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Check Was Cut-Lost-Client Now Won't Pay

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Bill Paris
Check Was Cut-Lost-Client Now Won't Pay
on Mar 11, 2009 at 6:33:24 pm

Hey Everyone,

Please help me formulate the appropriate response to this situation. We did as 2 day ENG shoot for a Fox Sports special via a production company out of Atlanta. The client sent payment for the shoot right away via UPS. We got busy.... the check got lost...... I call the production company about a month later asking if the check cleared since I have no record of a deposit...... they say "no problem we'll check" and by the way "your portion of the show was best.... thanks for the great work, etc......... Now there's been no response for over a week after repeated emails and phone calls.

OK, I know..... I was a bonehead for losing the check!!!

I know how I would handle the situation if the shoe was on the other foot. I would cancel the first check and write another one for a job well done. Times are tough so the company may be having a tough time, but since their not communicating with me I have to assume their not going to play fair.

That brings me to an appropriate response. I have a few ideas.... but I'm getting mad which may cloud my judgment. Anyone faced a situation like this before? Any ideas how I can get this client to do the right thing?

Thanks!

Bill Paris
Director of Photography
Crew Hawaii Television


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Bruce Bennett
Re: Check Was Cut-Lost-Client Now Won't Pay
on Mar 11, 2009 at 7:36:19 pm

[Bill Paris] "Now there's been no response for over a week after repeated emails and phone calls."

Hi Bill,

Some times a week is not a very long time for this sort of thing (especially for some big corporate environments). There may be a couple of reasons why you haven't heard back from him/her. Some production people take vacation time right away after a large project, he/she has not yet contacted accounting to cancel and re-cut a new check, etc. If you don't hear back within the next day or two, I would then leave a voice mail and give the person 2-days for a call back. If no call back, I would call their accounting department directly. This sort of thing happens all the time.

[Bill Paris] "OK, I know..... I was a bonehead for losing the check!!!"
We all make mistakes and all we can do is apply what we learn so that we can do our best to avoid duplicating them.

Good Luck,
Bruce


Bruce Bennett
Bennett Marketing & Media Production, LLC


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Mark Suszko
Re: Check Was Cut-Lost-Client Now Won't Pay
on Mar 11, 2009 at 7:38:37 pm

I'm picturing Chevy Chase as Ty Webb in Caddyshack, with uncashed tournament checks littering his house...:-)

You have to be patient in a situation like this, especially when its your mistake. The accounting department over there is a bureaucracy like any other, its going to take some time to kill the first check and write another, such jobs go tot he bottom of the incoming stack, plus they usually have a built-in delay as a way to guard against being scammed for two checks. It could easily take a month to straighten out.

Let it age a little longer, meanwhile, send them a polite memo that touches on the elements of the problem, but doesn't have any kind of demanding tone. You save that for later, I don't think you've given them enough time yet. The memo can just be along the lines of a thank-you regarding their continued efforts to resolve the account, and politely asking if there is anything else you can do for them to help re-process the bill and get the check cut.

The real point of the memo is to establish and build a paper trail to document what the original deal was. Services awere rendered, client was happy, a check was tendered but not cashed, so money has yet to be exchanged. If this ever has to got o court, you need to have this paper trail.

But don't get huffy with them yet. It just refreshes their memory of who made the intial mistake.

And remember: "Be the ball, Danny":-)


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Bill Paris
Re: Check Was Cut-Lost-Client Now Won't Pay
on Mar 11, 2009 at 8:11:27 pm

Thanks Bruce and Mark for your Responses,

Good advice! I'll keep you posted as this progresses.

Bill



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Nick Griffin
Re: Check Was Cut-Lost-Client Now Won't Pay
on Mar 11, 2009 at 8:18:10 pm

Bill-

As usual, I agree with Mark. The important part here is to put your request in writing. Phone calls are fine, but a written record is a much more effective tool in the long run. Especially should you in fact actually have a problem. But don't assume that you do. I also agree with Bruce. It hasn't been that long and is more likely to have a satisfactory outcome than not.


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David Roth Weiss
Re: Check Was Cut-Lost-Client Now Won't Pay
on Mar 11, 2009 at 8:29:41 pm

[Nick Griffin] "As usual, I agree with Mark."

I hardly ever agree with Mark, but I always agree with Nick, and this time I agree with Nick that Mark is right.

So, now that we've established that, exactly what is the lesson here? Oh, now I remember...

Don't sweat the details, you'll get your check eventually. No one ever intended to screw you out of your money, you just inadvertently created a bit of extra work for everyone involved and so you've got to be both patient and understanding.

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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Mark Suszko
Re: Check Was Cut-Lost-Client Now Won't Pay
on Mar 11, 2009 at 9:47:38 pm

I'll agree with that.


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David Roth Weiss
Re: Check Was Cut-Lost-Client Now Won't Pay
on Mar 11, 2009 at 9:51:37 pm

[Mark Suszko] "I'll agree with that."

