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  1. #41
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    As a landlord of 30 years I have had court judgement's in my favor for amounts similar to yours. The most that I have collected is $150 on a judgement of $600. Now I don't even ask for damages and it makes it easier to file things in court. You paid $1,600 in tuition at seat of the pants business school. Learn from it and move on. Not that I'd just quit being a thorn in the side of the place that screwed you.

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    Quote Originally Posted by john.k View Post
    I happen to know you can get into lots of bother taking all cash payments ...
    Okay, I should have said payment on delivery The C can be checks, too. Or electronic or whatever.

    Quote Originally Posted by Big B View Post
    As a landlord of 30 years I have had court judgement's in my favor for amounts similar to yours. The most that I have collected is $150 on a judgement of $600. ... You paid $1,600 in tuition at seat of the pants business school. Learn from it and move on.
    Renters are a little different from a business. Businesses normally have some assets you can snag. If the deadbeat is a retail business then it's even better - just go in on a Saturday morning when there's lots of customers and start asking loudly when they will pay their bill. Worked pretty quick with Gary Fisher, should work with most.

    And then there is Yelp .... or Practical Machinist

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  5. #43
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    Quote Originally Posted by josh2204 View Post
    I'm owed around $1600 for work that I did for a local shop that was behind and need help. They are 5 months late and I've tried everything except bringing them to court. I would appreciate some much needed advice on this subject. What you require, what to be prepared for, and any small thing that most people wouldn't know unless they've been through this.
    Thanks for the advice. I've got a few ways to approach this now.

  6. #44
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    Quote Originally Posted by EmanuelGoldstein View Post
    As the child of attornies, first you should learn to spell "lose". And second you should know that attornies are not allowed in small claims so there is no "pay for their legal defense" allowed. In fact, some of the time dragging the sleazy miscreant himself into court is a desirable benefit. Then if they don't show up, you automatically win
    You might get a judgement by default, then you have to go back to court again for discovery of assets and then another trip after that.

    The problem is that winning legally does not guarantee any money. If they are incorporated and have the assets protected, you will have a hard time to pierce the corporate veil.

    More than likely, they are either scum bags that just play this game with little guys over small amounts. Not likely to get any real satisfaction as they are good at playing the game.

    The more probable likelihood is that they just don't have the money. Very likely that you are not he only one looking to be paid. There is also the likelihood that most all of the assets are already attached by someone else. So you will be standing near the end of the line.

    I am nor sure why more businesses do not use UCC forms and file with the Secretary of State of your state of residence or business. This at least makes you a secured creditor standing just behind the banksters and way ahead of anyone else with just a PO or an invoice.

    This does not guarantee getting paid today but neither does a court judgement. You however will at least be on record as a creditor with a secure interest in the finances of the customer that owes you money.

    I use to see some instances in which a group of contractors were owed considerable sums of money. There are a couple of ways to proceed. First is you file for a judgement and get it. Now you need to go after assetts and get the money. Problem is that tis does not guarantee getting much money as timing is everything. Grabbing prematurely might only get you peanuts and the others nothing.

    An alternate method was often the contractors would go together and contemplate how to get as much money as possible as a group. This required strategy and an understanding of, in this case the general contractor that was having extreme financial stresses. Often it was more expedient to be a little flexible as a group and eve make some concessions to actually win, i.e get paid, in the end.

    In the OP case he did the work and delivered the parts, assuming that he would get paid. Strategically, the OP allowed the parts to be delivered, only anticipated possible payment, and has now waited 5-6months. They money is all on the customers side of the table. The OP must spend cash and time to go into a collection battle against the customer that has the OPs owed money on his side of the table.

    Not much to work with there. I think the OP should be thankful it wasn't a lot more and use this as an important lesson in extending credit, payment terms, and delivery of product.

    $1600 if it was just labor should be somewhere around 16-32hrs. of labor. The OP needs to realize that he will easily waste that much time just trying to collect this amount of money. If it was labor and materials then he might be out $400 out of pocket for materials.

    Trying to collect on this will inevitably be through more bad money after more bad money.

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    Quote Originally Posted by Ziggy2 View Post
    Trying to collect on this will inevitably be through more bad money after more bad money.
    I'm not in the habit of throwing my apron over my face and crying "oh gosh, I'm so helpless in this big bad world !"

