Client leaves (found someone to lease her horse who wanted to take the horse asap). Last cheque bounces. Claims overdrawn due to unexpected bills. Wants to pay in installments with post dated cheques. Will drop them off. It is now 29 days from when the cheque bounced and still no post dated cheques.
Should I just sit tight as I am confident in this person's honesty...or should I stop being so frickin' naive and mail a "Past Due" bill to her house? For whatever reason I don't want to be rude as I understand this person has some financial issues beyond their control...what is the most tactful way to deal with this?
When I was unemployed for 8 months I had to do some juggling. I considered it my responsibility to keep everyone, if not paid, then at least INFORMED. And I never would have begrudged or thought less of a creditor who reminded me of my obligations... that's what creditors do.
Arrange whatever pieces come your way. - Virginia Woolf
Did you know that if you say the word "GULLIBLE" really softly, it sounds like "ORANGES"?
So she gave you the check, the horse left, then check bounced? Yikes. Try to get it if you can but she's probably written you off. May not have been possible in this case, but never lett a horse off your property if the owner owes you money, you'll probably never see it. Ask me how I know. I'm sorry, that's a tough spot to be in.
Well, at least she didn't stick you with keeping the horse for no money. I'm not saying it is OK to bounce a check - but at least the horse is not in your barn eating its head off and needing fresh shavings every day. (And this is why I wouldn't hold the horse "hostage" - as it's quite easy to run up a huge bill of your own taking care of them when the owner simply can't anymore.)
If this person has been a reliable payer in the past, I'd bet that she simply doesn't HAVE the money she owes you, at least at the moment. Again, I'm not defending that - but if that is the reality, you may well do better to take a partial payment or payments over time vs. nothing at all.
There is absolutely nothing wrong or rude with sending a reminder. If you feel better, you could add a note saying that you understand she's in a difficult situation, but you need to know when she'll be making her payments as promised.
Just as good fences make good neighbors, we all need to make the boundaries clear.
Send her a bill for the full amount saying past due, add the charge for the bounced check and tell her if it's not made good in 30 days, you'll take it to the city attorney's office for collection.
If she would have called you immediately, when she found out it wouldn't clear, and brought you post dated checks that day, then, by all means, be nice. But bouncing a check, not notifying the person, and then not following through, tells me they intend to just screw you over. Time for a wake up call, and no more mr nice guy.
Ok, planning to send invoice on Monday with amount owing (including NSF charge). Was thinking of adding some sort of note:
"Let us know if you need to make payments so we can avoid charging late fees! I hope all is going well with you and your horse."
It was a strange situation in that she gave 5 weeks notice, and was planning to stay until the end of October, but then the new lease rider wanted the horse sooner...so left before Oct 1, which is when the cheque was dated for. I do not think she would have known it had bounced until I told her. Payment wasn't stopped, it was NSF.
I do have a bad habit of letting people take advantage though...I hope this isn't the case.
Hope she isn't preparing for a bankruptcy. Especially with post dated checks. I don't think post dated are considered the same as insufficient because when you accept them you know they aren't good at that time. I hope you get your money.