I'm going to court need input

Discussion in 'Business Operations' started by outrunjason, Jul 14, 2006.

  1. outrunjason

    outrunjason LawnSite Senior Member
    from dallas
    Messages: 719

    Well long story short a lady that I had for 2 years and never paid on time finally shafted me out of about $200.00. Well I paid $65 and filed it with the local court and she was served with papers to call within 12 days to dispute it and she didn't. Well since she didn't respond I was then allowed to pay for a writ of extract or something I don't remember. Anyway we have a court date set for August and I am thinking she will have to pay.

    From what I was told by the clerk is that I need to prove to the judge that she owes money and bring everything that I can. This was $200 but I added on late fees and court cost so its around $300 now. I figured all the judge can do is take that stuff off.

    Questions: Has anyone ever done this? If yes does the judge care about the customer history. Did she pay on time, how long was she a customer, etc. OR does he just want me to show him that she owes money and go from there.

    Also NO there is no contract however it was a verbal contract and I am thinking with 2 years of invoices he will count that as a verbal contract as it was obvious that she was paying and I was mowing.

    Any input would be great. I have been going after this lady for now about 6 months including collections etc.

    HOOLIE LawnSite Gold Member
    Messages: 3,981

    I can't say for Texas, but in Virginia you'd be fine without a contract so long as you had some other proof (i.e. invoices, payments stubs) to establish a business relationship with this customer. Really if the lady just admits to being your customer that works too...

    Past history will have no bearing on the unpaid work that you're taking her to court for. Small claims is pretty cut and dried. You either did the work or not, and the customer either did or did not pay. So just bring either route sheets or something from the days you did the work and she will need to prove that she paid...

    Probably she won't even show up...
  3. ed2hess

    ed2hess LawnSite Fanatic
    Messages: 14,690

    One argument that we encountered was the customer told the judge that she tried cancelling the service by multiple telephone calls. The judge was convinced she had not when we pointed out that she was at home multiple times when we mowed.
  4. olderthandirt

    olderthandirt LawnSite Platinum Member
    from here
    Messages: 4,899

    Just the facts, Keep it short and to the point. The previous months schedule and payments will establish the contract.
    The judges here like to split everything 50/50 so as not to pizz off either party to much. Also once you win you still need to collect.
  5. gene gls

    gene gls LawnSite Gold Member
    Messages: 3,213

    A waste of time on your part for only $ 200.00 invoice.
  6. Brianslawn

    Brianslawn LawnSite Silver Member
    Messages: 2,002

    take some vaseline to court and hand to her.
  7. OPLawns

    OPLawns LawnSite Member
    Messages: 15

    I hate to be negative...but it sounds like a lot of work over a small amount of money. More importantly, does she have any money? You will be suprised how hard it can be to actually collect on judgements like this. Since you are this far along...good luck in the courtroom!
  8. outrunjason

    outrunjason LawnSite Senior Member
    from dallas
    Messages: 719

    You know I do know that it is a small amount of money. To be honest I started this back in the winter when I needed some cash as it was so slow. However it has been dragged this far in. Also when I was there filing paper work on her a man was there to pay his bill for lawn care that he owed. We started talking and he was found guilty and had to pay and he was. He said that he told the judge that the days that they said they came it was actually raining. LOL

    I just get tired of customers who screw ya. Contract or not it does not work. They could care less. I bill once a month so if they have a bill that is due the next month I am already mowing for the next month. You all know what I mean. Someone can easily get a $200 bill in a month or so. I took her to court for her rude attitude and the promise to pay me a million times with dead in promises. She said that she just does not have the money and she couldn't even do a payment plan. Well I went by her house and she has a new ride sitting outside. How nice.

    Thanks for the input. Invoices and route sheets are ready however I only have proof of payments through what was put in the computer.
  9. gqnine44

    gqnine44 LawnSite Senior Member
    Messages: 502

    Your right. It may only be $200 but that doesnt change the fact that they are a dirty scumbag who should at the very least have a judgment on their record. Good luck. Let us know how it turns out.
  10. HOOLIE

    HOOLIE LawnSite Gold Member
    Messages: 3,981

    All you guys that think $200 is just nothing...can you give me $200 please? I mean if you wouldn't worry about it I'll put it to good use :rolleyes:

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