    I've never had small claims consume more than a few hours, and every time I have learned something. So I, personally, think it is worth it.

    But if not, why don't the magazines and hep'-you sites such as Practical Machinist tell us the truth - don't extend credit unless absolutely necessary ! ? That's the underlying reality of the situation. Credit sucks. We aren't banks, and all a shop can do by playing bank is take risks we can't cover and lose money we worked hard for.

    Screw credit, in both directions.

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    Shit on his porch.

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    Quote Originally Posted by EmanuelGoldstein View Post
    the underlying reality of the situation. Credit sucks. We aren't banks, and all a shop can do by playing bank is take risks we can't cover and lose money we worked hard for.
    This 100 times. I am flexible with people as is reasonable, but if they can't at least agree to the terms of "paid in full upon completion" in the beginning I usually don't want the risk because I am too small. If I need to loan you money to do your job I feel like A)you can't get a bank line of credit B)you have already maxed out a bank line of credit or C)you just want to borrow for free... none of which inspire confidence in loaning what little money I have.

    I would think that $1600 is not worth fighting too hard for if you are busy with paying work, but myself having not been through the small claims process before I would want to at least do it for the experience.

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    "but myself having not been through the small claims process before I would want to at least do it for the experience."



    Agreed, I did it long ago against a business regarding a retail transaction. I had returned a defective item to the store with their promise to have it fixed. They lost the $100 item.

    The store didn't show up in court (which is fairly typical, I was told). I made my case briefly to the judge and he ruled in my favor. I almost think since the store didn't appear to defend themselves I would have won by default anyway. At that point I was out the filing fee, $25 and a fee to serve the store. Total might have been 50 bucks. Plus at least a day's time.

    At that point I had something legal to pursue actual collection. But, I would have needed a lawyer for the next step in court. The small claims people warn you that the second step to assure collection is near impossible to do without a lawyer.

    As it was the store declared bankruptcy. I dropped the matter.

    This was in Washington State.

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    Before doing the small claims route I would find out what the sheriff can seize. Old boss had a client that didn't pay the bill for some landscaping. He sued in small claims then used the sheriff to satisfy the bill. He said when the sheriff started going through the mail looking for receivable the checkbook book cam out pretty quick. The sheriff does charge for the service, so I would add this in addition line item in case the client still doesn't pay and you do have to use the sheriff and it doesn't cut into your bottom line.

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    Here in our much ridiculed and naive Denmark we have a thing called 'Ribers kartotek' (Riber's Index). If anybody's name is found in this list, he will have a lot of difficulties buying anything at all unless in cash on delivery. This applies to small claims anyway.
    Ribers is open to everyone AFAIK. I suppose there is a smallish fee to pay of course. I have never used it personally so can't be more precise.

    Gordon! I'm sure you know much more about this. Would you chime in, please?

    Regards, fusker
    Last edited by fusker; 01-31-2020 at 07:49 AM. Reason: Spelling

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    Quote Originally Posted by Ziggy2 View Post

    Trying to collect on this will inevitably be through more bad money after more bad money.
    That is why I think in this case he should just turn it over to a collection agency. There is no charge if they do not collect and probably 1/3 if they do, hiring one takes about 5 minutes. Hire one in the same locale to give the debtor added stress.

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    The leap to the assumption that the guy is some sort of crook is a bit of BS imo. With overdue accounts I've lost when when firms have gone bankrupt or I got paid when I got aggressive and issued a claim. For either outcome it was caused because the business was a trouble not because there was a crook. Of course don't be an idiot, do credit checks before giving credit.

    Is there a worse feeling for the poor SOB that loses his business? In other cases, before it came to that, I sued. If they guy isn't a crook, and he's not or he'd have failed the credit check, it is very effective. It happened to once when the shoe was on the other foot....I was just stretched in lots of directions got sued by someone I'd delayed too long. Scared the crap out of me, I settle it immediately. Another time I sued a guy was just scrambling, got promptly paid, and we've become friendly since and still do business

    I suppose the point if you assume he's a crook you give up. Instead assume he's somebody really struggling and you just need to become the squeakiest of wheels. For a credible conscientious human being, having been on the other side, getting the claim is a pretty fucking loud squeak.

