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Another unrelated invoice question

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Aaron CadieuxAnother unrelated invoice question
by on Jul 13, 2011 at 5:25:28 pm

Hello again everyone,

I have another client, unrelated to my other Business & Marketing post from today. This other client has owed me money for over 2 years. I took them to small claims court. The court ruled in my favor. I was supposed to be receiving a payment of $25/month until the balance is paid. The last two months I have not received checks. So, we had a "payment review hearing" in which the defendant (my client) failed to appear. The magistrate ruled "capias", which means I can have a deputy arrest my client and force him to appear in court. I don't want to have to enforce the capias ruling for the amount of money in question. However, it also goes against my princiles to let the remaining balance go without some sort of penalty. I was thinking about telling the client that I will wipe clean his debt if he posts an apology to any vendors that he has not paid on the top of the front page of his web site. I would require that he leave that apology up on his web site for one month's time. Does this sound like a fair compromise, or would this qualify as harrassment?

Thanks,

Aaron



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Michael HancockRe: Another unrelated invoice question
by on Jul 13, 2011 at 5:30:15 pm

Have him arrested and continue through the legal system, or write it off. Anything else will show poor character on your part. While it would be gratifying to publicly humiliate him, it's not worth the time or effort (and you'd want to talk to a lawyer before proposing this, too).

You can always solicit the court to garnish his wages. Again, consult with a lawyer, but it's probably not worth it.

I'd let this one go.

----------------
Michael Hancock
Editor


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Patrick OrtmanRe: Another unrelated invoice question
by on Jul 13, 2011 at 5:39:06 pm

What Michael said.

----------------------------
PatrickOrtman, Inc.
Los Angeles Digital Agency and Video Production Company


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Scott CarnegieRe: Another unrelated invoice question
by on Jul 13, 2011 at 9:10:16 pm

While you may be morally and legally correct in doing so, perception has more impact. If I heard that my plumber has some dude arrested because he wasn't paying him the money he was owed, I would understand, but I wouldn't want him as my plumber because he might do the same to me.

Is the remaining balance a lot? It it's not worth the hassle then let it go.

http://www.MediaCircus.TV
Media Production Services
Winnipeg, Manitoba, Canada


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Gav BottRe: Another unrelated invoice question
by on Jul 13, 2011 at 11:47:01 pm

"If I heard that my plumber has some dude arrested because he wasn't paying him the money he was owed, I would understand, but I wouldn't want him as my plumber because he might do the same to me."

Really?

That sounds like you are behaving as if you weren't going to pay up and would expect to get into payment conflict with the plumber at some time..........

Over the years I've worked with many suppliers & clients and discussions about non-payers, and their extended fights to get what's owed have been pretty common over coffee.

Never made me think any less of them at all. Or that I was in line for a legal beating by working with them - no matter what legal extremes they had had to go to in getting paid.

Not sure who'd be left to work with if this was a cause for worry, certainly not many that had been around for any real time.

Thanks

Gav

The Brit in Brisbane
The Pomme in Production - Brisbane Australia.


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Scott CarnegieRe: Another unrelated invoice question
by on Jul 14, 2011 at 2:10:53 pm

I am talking about perception. I once had a client that was sue happy, he loved taking people to court, and once when we had a contract dispute he was quick to jump to "I'll sue you!" Well, in this case my contract saved me, but otherwise I should have known going in that this was a possibility. Whether he was justified in all of those cases or not, it showed a pattern of behavior that should have warned me about doing business with him.

The point is that if the perception is that you get your clients arrested for non-payment that psychologically it can have an impact on whether people would want to do business with you. This is separate from logic, reason or truth. I am just saying proceed with caution.
I was at the point of suing a client for non-payment once, once I told him I was going to sue he paid up. If he didn’t and I got a judgment against him and he still didn’t pay up, then it would be up to me to judge whether the amount owed is worth the risk of going further.
Is this fight over $100? 100,000? The amount does matter.

http://www.MediaCircus.TV
Media Production Services
Winnipeg, Manitoba, Canada


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Shawn BannRe: Another unrelated invoice question
by on Jul 13, 2011 at 11:55:17 pm

another method to consider-

friend of mine got burned so he created a website of the client and went into full
detail of his experience. this website came up via google right by his official site.

client said, "pull the website and i'll pay you". He got his money a few weeks later.

Later a guy wrote saying HE also just got burned and wanted to buy the website/domain.

