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Unpaid Invoice

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Aaron CadieuxUnpaid Invoice
by on Jun 28, 2010 at 1:52:44 pm

Hey Guys,

I have a client ducking me for payment on an invoice. I have placed several phone calls and emails regarding the bill. He has claimed multiple times that his is "dropping the check in the mail". Of course, he has lied every time. Since the phone calls and emails are not working, and since the amount is too small for a collections agency, I was thinking of paying him a visit in person at his office. Have any of you ever done that before? If so, any words of advice?

Thanks,

Aaron


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David Roth WeissRe: Unpaid Invoice
by on Jun 28, 2010 at 2:13:48 pm

Have you delivered your completed work product to this client?

And, why don't you give us a rough idea of the amount owed? Is it bigger than a breadbox? It's pretty tough to help you if we don't even have a clue how much you need to collect.

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

POST-PRODUCTION WITHOUT THE USUAL INSANITY ™

EPK Colorist - UP IN THE AIR - nominated for six academy awards

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


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Aaron CadieuxRe: Unpaid Invoice
by on Jun 28, 2010 at 2:16:26 pm

David,

The final product was delivered alomost two months ago. He owes me $420.00. I know that's not a lot of money for most of the people on the Cow, but for my small business, it's a nice chunk of change.

-Aaron



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David Roth WeissRe: Unpaid Invoice
by on Jun 28, 2010 at 2:39:16 pm

[Aaron Cadieux] "The final product was delivered alomost two months ago."

Well, I guess you already know that was a big mistake, so I guess you probably don't need me and everyone here to chide you and berate you and belittle you and giggle at you for that one. Right?

Meanwhile, going to his office to confront him sounds like a potential bad scene. I'd rather you call his wife at home and belittle him to Mrs. Client.

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

POST-PRODUCTION WITHOUT THE USUAL INSANITY ™

EPK Colorist - UP IN THE AIR - nominated for six academy awards

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


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Stephen MannRe: Unpaid Invoice
by on Jun 30, 2010 at 3:11:26 pm

Is the potential bad-rep worth $420?

Here's how I would handle this:

Tell him that you will accept an immediate cash payment of (for example) $370 - a $50 premium to settle the matter quickly. Condition this with an on-screen testimonial (bring your camera) that you can use to promote your services to other clients. (Make sure he signs a talent release for himself and his minor child in the video).

Everyone wins. You get paid (mostly), and a testimonial video for your website.

By the way, I've used small-claims court before, and it just isn't worth the hassle. If your client is determined to not pay you, a judgment doesn't guarantee that you will ever get paid. Collection is your responsibility, the court won't do that for you. And you've already tried to collect and look where that got you.

In my Small-Claims case [personal, not business related], both of us were being unreasonable hard-asses. I was getting satisfaction knowing that I have a judgment in my hand and I used the system to harass him as much as legally possible. I even had a lien on his house. It had long ceased being about the money (a few hundred dollars), but this individual had scammed many other people and I wanted him to know that he went too far in scamming me. [Bait and switch on a Hawaii condo rental scam]. Bottom line, I put him out of business and into Chapter-11 bankruptcy. But, the fun just began then because in an ironic twist, court judgments were not, at the time, dismissed by bankruptcy. Acting as my own attorney, I petitioned the Bankruptcy Court for a share of the liquidation proceeds. By then the few-hundred dollar judgment had bloomed into several thousand with collection costs, etc, and we finally received about ten percent of our claim. Ironically, close to the original amount claimed. All this time, he was paying his bankruptcy attorney $300 per hour.

Would I do it again? No. At the time I was young, stupid, and enjoyed the challenge. Now I am older and don't have the time for the campaign. (I am still stupid, though).

I know this is hard to swallow, but, just let it go. Ask the client how much can he pay now? Accept it as payment in full and just let it go. Prosecuting it is just not worth the time and aggravation.




Steve Mann
MannMade Digital Video
http://www.mmdv.com


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grinner hesterRe: Unpaid Invoice
by on Jun 28, 2010 at 2:30:24 pm

Absolutley. Just be factual. Don't ask. Tell them you are there to collect a late payment.
You'll be surprised how quick you can get a check by waiting in someone's lobby asking their clients if they are owed money as well.



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Aaron CadieuxRe: Unpaid Invoice
by on Jun 28, 2010 at 2:35:27 pm

Grinner,

That's great advice. However, this project was not related to his place of business. I produced a basketball sports highlight reel for his daughter for college recruiters. I'd have to pay a visit to his home.

-Aaron



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grinner hesterRe: Unpaid Invoice
by on Jun 28, 2010 at 7:35:04 pm

ahh
so be it. Bring a big dude with bad tats and a strong stinch of cheap whiskey with ya. He'll get it.
In the fiture, half down and half on delivery will keep deat beats from beatin'.



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Neil HurwitzRe: Unpaid Invoice
by on Jun 28, 2010 at 3:44:14 pm

Ok, Here's what you do.
I believe you're in MA. which happens to have a small claims
court which handles disputes under 2,000.00.
So google Small Claims Court MA. Get and file the appropriate
documents and have the court serve a summons. This is
easy and cheap to do. This will usually do the trick.


Neil Hurwitz


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Ryan MastRe: Unpaid Invoice
by on Jun 28, 2010 at 4:09:04 pm

I just get exceptionally friendly when someone owes me money. If an invoice is a couple weeks past due, I'll call a different person in the office every day until the check is in my hand.

"The check is ready -- I'll put it in the mail today" is occasionally true. I reply "don't trouble yourself -- I'll stop in and pick it up myself." In fact, that's what I'm going to do now...

--
Meteor Tower Films
We make music videos, design video for live theater, and build interesting contraptions.


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Mark SuszkoRe: Unpaid Invoice
by on Jun 28, 2010 at 7:41:11 pm

Can you 1099 him?


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Sebastian SzwonderRe: Unpaid Invoice
by on Jul 1, 2010 at 9:11:54 pm

Hey Mark this is the first Ive heard about 1099 someone in this situation exactly how is that beneficial in getting paid. Is it a matter of involving the ORS somehow and using that as a pesuasive tactic? Thanks in advance.


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John BaumchenRe: Unpaid Invoice
by on Jul 2, 2010 at 4:25:58 pm

What a great idea. I'd make sure that the late fees were stiff, and 1099 him for the entire amount.


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Tom SeftonRe: Unpaid Invoice
by on Jul 5, 2010 at 9:44:43 pm

The key question is whether you want to work for this client anymore if he is happy to treat you like this. I have called a client before and told them I was coming to their office to pick a cheque up - it was there when I arrived.

Principals - he is sat on your money, doesnt want to pay and would happily see you go without beer money, food and petrol to avoid paying you.



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