Small Eng Firm/Bad CheckPosted by bushaxe on October 31, 2022 at 11:12 am
A small Engineering Firm paid me with a bad check. I did a couple of jobs for the guy. I gave him 30 days to pay. It took him 45 days to pay the first, $5K, then 60 days to pay the second, $3K. The $3K check bounced. What should I do to get my money?
- 21 Replies
- MemberOctober 31, 2022 at 12:51 pm
Take the check to his office and request a cashier’s check. If a small start-up, he is dealing with having to pay his bills when his bills get paid, so he might be having to rob Peter to pay Paul. Not a good place to be.
Be as sympathetic as the situation will allow, but make sure he knows you won’t be giving your services away. Depending on his attitude, you may have to put a mechanics lien against the project & I’m sure his client doesn’t want that to happen.
*edit* You may want to demand a 50% retainer on any future projects. Make sure your compensation requirements are in the contract(s).
- MemberOctober 31, 2022 at 9:36 pm
Thanks for the Reply Kevin. You are exactly right. Things happen and you never know someone’s personal situation. I have known this client for a long time and have worked on a few projects with him. While it did piss me off when I first found out I had a bounced check from him, I called him this morning to let him know what happened. He told me he would come by tomorrow with a cashiers check to cover the original invoice plus any fees assessed on my account. He offered to come today but I was out in the field all day.
I hope it works out as I would hate to lose a client and would hate to put him in a bad situation with our common clients.
I do require a 50% retainer for individual homeowners. My Engineering Clients are typically waiting to get paid for a project before paying me. So I don’t require a retainer with them.
- MemberNovember 1, 2022 at 2:44 am
Bad things happen. He may have had a far larger check from one of his clients bounce on him and your payment happened to hit the bank just as his balance went negative.
Been there. I was the guy who had the big check bounce and then my worker’s pay check bounced. Which resulted in a few of his own checks bouncing. That was a long time ago, but, I’ve never forgotten that it could happen again.
- MemberNovember 1, 2022 at 2:33 pm
Sometimes a bounced check is not because of insufficient funds. I recently had a great experience with my bank of 24 years. It seems that when I was out of the country on what I like to call my other job and my wife refers to an expensive hobby, the bank sent a letter requesting that I send them some corporate ownership verification or they would lock my account. I called the bank and was transferred to on the group that requested the info. I informed the gentleman that I was of the country and in fact would not be home for about a month. The reply was “no problem”. Well, I get back from the rally and leave on vacation with my wife. I went to use my company debit card for something and it was declined. That seemed strange so later that night I went online and checked my accounts. Everything looked fine, plenty of cash on hand. When I got home I received an email from an engineering client informing me of a failed EFT payment to me. Turns out the bank had in fact locked my account, without notice, 2 wees prior (no problem must mean something else to the bank). It got even better, since the automatic payment for my credit card was denied, that bank canceled my ability to make online payments. Then I found out that a tax payment to the City of Portland was returned. All of this over a letter requesting I verify that I had transferred partial ownership of the corporation to my wife, years ago.
- MemberNovember 1, 2022 at 3:25 pm
Lots of banks have recently been getting B!@#$ slapped for not doing their due diligence and knowing their customers.
I had a less exciting version of what you described and was contacted by the Vice pres of blah blah and it’s a big bank.
he proceeded to tell me why they had to do it and why I would have to comply.
I gave him a very terse and curt earful didn’t even swear and at the end of it I said and I’m pulling all of my money out of your bank save the credit card that I have to pay through your bank otherwise all of my cash is going to my own personal credit unions and this is what I’ll tell people is to not use your bank. how do you think that’s going to affect the bottom line….
- MemberNovember 1, 2022 at 4:03 pm
Yes. The banking industry has been stuck with more and more “butt-covering” requirements in recent years.
