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WWYD: Collecting on Unpaid Hay Bill

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  • WWYD: Collecting on Unpaid Hay Bill

    Situation in a not-so-short nutshell: SO contracted with a buyer in downstate NY two years ago to sell SO's hay to buyer. Buyer contracted to buy 1,500 bales of hay and paid upfront for 500 bales with the agreement that he would pay off the balance with each load he picked up. He paid through 1,000 bales before not buying through the winter and having 500 bales remaining. The next spring, last year, he came back up for more hay.

    SO agreed that buyer could take one load without payment and pay the following pick up. Buyer didn't pay at second pick up, things kept rolling in that direction, and buyer ended up taking the remaining 500 bales he had contracted for (but not paid for at this point) and emptying SO's hay mow (approximately 500 additional bales) without SO knowing about it until the end of the year. Hay mow was located at rented barn several miles away from our home farm and we had no need to go up there unless we were meeting buyer to load hay. We just assumed he had found someone else to buy from.

    Naturally, SO tried to get in contact with buyer. Phone calls, letters, certified letters buyer signed for, etc. Unfortunately, buyer only has PO Box, so papers couldn't be served unless we had his physical address. A year later, we're still not any closer to tracking this guy down and we have a $3,000 outstanding bill with him.

    Any ideas on how to proceed? Buyer is a big name farrier in Orange County NY and if there's anyone in that area that wants his name that genuinely thinks they can help, I'll PM it to them. I don't want to slander this guy's name since I have nothing against his farrier service, SO and I just want to get paid!
    R.I.P. Eagles Hill. 4/6/00-12/10/11.

  • #2
    Do you have a phone number? Have you googled him? Tried zabasearch? Property records? There are ways to find people, be tenacious.


    • Original Poster

      We have two different cell numbers, neither of which lead to anything other than his name through searches, and of course he won't pick up. Google searches lead to info events he works as a farrier at and not much else. I've never heard of zabasearch, but I'll look into it. I've done multiple people searches, but with each one I've run into "Pay $15.95 to get all information on this person!"....and then $15.95 later, it's "Pay only $59.99 to locate this person!" I guess if that's the road I have to go down, I'll do it, but I don't want to keep throwing money into searches without actually getting any real information back.
      R.I.P. Eagles Hill. 4/6/00-12/10/11.


      • #4
        I'm in Canada, so Im not sure how these things work down there, but even if you find the guy, theres a good chance you will still not be able to collect. We have just gone through a non-payment legal battle over an $18 000 hay bill. The result is that we have put another $5000 out (lawyer fees) and still not seen a penny, and probably never will...


        • #5
          I would file in small claims court and have a process server track him down in person at one of his farrier client's farms.
          McDowell Racing Stables

          Home Away From Home


          • #6
            Its costs like $35 to swear out a warrant in debt to get somebody in small claims. Just make sure you come to court with all your documents. Under tort law, a verbal agreement is legal and binding in most jurisdictions. I took an a$$hole client to court before I was old enough to buy beer and got all money owed plus interest and expenses.

            As an aside....no wonder horse people get such bad reputations. There are so many good ones, yet the bad ones are so very bad. Our neighbor purchased a couple hundred acres of hay ground and after first cut, I warned him to NEVER sell to horse people on credit. He got taken for 4,000 small squares of alfalfa.
            Last edited by rustbreeches; Sep. 7, 2011, 10:20 PM. Reason: fatigue induced dyslexia
            Originally posted by The Saddle
            Perhaps I need my flocking adjusted.


            • Original Poster

              Thanks for the advice, guys!

              Laura, I found yet another new address for him through zapasearch so maybe we'll get lucky.

              CruzN, we spoke with a lawyer a couple of times after we figured out what had happened and he said it was worth going after him. Small claims is $5,000 and under (if I remember correctly) so maybe with the smaller bill it will be easier to collect. $18,000?! What an a$$!!!

              Laurierace, if this new address doesn't pan out, I'll definitely look into it. Thanks!

              rustbreeches, the buyer actually signed a contract for the hay, so there's no doubt about payments and amounts, and he paid with a check so we won't have any problem documenting most of it. I can't believe how common this is. You're welcome for the free hay??
              R.I.P. Eagles Hill. 4/6/00-12/10/11.


              • #8
                well we get taken every year for 5-10K....every single year.
                our choices are limited other to not take new customers or
                demand cash up front.

                our current folks are both from Tn.One a Costa Rican named
                Gamboa from Cookeville and another an App breeder named Burke.

                And of course the guy out west named Foss. Together they owe us 13K and have no intentions of ever paying us. It's just the loss you take.

                (mini vent: and then as a funny note when we paid someone with a wire transfer yesterday they cried about being charged $15 for the wire. Ok, so you want to be paid for the load immediately,you don't want a check but you don't want the fees that come with "non checks"
                REALLY ???? do I just fly out to WY and scatter the cash above your house like confetti would that be better ????)

                Last edited by Tamara in TN; Sep. 8, 2011, 11:35 AM.
                Production Acres,Pro A Welsh Cobs
                I am one of the last 210,000 remaining full time farmers in America.We feed the others.


                • #9
                  I've seen someone screw other people over for hay . They really didn't have the money, but it was very frustrating to know what was going on. Eventually that person had a very difficult time finding hay and started paying up.