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    I used to sell lumber. I sold about $500.00 worth to a contractor. He paid me with a post dated check. I did not notice the date. The check turned out to be bad. I called the police, they informed me that a post dated check, is no longer a check, but a promissory note, there for not illegal. I filed in small claims court. I won because he didn't show up. Now how do I get my money. Went to the sheriff to have his truck towed. Sheriff calls me, asked if I'm sure I want the truck towed. It has no tires and weeds are growing through the bed. I finally gave up. I now understand the phrase, you cant get blood out of a turnup

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    Quote Originally Posted by Mcgyver View Post
    The leap to the assumption that the guy is some sort of crook is a bit of BS imo.
    I decided my guy was a crook when he showed up in a beautifully restored 68 Toronado, later said the parts were not satisfactory so he wasn't going to pay, however he refused to return them, either.

    Maybe that's not technically a 'crook' but it was close enough, in my book

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    Quote Originally Posted by EmanuelGoldstein View Post
    I decided my guy was a crook when he showed up in a beautifully restored 68 Toronado, later said the parts were not satisfactory so he wasn't going to pay, however he refused to return them, either.

    Maybe that's not technically a 'crook' but it was close enough, in my book
    tornado and beautiful...an oxymoron? Maybe he is a crook....but note my post qualified my statement ithat basic credit references would have been checked before extending credit.

    Even so, its pretty easy for someone to offer up an exception...exception reporting doesn't invalidate the idea, its noise. The idea is credible businesses/people that pass credit checks do try to pay their bills, nobody wants to lose their business. Business is tough and can go sideways quickly despite the best of intentions meaning someones not going to get paid, and for people in such situations a claim is a heck of powerful way to get their attention.

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    Quote Originally Posted by Mcgyver View Post
    tornado and beautiful...an oxymoron?
    It was beautifully restored !

    But I dunno, they are not super ugly like a metropolitan or something. Would probably prefer one of these to most cars I see nowadays. Needs a different paint job but otherwise, the lines are okay (for a GM product.)

    btw, 5,000 lbs and a 450 CID engine, 15 second car, not too bad for a 1966 front drive !


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    Quote Originally Posted by fusker View Post
    Here in our much ridiculed and naive Denmark we have a thing called 'Ribers kartotek' (Riber's Index). If anybody's name is found in this list, he will have a lot of difficulties buying anything at all unless in cash on delivery. This applies to small claims anyway.
    Ribers is open to everyone AFAIK. I suppose there is a smallish fee to pay of course. I have never used it personally so can't be more precise.

    Gordon! I'm sure you know much more about this. Would you chime in, please?

    Regards, fusker
    That sounds much like our Angie's List. However, in that case I stopped trusting their ratings after they started advertising for people on the list.

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    Quote Originally Posted by EmanuelGoldstein View Post
    It was beautifully restored !

    But I dunno, they are not super ugly like a metropolitan or something. Would probably prefer one of these to most cars I see nowadays. Needs a different paint job but otherwise, the lines are okay (for a GM product.)

    btw, 5,000 lbs and a 450 CID engine, 15 second car, not too bad for a 1966 front drive !

    Back in 1966 a neighbor bought an Oldsmobile Starfire, which had virtually the same engine as the 425 cubic inch Toronado Rocket engine. In the lighter Starfire 0-60 mph time was a full second faster than the "Toro". He was an older guy but he admitted he occasionally liked to embarrass GTOs and the like when his wife wasn't with him. Back then the GTO had a 389 and the 442 a 400 cubic inch engine.

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    I passed on a rather large job last year because the customer would not pay upon completion. They wanted terms. 30 days net. I said I was happy to extend credit once they applied for credit and I ran a credit check. They did not want to do that for such a small amount. Then they said once they received the parts, they would send payment. Again, I explained that once I received their check, I would send the parts. Then they asked if I would break the order up into 10 shipments, and they would pay for each as they received them. Essentially, breaking a $9k job into 10 $900 payments.

    Nope

    Won't you make a special exception given who it is for....

    Nope

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    Quote Originally Posted by Fal Grunt View Post
    ....Won't you make a special exception given who it is for.... Nope
    Which definition of special is that?

    I'm thinking "special exceptions" should have "special" conditions.

    Special customers, on the other hand, pick the parts up in person, pay cash and hang around for a chat of exactly the right length.

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