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Old 05-29-2002, 03:58 PM
SprinklerGuy SprinklerGuy is offline
LawnSite Bronze Member
Join Date: Oct 2001
Location: Scottsdale, Arizona/Colorado Springs, Colorado
Posts: 1,778
Stop Payment of a Check....I hate that!

Hey Guys!

I had a client that one of my guys went to and fix some stuff. We spent a good deal of time there fixing his system because his system hadn't been on in a couple of years. He has an old mechanical Buckner Timer. He signed the invoice, paid us and we moved on. 2 days later he called and said that the system wasn't coming on with the timer in the mornings like it should have. We went out and looked at the program and it should have been coming on but had not. Sometimes on those Buckner Timers the microswitches go bad and they don't always come on. We have no way of testing that in the field we take it in to the shop. We also don't usually test the auto operation of a timer while on a service call. We told him it could be the timer but it would need testing in the shop blah blah blah........

He stopped payment on the check....337 and change.

My question to you guys is this:

How would you handle this

Do you normally set a start time while you are on site to check the auto operation? We don't unless it is a digital timer and we can do it quickly. Do they really want us to sit for 1/2 to 1 hour and wait for the timer to activate???

He won't call me back now. Stop payments are not prosecutable in Arizona without small claims court by the way.

He has said all that he wants is to get it fixed. My plan is to take it into the shop and get the timer fixed, reprogram and call it even. But.....should I make him pay cash? Credit cards are out because he can just as easily stop that transaction with VISA and I may NEVER get paid.

What would you do?

Thanks in advance.
Tony Neumann
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Old 05-29-2002, 04:43 PM
Dennis E. Dennis E. is offline
LawnSite Senior Member
Join Date: May 2002
Location: Mulberry,Fl.
Posts: 349
I'm not into irrigation Tony....

but I'd tell him COD. Period.
Sounds like this guy has some issues.
He never gave you a chance to take care of the problem?
You don't know until the system is used.Right?How are you supposed to know if there is a problem?
Good friend of mine that does a lot of installation and electrical repairs for me does COD on all his work unless prior arrangements have been made. For my customers he'll do an invoice but normally it's COD. He's been burned too many times.
30 years in the trade so he's been there,done that.
Really elevates the BP,huh?
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Old 05-29-2002, 05:07 PM
SprinklerGuy SprinklerGuy is offline
LawnSite Bronze Member
Join Date: Oct 2001
Location: Scottsdale, Arizona/Colorado Springs, Colorado
Posts: 1,778
The only thing that kept the blood pressure down is that 337 isn't a big deal and while sitting here at my desk a great looking Mule Deer walked past my window here at home........funny thing is, all of our stuff is COD, he did pay, but then cancelled the check! Prick!
Tony Neumann
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Old 05-29-2002, 05:17 PM
Dennis E. Dennis E. is offline
LawnSite Senior Member
Join Date: May 2002
Location: Mulberry,Fl.
Posts: 349

Not laughing at the problem. The last word in your response. It describes what/who you are dealing with!
I've had a few like that. Just a few though.
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Old 05-29-2002, 08:30 PM
Stonehenge's Avatar
Stonehenge Stonehenge is offline
LawnSite Bronze Member
Join Date: Feb 2000
Location: Midwest
Posts: 1,277
Tony, you sound like a guy that's kind of like have a relationship with a customer, and with that comes a degree of trust, on both sides.

We have things go wrong every so often, and we always do our level best to make things right, and our customers know that.

It sounds like that guy is one of those penny wise, pound foolish types, who broke that trust because he presumed he'd not get his money's worth once you left.

IMO, I'd go get the timer, check/repair it, then call him. Tell him this time you'd like to reinstall it, but with the first cancelled check, you can't do this reinstall unless you get paid cash (up front).

Then don't be afraid to walk when you get there and he says, "I'll just give you your money when you're done." Tell him he demonstrated that he has no trust in you, and with that you should also question trusting him. Or even better - make him mail payment (+ bank fees) to you, and you'll reinstall when the check clears.
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Old 05-29-2002, 11:17 PM
LawnLad LawnLad is offline
LawnSite Senior Member
Join Date: Jan 2002
Location: Cleveland, Ohio
Posts: 738
In essence he's stiffed you for payment... he paid you for what you serviced. You didn't service the timer, because you assume it to be operational. As you explained.

I'd ask him why he stopped payment on the check and how he feels it's justified since you did complete XY and Z. Explain that he's broken the trust in the relationship and that you expect payment in cash because now you don't trust him based on his actions.

What on earth would posses someone to stop payment on the check. What a jerk.

By the way... have you tested the timer yet? Do you charge for this service. I would expect payment in full before I tested the timer or returned it, his choice.
Lawn Lad, Inc.
Cleveland, Ohio
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Old 05-30-2002, 04:02 AM
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gusbuster gusbuster is offline
LawnSite Bronze Member
Join Date: Mar 2000
Location: Sunny Northern California, San Francisco Bay Area
Posts: 1,841
You charge too much!! (just kidding)

I have been in your shoes a couple of times in the last 25 years in business.

I would recommend what Stonehenge has said.

Sound advice.

J-LC Landscaping & Maintenance Gardening
C-27 CA. Contr# 770044
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