And I'm in agreement with your agreement...

That's really scary.


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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Ron Lindeboom
Re: Check Was Cut-Lost-Client Now Won't Pay
on Mar 11, 2009 at 10:13:32 pm


[David Roth Weiss] "And I'm in agreement with your agreement..."


And I agree with all of you, no matter your point-of-view.

Now that's decisiveness. Isn't it?@!#?

:o)

Man, we sound like Chip & Dale, the chipmunks that Disney used to create...






Best regards,

Ron Lindeboom

Creativity is a type of learning process where the teacher and pupil are located in the same individual.


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Chuck Pullen
Re: Check Was Cut-Lost-Client Now Won't Pay
on Mar 12, 2009 at 2:51:34 am

Any chance this was NewsProNet? The only reason I ask, is that they are Georgia based, and have screwed myself and several others out of payment for shoots.

Chuck



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Bill Paris
Re: Check Was Cut-Lost-Client Now Won't Pay
on Mar 12, 2009 at 3:22:06 am

[Chuck Pullen] "Any chance this was NewsProNet?"

No.... it wasn't "News Pro Net".

Update:
I heard from my client and he said they're working on it. They switched banks so they no longer have web access to the checking records. I think what made me so worked up was the lack of communication. With the response I received today, it reduces most of the angst. If the client doesn't end up paying, I'll be back on to let you know the name of the company so others can be prepared.

I've been working in this business for 25 years and have only been "taken advantage of" once, so I usually don't require deposits with my clients. Most of my business is with established production companies and networks based in New York and LA, so there's a trust factor when the booking is made. That said, I've often wondered how far I would go to pressure a client to pay should they choose not to pay. If this client decides to not pay this bill, I will welcome your ideas about using a "velvet hammer" to change their minds.

Thank you all for your insights and guidance!

Bill Paris
Crew Hawaii Television





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grinner hester
Re: Check Was Cut-Lost-Client Now Won't Pay
on Mar 12, 2009 at 5:59:11 pm

You may a little antsy. These things happen and are very seldom a big deal. So little of a deal they probably have pushed it off till pay day.
I don't get stiffed as I am much more hard-headed than anyone else I do business with but I'd slow down on this one. Keep that perky happy conversation goin... call em Friday am.




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Steve Wargo
Re: Check Was Cut-Lost-Client Now Won't Pay
on Mar 14, 2009 at 5:12:46 pm

If I'm dealing with Accounts Payable, they make us wait till a check run. We are just a line item to the bean counters. If I'm dealing with a person close to us, we can get a check cut sooner.

Be patient but if the check doesn't come in a reasonable amount of time, do a drive-by on them.




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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grinner hester
Re: Check Was Cut-Lost-Client Now Won't Pay
on Mar 15, 2009 at 1:49:42 pm

In person really has always been an affective way to get paid.
I had a production house in Dallas trying to stiff me after a check went 3 months late.
It's not someone I was gonna work with again so having nothing to lose and everything to gain, I simply waited in their waiting room. When their clients would come in, I'd casually ask em if they were owed money as well.
lol
Left with a check pretty quick.




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Bill Paris
Re: Check Was Cut-Lost-Client Now Won't Pay
on Mar 30, 2009 at 7:54:37 pm

UPDATE

OK guys.... i've heard back from my client regarding the lost check, but i need your insights into his response. Fist a little background.
He sent me the check for $3200 via UPS December 12, 2008..... I lost the check...... he says he switched banks 1/1/2009, but that the old bank paid out the $3200 on 1/26/2009 and has no cancelled check on record.

Here's his latest response:

Sorry for the delay in getting back to you. From what our accountant and our former bank have determined we likely have a case of fraud going on relative to your check. The bank has not been able to produce a cancelled check, yet shows your check as having been cashed and deducted from our account. None of this is adding up - and we've now had two other cases of checks drawn from this former bank that have shown to be cashed as well but neither vendor received these checks. Obviously yours we're more concerned about because we know that it was received - yet it makes no sense how your check shows up as being cashed when you have not done so and so far our former bank cannot produce a cancelled check other than to report the amount of money we sent you has been deducted from our account. I have my attorney and accountant working with the fraud department of our former bank to see what is going on. I'll be back in touch with you ASAP. I'm sorry for the confusion. Your patience is very much appreciated.

I wrote back:

Any word from your bank regarding the payment on the lost check? I really don't understand how they can pay out on a check without a record of the transaction. I suppose the money could be taken from the account via a bank transfer...... either way there should be record of the transaction.

Please let me know what you find out.

Thanks!

Any thoughts from you guys would be appreciated. His explanation just doesn't make sense to me.
1. Why would a bank he stopped using 1/1/2009 pay out the $3200 on 1/26/09?
2. Why would there be no record of any transaction taking place?

Thanks in advance!

Bill Paris





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