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muddstopper
11-17-2004, 07:37 PM
I recieved a bad check in the amount of $2600 a few weeks ago. The check was from a regular repeat customer that has always paid me in advance. Never had any problems out of them before. When I called about the check they claimed that they had gotten their check book stolen and somebody had written a lot of big checks on their account. They had also had some equipment stolen and they would make the check good in a couple of weeks If I would just hold onto it. I know for a fact that there have been several houses broke into in their area so I figure they are telling the truth. I have also known these people for a long time and poor they are not. I didnt mind waiting on my money for a few weeks, its not like its going to break me, but it is my money. I have talked to them twice since the first call notifying them I had the bounced check, both times they assured me they would have my money by the end of the week. Both weeks passed and no money. My question is, just how much time should I give them to make good on the check. I have done several thousand $$ of work for them in the past and would hate to lose their business just because I was a little impatient. At the same time, I dont like doing work and not getting paid. Im not ready to pull a Bobby yet but my wife is polishing up the shovel and pick handle.

Runner
11-17-2004, 07:43 PM
I would have to say to be patient. The wealthy type of people who have the big houses, the nice cars, the toys, etc., are ususlly in debt up to their ears. It's bad that they are already out a whole peck of money, but that is their problem and they are handling it. It's not like you are seeing them going out and making new big purchases or anything on your money. It is unfortunate, but hang in there, and they wil appreciate it all the more. It sounds like these people have been good customers over the years. I wouldn't rattle the cage over one hardship they are going through. Like I say, they are reassuring you that you WILL be taken care of, and again, it's not like they are splurging on your money.

impactlandscaping
11-17-2004, 07:56 PM
What Joe said, and I'd call their bank and ask them to notify you when the check can clear ..I would also add returned check fees(charged to you by your bank + a return check fee of your own) to them and possibly a late fee as well(depending on when and if it clears). They have to understand their "misfortune" is not your problem, you have a business to run, and depend on the outstanding liabilities to run it...JMO

Runner
11-17-2004, 08:57 PM
Wait a minute......Something doesn't add up here. They wrote you the check. Is the check they wrote you from the same account that the book was stolen???
If someone gets their checkbook stolen, what's the first thing that happens? The account gets cancelled! Unless when they told you to hold on to their check, it was just as an "insurance" for you. Anyway, bottom line is,..they will DEFinitely be having to issue you another check, if this check you have was drawn off the same account as the one the book was stolen from.

paponte
11-17-2004, 09:00 PM
I would call every week. Squeeky wheel gets the most oil. I would tell them it's policy, and keep following up and checking the statis. You shouldn't feel bad, it is your money and the job was done. your entitled to it. :)

HOOLIE
11-17-2004, 09:05 PM
You said they always pay you "in advance". So what's the big deal? Just don't do any more work til you get the check. If its for work you haven't even done yet, I wouldn't get too worked up.

lawnman_scott
11-17-2004, 09:46 PM
I would be sort of patient. I dont know where transision zone is, but in most places a $2600 check is a serious felony, so if push comes to shovel, you have some bargaining power.

Mo Green
11-17-2004, 10:50 PM
I would give them 30 days to make that payment. That is more than enough time to get things straitened out. You are not a doormat. I agree to be patient only to a point. If you let them continue to put you off, they will. Give them a deadline. If they don't pay, take legal action. Something sounds fishy about this.

muddstopper
11-19-2004, 12:08 AM
Yes the check was on the same account as the checkbook that was stolen.
Yes they closed that account.
Yes the work has been completed, the check ws deposited and several days later is when I found out it bounced.
And Yes, a $2600 bad check is a felony in NC.
I can get nasty about the check and get my money or their butts in jail. Or I can wait it out and not lose their business as I feel they will pay. They have several thousand $$ of work that they will need done in the future. I would rather work this out between them and me but my bills come due each month too. Giving them a deadline will probably be my next step. If that dont work then its off to the courthouse. They have about 400 acres they are developing that this work was performed on. A good lein will get their attention.

coastallandscapesolutions
11-19-2004, 08:10 AM
Here's the steps that you should take. To protect yourself, send them a 10 day certified demand letter as required by NC law. Also put a note in with the letter that you are just following the required steps to protect yourself. You don't want to come off like an jerk.

Call the bank and verify that they had this problem. There should be a bank officer that can confirm this for you. They may also give you the option of placing the check for "collection" with the bank. As soon as the funds become available they will call you and issue you a cashiers check and you can pick it up.

Be professional about the whole thing. The bank can take up to 30 days to refund the missing money by law. However, you also need to protect you position and therefore that's the reason you need to send the certified letter. If after 30 days you do not have a resolve to this check then take it down to the Magistrate's Office there and take out a warrant.

