DURESS - Don't THREATEN to "sue", etc.

Discussion in 'Starting a Lawn Care Business' started by mdvaden, Jan 1, 2007.

  1. mdvaden

    mdvaden LawnSite Bronze Member
    Messages: 1,946

    One more thing that our business law instructor covered was duress.

    Basically, he said that we should never threaten to sue somebody or drag them to court.

    It opens the door to a "Duress" issue that can enable people to weasel out in many circumstances.

    If we say that we will "call our attorney", that's not considered a verbal threat - that's a fact about who we will call.

    But apparently there is a big difference to declare a legal assault or confrontation on someone who owes us money.

    The instructor said there was no need to threaten. Since we can still persue legal avenues.
  2. JJLandscapes

    JJLandscapes LawnSite Senior Member
    Messages: 682

    with 116 views and no responses im sure others are thinking the same.Would be better if you gave a better explanation maybe

    What are you trying to share exactly? I dont think whoever you threatened would bring duress up in a small claims court where most landscapers end up.. If its a serious or large case im sure you would be smart enough into hiring an attorney and at that point you wouldnt need to know what duress was

    i hated business law class its up there as one of the worst except the story we read about 2 guys using a lawnmower to hedge some bushes and they both lost there fingers and they tried suing the mower company with zero success
  3. LawnTamer

    LawnTamer LawnSite Gold Member
    Messages: 3,986

    I also would like more clarity. I know we "threaten" legal action in all our collection letters, I think most companies do.
    Something like;
    "In order to avoid costly collection proceedings, please remit payment by --/--/--"
    As our clients get further past due the warnings get tougher.
    Is this causing duress?
  4. mdvaden

    mdvaden LawnSite Bronze Member
    Messages: 1,946

    The point between this thread and the other one I posted is this:

    If someone doesn't recognize what I mentioned - even remotely - they are probably candidates for a small business law course.

    There are quite a few things that are foreign to many business owners.

    For example, I never realized at one time about what happens when a check is signed / endorsed if a debtor writes "paid in full' on it even though it's not enough for their debt.

    For this thread, I think it's simple. Don't threaten someone.

    Aside from that, I learned just enough to remember the warning. The lawyers and law instructors are good sources for detailed clarification.

    For anyone who took a bad law class, just mention which one it was so others don't share the bad experience. Aside from the few bad ones, there are plenty of good ones too. I found an excellent one through Portland Commnunity College about 15 years ago. Don't remember the instructors name. But none of the students dropped out and most of them enjoyed it.

    TURFLORD LawnSite Senior Member
    Messages: 834

    I would never forewarn a customer about SC, It would take half the fun out of it. Nothing like that warm cuddly feeling I get when I know they received a court notice in the mail.:)
  6. mdvaden

    mdvaden LawnSite Bronze Member
    Messages: 1,946

    Nice idea - it's like giving them a special suprise party.
  7. carcrz

    carcrz LawnSite Silver Member
    Messages: 2,085

    Why take them to court at all? Just turn them into a collections agency & tack those fees onto the bill.

    You actually can make a request, "Would you like to take this to court or would you like to make a check payable to ..." This puts the ball in their court. You are simply asking them a question & not threatening them.
  8. RedWolf

    RedWolf Banned
    Messages: 279

    I`m with TURFLORD on this.I dont say a word and walk away. when they call up I say its to late and hang up. The way I look at it is, they should have paid the bill when it came in,NOT 5 months later.
  9. gary6768

    gary6768 LawnSite Member
    Messages: 62

    Nobody ever threatens anybody, it's not like that.... You're killers come with smiles on there faces..... They get you when you're most vulnerable...
  10. Team-Green L&L

    Team-Green L&L LawnSite Bronze Member
    Messages: 1,775

    The only words that you should include in every collections letter are "to avoid further actions". Remember those words because you will be using them. Always use a disclaimer ie; "this is an attempt to collect a debt and any information obtained will be used for that purpose".

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