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Stopping payment

Discussion in 'Business Operations' started by tthomass, Jan 23, 2007.

  1. tthomass

    tthomass LawnSite Gold Member
    from N. VA
    Messages: 3,497

    Quick version:

    PITA customer.........finish the job, she writes me a check on Sunday. Calls me Monday and tells me she was inconvienced blah blah, I need to share some of her cost blah blah (her costs were her fault) and informs me she will be stopping payment and deciding what I should be paid.

    So PITA woman to put it as polite as possible.

    Check is for $3500, informs me she is stopping payment. Is this legal? Anything I can bust her on etc or do to get my $?

    Its like a go buy a $7,000 turbo kit for my car. Call the shop and decide, hmph, what the heck, I'm gonna stop payment on that check and let you know what I decide to pay you for it.

    I'll be seeing her in court before its over. I'm not informing her of that until I get what payment she decides I should recieve so that I've already got that $ in the bank. If I tell her ahead of time she won't pay anything.

    Yes I've got her signature on a piece of paper.
  2. tjsquickcuts

    tjsquickcuts LawnSite Senior Member
    from Atlanta
    Messages: 943

    It takes 24 to 48hrs depending on the Bank for a stop payment on a check to post to the Banking System.....Go to her Bank, and just cash the Check....Don't Deposit it into your Bank, because by the time they process it, the stop payment will have already posted.....I think thats BS, and I would probably go undo all the work....LOL....Dang I hate Pita
  3. lawnman_scott

    lawnman_scott LawnSite Fanatic
    Messages: 7,547

    I hope you tried to cash the check, tj is right it takes a day or two to put a stop payment through. Whatever partial payment you receive, keep the check, but DO NOT CASH IT.

    HOOLIE LawnSite Gold Member
    Messages: 3,981

    Typically how it works in court is, if you feel wronged (like this lady) the proper procedure is to pay the bill in full, then sue the contractor to recoup whatever money is disputed. By withholding funds from you, she is opening herself up to being sued by you. At least this is how the judge in small claims court explained it one day... You both agreed upon a price and she signed the deal, she is obligated to pay the full amount then if she has issues she can try to get you to refund a portion of it or take you to court. But she has it backwards...

    Sure she can stop payment, her bank won't ask why. I hope this doesn't turn into a war :hammerhead:
  5. tthomass

    tthomass LawnSite Gold Member
    from N. VA
    Messages: 3,497

    Her bank is in DC, 35 miles away. Justice Federal Credit Union.

    There is a local branch but it is a "Non-teller branch" so I guess I can't cash it there. She's got some sort of job with the FBI and probably on a power trip.

    Check was written on Sunday and tomorrow is Wednesday so I guess I'm SOL on cashing it.

    I would just calculate the footage against the deduction and go remove that portion of the fence but as much trouble as she has given me I'm taking her to court even if its only $100. I'm guessing she will deduct $1,000 from the $3,500 total.
  6. dwc

    dwc LawnSite Senior Member
    Messages: 643

    whatever you do, do NOT cash a partial check......It is the same as agreeing that what she paid you paid her account in full and shows that you willingly accepted partial payment as payment in full.
    It doesn't look to me like she stands half a chance in court since she already sent you a check for the full ammount, that right there shows she agreed she owed you the money. Be sure to make a copy of the original check before cashing it and document everything that takes place. Time, date and what was said or done.

    btw, if you go remove the fence or whatever from her property, she can legally have you arrested for theft.

    Good luck!
  7. tthomass

    tthomass LawnSite Gold Member
    from N. VA
    Messages: 3,497

    I know about the fence.........even though I look at it as she paid, for example, 80% of the fence, 20% is still mine since no payment has been received.
  8. dwc

    dwc LawnSite Senior Member
    Messages: 643

    I know what you mean and I think that's the way it should be, they don't want to pay go get your materials, but I have been told even if they never pay they can still have you arrested because once you put something on their property it is legally thiers whether they pay or not.
  9. Uranus

    Uranus LawnSite Bronze Member
    from Mass
    Messages: 1,624

    Should have told her not to stop it and you will be over later to drop it off. Then deposit it and hope it clears before she contacts you. If she calls manday afternoon looking for you say you'll be there firtst thing in the morning. Tell her it will save her the $25 to do a stop payment. Be nice but blow her off till it clears. that way you get your money. Next time of course.
  10. tthomass

    tthomass LawnSite Gold Member
    from N. VA
    Messages: 3,497

    Live and learn.

    Originally there was no contract, only verbal as she was a past customer. I renovated her small front yard landscape for around $6,000. A little annoying but otherwise good customer. After we ran into issues with her on the fence I noted all changes, at my cost, and had her sign stating the full amount of $3,500. Then I had documentation and glad now that I got her to sign.

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