Customer rejecting certified mail

Discussion in 'Business Operations' started by shovelracer, Apr 27, 2008.

  1. shovelracer

    shovelracer LawnSite Silver Member
    Posts: 2,009

    I have a customer that has decided to make bad on his outstanding balance after 5 years of reliable service. Notice of unpaid balance has been sent certified mail and they refuse to accept (sign for it) so it got sent back. Their excuse started in january when they couldnt pay cause they were closing on their second home at a nearby ski resort. Then they claim they were away and paid a little. Then they wanted to make small monthly payments, but they hardly paid that or on time. Now we are reaching the end of my time to make claims so I have decided to go the lien route since their house is on the market. The last time we spoke the excuses were that we provided poor services at overpriced rates. This information is new to me, cause we have always gone above and beyond for this client. Claims are that "there are still leaves on the property" after 4 individually requested cleanups. Also that he "could have gotten some "mexicans" to do it for cheaper". Facts are that he was scheduled for 2 cleanups and the day before each of the early snow storms he demanded that we be there or he was going to get another company to do it. Well he got his 4 cleanups and there were still leaves on the trees in january when there was snow on the ground. So there you go, excuses and a huge PITA. Funny thing is this guy would spend more fighting than his outstanding balance is. So he wont accept his notices, do they still count from the day they are filed with the county? or does he actually have to recieve them? If so what do I do? I do know that I dont have the time to go messing around the court system, and once the lien goes legit his wife will try to get it paid and rid of.
  2. DistLawns

    DistLawns LawnSite Member
    from Midwest
    Posts: 120

    I had a similar situation, getting a lien can take some time. What I did, was I called the realetor of the people who owed me and threatend a lein on the house, the realtor called them, and they paid 2 days later. Another option that I am doing now for a different situation is go to the police. I filed a criminal complaint, and the detective started calling my customer and the costomer never called him back. Right now the city prosecutor is charging him with theft. Hopefully he'll pay. So you might want to try that option.
  3. CALandscapes

    CALandscapes LawnSite Senior Member
    Posts: 946

    Do you have an attorney? If so, you may want to ask him if he'd be willing to send a "demand letter".
  4. landscaper22

    landscaper22 LawnSite Senior Member
    Posts: 829

    That usually does the trick. Do this first. As far as the police, they can't do anything. I am sure it's not against the law to owe someone for services rendered.
  5. Lawn-Sharks

    Lawn-Sharks LawnSite Senior Member
    Posts: 912

    This is a good thread, i cant wait to see all of the resonces
  6. leafitalawn

    leafitalawn LawnSite Member
    Posts: 108

    In Texas, you only need proof that you sent a certified letter if you want to take them to small claims court... If they don't sign for it, too bad.

    Oh yeah, I've been down that more. Just report them to and forget about it. If these dirtbags are anything like mine, they'll never pay. That's why I ONLY take credit card, or the season paid in full now (10% discount if they do this with a check/mo/or cash).
  7. mgugliotti

    mgugliotti Inactive
    Posts: 58

    Why don't you list them on that way every one will know he is a dead beat and he will have a harder time getting services rendered to him. Plus, the debt will stay posted for up to 7 years, or until he pays... I'll bet you are not the first contractor he stiffed and you will probably not be the last. people are terrified of having their name ruined or posted all over the web and most of the time they will pay... but like the other guy said some folks will just never pay, but at least we will all know who they are. And yes the site is legal, and as far as I know the other gentleman is right all you need to have is proof that you sent it, if he refuses to sign it T.S. Good luck!
  8. markam70

    markam70 LawnSite Member
    from USA
    Posts: 223

    A debt is a civil matter. Police won't get involved except for serving papers.

    Go to your local courthouse and place a mechanic's lien on his property.
    His debts that are on record must be paid before the closing of the sale.
  9. shovelracer

    shovelracer LawnSite Silver Member
    Posts: 2,009

    So they rejected the letter, but paid me this morning. Actually they stiffed me $0.35. They just wanted to make it hard for me, so I had to go back to the clerk and discharge the notice. Another $20.

    Although this matter is closed I would like to here what everyone has to say about possible solutions for situations like these.

    For one I have been told that a lien wont hold up in court if you dont give due process (Notice of Unpaid Balance). Met with a collection agent this morning, but got the feeling he was trying to scam me. Court just isnt feasable for most small debts I come across. This particular one was over 1K, but most people try to stiff for $100-200, I would lose more by a slow work day than going after the small debts.
  10. DistLawns

    DistLawns LawnSite Member
    from Midwest
    Posts: 120

    I should add that my customer who I have charges filed against moved from the house where the services were at. and because he didn't tell me, and tried to just dissapear, the police said thay have enough to charge him. I think it's worth a try, let your tax dollars go to work for you.

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