Sold it and the page went right back up!


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Scott CarnegieRe: Another unrelated invoice question
by on Jul 14, 2011 at 2:26:16 pm

Wowza, this is extremely bad form. Publicly embarrassing a bad client makes you look like a jerk, not so much the client. It might be a neat story, but I would never work with someone that had done this.

http://www.MediaCircus.TV
Media Production Services
Winnipeg, Manitoba, Canada


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Mark SuszkoRe: Another unrelated invoice question
by on Jul 14, 2011 at 2:41:01 pm

Aaron, I had the exact situation happen to me early in my career. Guy was shorting my partner and myself for extra dubs and not giving us our cut. Went to small claims and won, the guy didn't show up, we went to immediate request for garnishment from bank accounts. We got the bulk of what we were owed, the rest we let go as being too little money for the time we would waste continuing to pursue.

Don't arrest the guy, get your money, that's the point. Proceed to garnishment. Funny just how fast the guy finaly started returning our calls, the day the bank gave us all the money in his checking account.


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Shawn BannRe: Another unrelated invoice question
by on Jul 14, 2011 at 5:50:09 pm

RE: Publicly embarrassing a bad client makes you look like a jerk

So everyone who gives a bad review on Yelp is a jerk?


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Patrick OrtmanRe: Another unrelated invoice question
by on Jul 14, 2011 at 6:01:40 pm

I try really, really hard to not work with clients who are jerks. And I'm not saying you won't get burned sometimes, but good business says at least:

- Deposit up front
- Remainder due when the project is done, not 30 or 60 days later
- A contract that says all this

Sometimes, with existing clients and things moving quickly, you might skip one or two of these things. But you shouldn't.

So, OK, if you've done the best you can and some guy's not paying, and he's got your master, and he's out there using it... I see nothing wrong in suing him in court. Like you have. And when you win (which you have), I see nothing wrong in setting the po po on him and garnishing his bank account. I do not think it reflects poorly on you at all to make sure you get the money you are owed from a client.

That said, I have "forgiven" a few things, like when a client that was a mom-and-pop went bankrupt a couple years back, owing my shop many thousands of dollars. I didn't feel the need to add to his family's suffering, they lost their house, etc. Sometimes you can be a nice guy.

But your guy? He doesn't sound like this. He's not a pity case. He's a deadbeat. You know what I say about deadbeats? Kick 'em in the neck! - legally.

As for publicly embarrassing him with a website... be careful. That could be looked at as a little rogue. We have legal systems in place in our society to deal with deadbeats. Try the "right" way first, or you may be seen as a vigilante, and that won't help your business at all. Just think of all the trouble Charles Bronson had with the fuzz in the Death Wish movies. You don't want that kind of life.

----------------------------
PatrickOrtman, Inc.
Los Angeles Digital Agency and Video Production Company


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Scott CarnegieRe: Another unrelated invoice question
by on Jul 14, 2011 at 6:19:52 pm

[Shawn Bann] "So everyone who gives a bad review on Yelp is a jerk?"

Not at all what I said. *Perception* Leaving a bad review, socially acceptable in most circles. Making a website dedicated to saying how bad a particular client was makes YOU look bad and is in poor taste.

http://www.MediaCircus.TV
Media Production Services
Winnipeg, Manitoba, Canada


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grinner hesterRe: Another unrelated invoice question
by on Jul 15, 2011 at 12:03:38 am

I always skip the courts and just go get my money. Easier, cheapewr, quicker, and sometimes, even fun.



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Martin CurtisRe: Another unrelated invoice question
by on Jul 17, 2011 at 3:19:44 am

[grinner hester] "I always skip the courts and just go get my money. Easier, cheapewr, quicker, and sometimes, even fun.
"


You're in the videography business. Take a camera next time and post the video on YouTube! Maybe you could get a guest spot on Dog The Bounty Hunter. Or Repo Men.

As for the OP, I read a website full of stories from a guy who owned a video game rental site (wish I could find it again...) and every bad debt went straight to the debt collector. That would immediately screw the debtor's credit rating and IIRC he was always paid.


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Scott CarnegieRe: Another unrelated invoice question
by on Jul 20, 2011 at 7:04:15 pm

Thats not a bad way to handle it, let a collection company buy the debt from you and then it's their problem.

http://www.MediaCircus.TV
Media Production Services
Winnipeg, Manitoba, Canada


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