It is a shame that these steps have to be taken. Explain to the customer that you do own the business and this is strictly a business decision and nothing personal. Using the right tact you will preserve the customers relationship for future business as well as protect your collection abilities should it go that direction.

EGLS
11-19-2004, 08:41 AM
I would be off to my county clerks office filling out a Lein for their house. I would make sure i get the first hand full of money off the house. Thats just business. Its your money by signing out a Lien they will problably pay faster.

AllStarLawnCare
11-19-2004, 10:13 AM
If you ever ask a child to make a choice between a cookie now, or three cookies later, they will always take the cookie now. Seems like many people don't get past this stage. I think you have a tremendous opportunity to build up loyalty in a good customer.

In the end, if you were to give them the shaft, you're still not going to get your money right away. You may as well try to work with them and they'll see you as a friend (which is always good for business) instead of as a corporation out to milk everyone.

For your own peace of mind, I might give them a call and say you're willing to give them an X day grace period IF they'll send you a copy of the police report.

Just some ideas to work with. Let us know what you end up doing and how it turns out.

Runner
11-19-2004, 11:27 AM
I'm sorry, but I just think that some of these replies are really a bit overboard. It's not like it has been 60 to 90 days, yet. Filing liens and all that would just not only show lack of faith in the customer, but also create friction for WHOLE LOT of other work to be done in future relations. Please understand, these peole are NOT the criminals, here. It's not like THEY stole the money from Muddstopper, and are now paying restitution. As I said, just be patient, and this will reflect back on you as true professionalism, not as the lawnboy who is knocking on the door demanding his money.

Ability
11-19-2004, 11:36 AM
Wait a minute......Something doesn't add up here. They wrote you the check. Is the check they wrote you from the same account that the book was stolen???
If someone gets their checkbook stolen, what's the first thing that happens? The account gets cancelled! Unless when they told you to hold on to their check, it was just as an "insurance" for you. Anyway, bottom line is,..they will DEFinitely be having to issue you another check, if this check you have was drawn off the same account as the one the book was stolen from.

DITTO!!!!

Red flags shot up all over the place. If their checkbook was stolen and they still plan on paying you from that same account then they are lying.

Don't get me wrong. I agree with most people on here about being patient and understanding for a person in crisis.

BUT DON'T LIE TO ME!!! And, it sounds as if they might be lying to you.

Definitely, check with the bank before you make any decisions.

Expert Lawns
11-19-2004, 12:47 PM
I was just written 2 checks from a customer that was outstanding for 3 months. I had been calling and sending letters for quite some time. They finally wrote me 2 checks, each in the amount of $220. They actually owed me $500, but to get $440 out of them was a relief. They said they would have the remainder at the end of the month. Turns out the 2 checks bounced. Now what? Wait another 3 months? I dont' think so. THis is like pulling teeth

AllStarLawnCare
11-19-2004, 02:05 PM
I was just written 2 checks from a customer that was outstanding for 3 months. I had been calling and sending letters for quite some time. They finally wrote me 2 checks, each in the amount of $220. They actually owed me $500, but to get $440 out of them was a relief. They said they would have the remainder at the end of the month. Turns out the 2 checks bounced. Now what? Wait another 3 months? I dont' think so. THis is like pulling teeth

Is "outstanding" referring to debt or quality of customer here?

It sounds like the customer in mudd's particular case has done some serious business in the past and the future looks promising other than this robbery. In your case, when you get 2 bad checks and non-payment, you have a pattern going. Where I am, people go to jail for writing bad checks. Since you have little history with this customer, I'd tell them you want $500 + bank charges in cash or you'll take the recourse available in your area (police, small claims court, etc.)

Once you establish this poor pattern, you have to call it what it is and get your money back. In mudd's case, it sounds like he has a good customer. You have a *@$! customer - get your money and be done with them.

Expert Lawns
11-19-2004, 03:18 PM
Outstanding as in a debt

Runner
11-19-2004, 04:15 PM
It's time to put some numbers together. They no longer owe you $500. They now have return fees on here, as well. Actually, you are entitled to quite a bit more than this, but don't sweat that part. You DO need to recoup your expenses from the bank fees, though. Also, HOLD ON to these checks, until you recieve payment! You need to keep taking these checks to THEIR bank, unless of course, they are made out to the business, in which case they will not be able to do anything with them. You MAY HAVE TO threaten them with taking these to the prosecutors office. Here, it IS unlawful.