I am the treasurer for a Cemetery District so must sign checks to pay for various expenditures throughout the year. The current account was set up with a local bank many years ago, long before I was involved. Now, they are asking me questions about how the account was set up. Hey, if they don’t know, who does?
They insisted that I have our board assign a second person to be on the account, which makes sense. Anything could happen any day. Getting him added was about like getting access to dust the gold in Fort Knox. Although the bank officer handling this had known the new potential check signer since he was born, he still had to prove he was really who he said he was and I had to be present to verify he was who he said he was and to provide a copy of the minutes of our meeting where we appointed him to do this.
About 35 years ago I had to fill out a bunch of forms and pay a fee of something like $50 to have the forms processed simply because I already had a couple of loans from a specific bank. The Government was making banks do this for all agricultural loan accounts because there were so many such loans going into default around that time. I really didn’t want to pay the processing fee. I had no choice. Do it or pay off the notes TODAY. This was good, paying bank customers being punished because of the actions of bad, non-paying bank customers.
That’s how life works.
- MemberNovember 1, 2022 at 4:26 pmI hope everyone has a great day; I know I will!
- MemberNovember 1, 2022 at 9:59 pm
@john-putnam I’d definitely find a new Bank. My bank covers any insufficient fund checks I write which happens a lot with automatic bill paying out of my account. It just gets charged to my Credit Card. I pay that bill off every month, get an interest free loan, plus get money back from what I charged.
- MemberNovember 3, 2022 at 9:40 am
The Saga Continues. So I waited for my client to show up with a cashier??s check Tuesday. First he was coming in the morning. Then after 12. Finally at 4:30 I texted him and asked what happened. He replied that he was on his way and to give him 20 minutes. Then I get a text ??do you want it made out to you or your business?? I??m thinking, what kind of question is that? I text back ??business?. I wait about an hour and he calls. He says he doesn??t have enough money in his business account to pay me because he hasn??t invoiced anyone in 3-months. He then says he is trying to pay me out of his personal savings account but his bank won??t up his withdrawal limit or something. He then asked if he can pay by Venmo and pay whatever fees I incounter. I agree and he sends me three $1K payments from Venmo, about $800 short of what he owes. Then I get a texts me that he has maxed his Venmo limit and he will have to wait a day to pay the rest. Needless to say, a day has passed and I have not seen the rest of my money. I will keep playing nice guy until I get it out of him. Then I??m cutting him loose as a client. I don??t like drama.
- MemberNovember 3, 2022 at 2:00 pm
…yes sir, there is a difference between a “long time customer” and doing a couple of jobs for the guy.
I’ve seen some good small companies get in situations where they have to get paid by the developer before they can pay their subcontractors. It’s not a good place to be in business practices, and takes time to dig one’s self out of that situation once you are in it, and should be divulged up front. Compassionate gestures, ie. peaceful resolutions of the problem at hand, tend to be less stressful for all concerned. By no means was I suggesting that the debt should be brushed off, only that being demanding, mechanics leans, or getting a collection agency involved should only be used IF the individual or company started the telephone two-step.
- MemberNovember 3, 2022 at 2:29 pm
Wells Fargo locked one of my accounts when I was on Kauai – because I was paying for various expenses not in Tucson. Of course, I was on vacation. Their solution was to go to a branch office and prove I was really me. Fair enough, except they don’t have a branch office on Kauai. I was not happy.
- MemberNovember 4, 2022 at 11:19 am
Closure. I reached out to my client last night and asked when he thought he would be able to pay the remainder of his balance. After a couple of foul attempts to Venmo me, he finally came through and paid his balance plus bank fees. No harsh words, no ill will, no leans. I got paid. That??s all I wanted.
Meanwhile, two of his clients that I met through working with him have contacted me directly with more work.
- MemberNovember 4, 2022 at 2:43 pm
Patience is an admirable trait.
- MemberNovember 4, 2022 at 2:48 pmI hope everyone has a great day; I know I will!
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