                  That probably don't help much though, GL!
                  "For some people it's not enough to just be a horse's bum, you have to be sea biscuit's bum" -anon.
                  Nes' Farm Blog ~ DesigNes.ca
                  Need You Now Equine


                  • #10
                    If he shies at a big barn, just call and ask for the time of his next appointment. Meet him at the gate. Maybe you can shame him into paying. If he essentially steals your hay, I would have no problem "outing" him to his farrier clients. Public knowledge may give you some leverage. He took your hay, he is the bad guy. I bet he would be upset if his clients didn't pay him for services rendered. Actions should have consequences. Just my opinion. Good Luck with the deadbeat.


                    • #11
                      I wouldn't out him to his clients . The two are not related in any way. OP and farrier have an agreement on the purchase of something, his clients have agreements (you trim/shoe, I pay (usually)). Neither has anything to do with the other.

                      It would be like car repossession being reported to your boss. Eek.

                      I would however have no problem going to events he is at and asked for a private word, and serving him there.
                      COTH's official mini-donk enabler

                      "I am all for reaching out, but in some situations it needs to be done with a rolled up news paper." Alagirl


                      • #12
                        Giving credit on anything that gets EATEN is a bad deal!! We got stiffed several years ago by a horse breeder from Tenn. when there was a drought/shortage of hay there. We custom square baled a rented hay field (1,000 bales) and sold over 100 round bales to one man. This was hay we would NOT have baled under normal conditions.) He paid up front for the rounds and came to get them on a weekly basis. He did not pay for the squares except the loads he took. We were out the field rental, the cut/rake/bale fees, the labor to stack 800 bales of hay on site, 100 of $$ for good tarps, etc. After all the round bales were hauled, the man took one load of squares, but then never came back for the rest!! He then told us it was took far to drive!! It wasn't too far for the first 4 months and when he contracted to get the hay!! The land owner was also pissed at having a huge stack of hay in his yard with blue tarps covering it!! After a typical Oklahoma winds of winter destroyed the tarps, the hay was ruined. The next spring we ended up burning the stack, raking out the wires and leveling the site...All at our own expense!! We learned our lesson!!
                        Your cusomer not only failed to pay you...he STOLE hay without your knowledge. I would think this was more than a failure to pay situation....more like criminal/theft??
                        Collecting your money may be hard. Good luck, though.
                        Breeders of Painted Thoroughbreds and Uniquely Painted Irish Sport Horses in Northeast Oklahoma


                        • #13
                          Originally posted by crosscreeksh View Post
                          Giving credit on anything that gets EATEN is a bad deal!! We got stiffed several years ago by a horse breeder from Tenn. when there was a drought/shortage of hay there.
                          can you PM me his name??

                          Production Acres,Pro A Welsh Cobs
                          I am one of the last 210,000 remaining full time farmers in America.We feed the others.


                          • #14
                            Sent you a PM. Jackie
                            Breeders of Painted Thoroughbreds and Uniquely Painted Irish Sport Horses in Northeast Oklahoma


                            • #15
                              Originally posted by Laurierace View Post
                              I would file in small claims court and have a process server track him down in person at one of his farrier client's farms.
                              Think this is a super idea - they don't necessarily have to make a scene out of it, but it is where he earns his bread and butter...and would most likely be there. He must have a regular schedule of sorts...
                              But he thought, "This procession has got to go on." So he walked more proudly than ever, as his noblemen held high the train that wasn't there at all. H.C.Anderson


                              • #16
                                huh. learn something new every day. . . .I didn't know it was even possible
                                to buy hay and then pay later. . .. Never crossed my mind, I've always
                                paid for hay when I bought it. in full.

                                I wouldn't ask a hay seller to give me hay without giving them money, and
                                on the flip side, nor would I pay for hay that I didn't take possession of
                                at the time.

                                I hope you are able to collect. .. a plumber who screwed us over
                                still owes us $2500. . .and the PI we hired won't call us back. . .


                                • #17

                                  I am in NJ so your state laws may be different. If you have a claim and file it with the court, once you receive a docket number you can request address certification from the Post Office. The post office will give you the physical address of the PO Box holder. You supply the court with the document the PO supplies and they send someone to serve the other party. You may have to pay 15.00 or so to have an officer serve but you get that back in your costs if you win your case.

                                  Good luck


                                  • #18
                                    Having successfully done the small claims court thing (in CA), it helps if you can send a letter (certified and regular) demanding payment and stating if you do not receive payment in a certain timeframe that you will pursue legal action. Of course, once you are in court he will deny having received it but you'll look good to the judge. Ask me how I know this.

                                    Keep in mind that winning in small claims court also does not guarantee timely payment. Ask me how I know this too. I paid for a sheriff to serve the scumbucket I was dealing with. Eventually I did get paid.

                                    If your scumbucket runs a business, has a business license etc, you might be able to get a business address from whoever in your area handles such things. I had to track done the individual owner of the business I was dealing with.
                                    Last edited by atlatl; Sep. 9, 2011, 11:18 AM. Reason: Another thought


                                    • #19
                                      Tidy Way

                                      The really tidy way to get your money is to put a lien on his house. It may take quite a long time but eventually his house will be for sale and lo and behold you are right in line.


                                      • #20
                                        You want a judgement (I'm fairly certain you can't put a lien on his house for an unpaid bill). Then you have lots of options.