Ability
11-19-2004, 06:16 PM
All of this garbage is why I am going to go to an all debit/credit card business next year. Too many businesses tell how wonderful that is.

Service today....bill card today....get paid in three days.

Randy Scott
11-19-2004, 06:29 PM
I'd probably poke around a little at the bank and with five-o to see if what they're telling you is true. The bank can give you the information you need if you explain what happened. They don't have to reveal any private info to you, but just tell you yes or no to the truth of it.

If yes, give a little more time, if not, put a little heat on.

packerbacker
11-19-2004, 06:35 PM
I was just written 2 checks from a customer that was outstanding for 3 months. I had been calling and sending letters for quite some time. They finally wrote me 2 checks, each in the amount of $220. They actually owed me $500, but to get $440 out of them was a relief. They said they would have the remainder at the end of the month. Turns out the 2 checks bounced. Now what? Wait another 3 months? I dont' think so. THis is like pulling teeth






Dont F*** around with them anymore, its AGAINST THE LAW to pass a bad check in any state knowingly. Im sure when they paid you they didnt expect the checks to go through and did it to get you off their backs for a few days. Take the checks to the prosecutors office and see what he can do.

muddstopper
11-19-2004, 07:35 PM
I feel a few here are going overboard. I have decided to give them a little more time to make good on the check. I had already checked with the bank and alto they didnt come out and tell me that these people had their check book stolen and such, they did inform me that there had been a problem with that account and the people had choose to close that account. Yea maybe they are lieing to me but my gut says they are telling the truth. I know i have several options to recoup the check but as someone said, forceing the issue isnt going to get me my money today. There is a point that I will not let this debt go past, but I am not going to go hungry or lose my home if they dont pay up. I have known these people since grade school and I have never heard of them welching on a debt and they have always paid me in the past. While i am fustrated at getting a bad check as any would would be, as the old saying goes, Sh#t Happens. Thanks for the advice.

as for the person that had been paid with two sets of bad checks, well thats a point I wont go past.

Expert Lawns
11-19-2004, 07:55 PM
Dont F*** around with them anymore, its AGAINST THE LAW to pass a bad check in any state knowingly. Im sure when they paid you they didnt expect the checks to go through and did it to get you off their backs for a few days. Take the checks to the prosecutors office and see what he can do.

I really wish I could do that. It's not easy for me to be that big of a hardazz. Sure, I can sit here and complain on a website about nonpayers, but it's another thing to go to a prosecutors office and try to throw the book at these people. They have been customers of mine for 3 years and I know them on a personal level. Maybe that is why they took the mile when I gave them the inch. To weigh out my options:

1. put on my game face and get my money
2. try going the polite route and talk to them about a reasonable time period for them to make payment. If they do not pay by that date, then they would have no other choice but to be understanding in my next course of action, which would probably be doing some sort of legal angle

packerbacker
11-19-2004, 08:00 PM
I really wish I could do that. It's not easy for me to be that big of a hardazz. Sure, I can sit here and complain on a website about nonpayers, but it's another thing to go to a prosecutors office and try to throw the book at these people. They have been customers of mine for 3 years and I know them on a personal level. Maybe that is why they took the mile when I gave them the inch. To weigh out my options:

1. put on my game face and get my money
2. try going the polite route and talk to them about a reasonable time period for them to make payment. If they do not pay by that date, then they would have no other choice but to be understanding in my next course of action, which would probably be doing some sort of legal angle








Well there you go, they thought they could walk all over you just because they are friends, i did work for a friend once...ONCE...he never paid me and thats the last time i did anything for someone i knew on a personal level.

Anyway...

Id call him and give him 10 days to get the money or tell him he's going to collections. Explain the ramifications of collections and maybe it will scare him enough to pay you.

Expert Lawns
11-19-2004, 08:03 PM
I have what I call a "deadbeat" letter I send to nonpayers. I was reluctant to send that, but did anyways. It pretty much threatens the bejesus out of you and mentions small claims court. It got him to call me and send me a bad check..........not really the outcome I was looking for

coastallandscapesolutions
11-19-2004, 08:11 PM
It's time to put some numbers together. They no longer owe you $500. They now have return fees on here, as well. Actually, you are entitled to quite a bit more than this, but don't sweat that part. You DO need to recoup your expenses from the bank fees, though. Also, HOLD ON to these checks, until you recieve payment! You need to keep taking these checks to THEIR bank, unless of course, they are made out to the business, in which case they will not be able to do anything with them. You MAY HAVE TO threaten them with taking these to the prosecutors office. Here, it IS unlawful.

If they are made out to a business then the bank can convert them to cashiers checks if the customer has the $$$ in the bank.