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    5 Replies Latest reply on Dec 8, 2009 6:45 PM by Ryan524

    Customer Won't Pay For Services Performed!

    AccueCS Newbie
      I apologize if the title of this post doesn't come close to descriving the problem I'm having with one of my customers. Hopefull you will understand what I'm trying to ask once you have finished reading it.

      I have a cleaning company and we perform services to this complex of apartments where do all of their move-in/out cleaning. Every week, on Fridays, we take the Invoice to their office stating all the charges for that week. That's is how we have been doing business for more than 3 months. However, we had a Invoice for $1125 which included extra fees for extra work required on some of the apartments cleaned.

      After 3 and half weeks, they now say they won't pay for the extra work and the Invoice amount to be paid is in fact much lower. We don't have a contract signed between us, but we did presented a our business proposal and a list outlining our prices where it stated that if we found an apartment which needed extra work, we would let them know and a additional amount would be charged.

      Now my question is can they do that without telling us on the moment which they took the Invoice from us? Can they legally do that or can I sue them for the difference and make sure I get all the money?
      We are in great need of legal advice on this matter, we are a small company but we want to be treated fair and with the respect we deserve by bigger companies, like the one I'm having this problem with.

      Thank you for your time and I hope you can answer me this question.
        • Re: Customer Won't Pay For Services Performed!
          amspcs Ranger

          Good morning. There are a couple if issues here I'd like to comment on.

          Should you sue? Not unless you utilize the services of some sort of pre-paid legal service provider (highly recommended) or if you have $50,000 or so lying around unused between your sofa cushions. Legal action is prohibitively costly, out of reach
          for most if not all small businesses. Understand that when two parties go to court, the ONLY ones who come out 'winners' are the attorneys. Unfortunate but true.

          The lesson you hopefully have learned here is: Assume NOTHING. Have ALL work authorized in advance, and completion thereof acknowledged in writing . Yes, you quoted prices for jobs in your initial proposal, which was obviously some time ago.
          The issue here is, your customer is now questioning either/or their authorizing the work you claim to have done, or if the work you are billing for was done at all. Since you have nether confirmation of authorization to perform the work, or acknowledgement of satisfactory completion in writing, it boils down to a verbal he said-she said issue, classically known as a "urination contest" (this is a family forum) which you can't win. By that, I mean regardless of whether or not you get your money, you'll end up losing a customer. Translation: You lose.

          My suggestion: Ask yourself if you really want or need this particular customer. If the anwer is 'yes', then play hero, let it go, and live to fight another day while still retaining a valuable customer. And above all....learn from the experience. Don't make the same mistakes (see above) again. If the anwer is no, unless you have a lawyer friend who is willing to send out a collection letter on legal letterhead as a favor or at a reasonable cost, then forget it. You're not going to get paid, and yout time would be better spent on more worthwhile endeavors, such as seeking new clients to replace this lost one.



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          • Re: Customer Won't Pay For Services Performed!
            amspcs Ranger
            One caveot to my above reply: One legal option that may be available to you is "small claims court". You might want to look into that. But the 'no win' scenario remains unchanged. If you take the client to court, even if you 'win' the battle in courft, you lose the war in terms of a lost client. Make a good business (not personal or emotional) decision on this point.
            • Re: Customer Won't Pay For Services Performed!
              aacl2009 Adventurer
              I agree with the statements made above and I see by the second entry my suggestion has come up. Due to the small amount in question this is a small claims issue. As stated, without a contract you have nothing.

              But I wouldn't get discouraged from going to court simply because it could be expensive. That is to say only go to court when you have enough evidence. I have gone to small claims twice (as the plaintiff) and won both times. The first time it was against a person and the second lawsuit was against a company. I won because I had all the evidence I needed, in one case it was a matter of what a contract stated. If I did not have that contract I would have lost.

              To further agree with the first posting, I agree that even if you were to have a contract and "win" the lawsuit all you really get is your final paycheck and possibly further repercussions later from other companies that hear about what happened. In both my lawsuits I was not concerned with future relations.
              1 of 1 people found this helpful
              • Re: Customer Won't Pay For Services Performed!
                AccueCS Newbie
                Thank you for your answers, they were really helpfull and I'll make sure this won't happen again in the future.

                I've learned a valuable leason which is to document everything and make sure someone signs-off on them.

                Thank you all, you've saved me tons of time and money.
                  • Re: Customer Won't Pay For Services Performed!
                    Ryan524 Wayfarer

                    Basically you have to make a decision what is the lesser of two evils basically loosing the client or loosing a little money. In the future be sure to have a contract. Also one provision you may find useful is something to allow you to receover any legal or collection costs you may incur relating to the contract. That way if you get into something like this in the future and you decide to take them to small claims court then the court will also add in your legal fees to any amount awarded. Also because it may just be possible such a term in unenforceble in your juristiction or in certain cases its always good to note in the contract that if any provision of the contract is deemed unenforceable the rest of the contract is still upheld.

                    One thing to note though is I am not a lawyer so don't take this any any real leagal advice, I would really suggest your have any contract you write reviewed by a lawyer in your area who knows contarct and business law.