todd & Todd,

So, what's been lost, other than potential income?

A judge would rule favorably if you could show a tangible loss, but people are entitled to change their minds, it happens every day in every business. Sure it hurts, and the client did you wrong, but there's no legal remedy for hurt feelings.

David Roth Weiss
Director/Editor
David Weiss Productions, Inc.
Los Angeles

POST-PRODUCTION WITHOUT THE USUAL INSANITY ™


A forum host of Creative COW's Apple Final Cut Pro, Business & Marketing, and Indie Film & Documentary forums.


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Todd MorganRe: client renegs on deal
by on Jun 9, 2008 at 7:52:41 pm

True... true. The only problem is turning away the business to accommodate this client, who then renegs on the deal because they don't want to pay the deposit, though they agreed to it already. So then the booked time that could have been given to the other clients is now open, no clients since they were turned away and went elsewhere... but my feelings are, and have never been, hurt. Though it is bloody hot up here!!!!

Thanks for the insight!

Cheers!

Todd Morgan
Creative Director
morgancreative
http://www.morgancreative.ca


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Mark SuszkoRe: client renegs on deal
by on Jun 9, 2008 at 8:31:01 pm

One quibble I have with the definition, It is: Offer, Acceptance, and Consideration, the last being defined as actual money has changed hands, even if just a token amount. Without that part, the other two don't add up to a contract. This is why you see those deals where people trade the title to a car for a dollar, the dollar is the consideration that proves both parties are going thru the exchange, and have agreed to terms. If you tell a guy you want him to edit for you, but never pay a dime up front and never sign anything, nor give him material to work on, you have a hard time proving you had anything like a meeting of the minds.

I had this proven to me in small claims court against a crooked client who's main argument was that we didn't actually have a contract, so whatever nefarious things he did (like pirating a ton of dubs without paying me my agreed cut) were none of my business. I was able to show there was consideration thru a cancelled check of his and receipt signed by him for a deposit fee as part of the first dub run. Judge looked at that and said I had an open and shut case and ruled for me and my biz partner. Closest I ever came to mom's dream of me being a lawyer

Just the week before, I had been watching an episode of "The Paper Chase" that was all about consideration as part of a contract. So I had this argument all prepared and ready, but was lucky I didn't have to cite John Houseman as my source:-)

And they say Tv doesn't teach you anything:-)


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David Roth WeissRe: client renegs on deal
by on Jun 9, 2008 at 8:51:05 pm

[Mark Suszko] " I was able to show there was consideration thru a cancelled check"

No doubt about it, cancelled checks and even more so, bounced checks, will seal the deal in almost every case. There's nothing that waves a red flag any better. A check represents an executed and enforceable agreement between two parties and a cancelled or bounced check almost always signifies a broken agreement.

David Roth Weiss
Director/Editor
David Weiss Productions, Inc.
Los Angeles

POST-PRODUCTION WITHOUT THE USUAL INSANITY ™


A forum host of Creative COW's Apple Final Cut Pro, Business & Marketing, and Indie Film & Documentary forums.


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David Roth WeissRe: client renegs on deal
by on Jun 9, 2008 at 8:37:53 pm

[Todd Morgan] "but my feelings are, and have never been, hurt."

You are much tougher than I... My feelings get hurt all the time, especially when someone takes money away that I was counting on.

Any way, I'm glad to hear that communicating with the client solved your problems.

David

David Roth Weiss
Director/Editor
David Weiss Productions, Inc.
Los Angeles

POST-PRODUCTION WITHOUT THE USUAL INSANITY ™


A forum host of Creative COW's Apple Final Cut Pro, Business & Marketing, and Indie Film & Documentary forums.


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Gary ChvatalRe: client renegs on deal
by on Jun 12, 2008 at 3:25:31 am

I had one of these a few months ago. A shoot for a department at a major university. They contacted me...and were shopping around but the shoot was about four days away...so they couldn't get many takers.

We negotiated a terms and she wanted me to talk with her supervisor. Over the weekend I contracted freelance help...scouted the location...coordinated with the technical director of the facility. Got everything in place...fast.

Spoke with the supervisor the next business day...everything was cool...I told her since it was quick planning I would need payment of 50% the next day before beginning the shoot with the balance to be paid upon completion of the edit. She agreed...no problem.

The next day about 3 hours before the shoot I got a call from another faculty member who wanted to go over some details...by the end of the call the guy wants to cancel the shoot.

My gut instinct was they couldn't afford the project (or chose not to pay spend the money). But I got stiffed. I'm just glad I asked for money up front...rather than doing the job and getting stiffed at the end.



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grinner hesterRe: client renegs on deal
by on Jun 17, 2008 at 2:25:32 am

A person can occupy his time doing many things. Court or messin with uncool people are just two examples. Learning and rockin' on are two more.
You have no legal standing here. and if ya did, it aint worth it. There are people with and without that thing we call integrity in life. Honestly, it's the ones who lack it that allow us to appriciate those who do so much.



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