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tdewitt

Collecting a debt

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We had a customer that we did several signs for in a real quick hurry, customer paid the 50% deposit on the entire bill, we put up the signs on all 5 of his locations and then went silent, couldn't reach him, wouldn't return our calls....nothing. I found his home address and drove to his house as it actually turned out to be only about 4 miles from my home. They were home but would not answer the door.

Two weeks go by and I start noticing the business heading down the tube, less and less people coming and going and then the stores wouldn't be open when their hours said they would be. Then about a week later they are all closed except one of them in a town 25 minutes south of our shop. I scrambled and blew up every phone number I could find for anyone that may have ties to him... After finally getting a hold of him he stated that the IRS had seized the stores and he had nothing to do with them any longer... I can't find any evidence of any of this on any websites.

What are your experiences of getting money out of someone that has claimed the IRS has seized their business? I will be contacting my attorney in the morning but just wanted to see if any of ya'll had any stories...

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Hey Travis,   I feel your pain...first of all, was it a lot of money?  

Also I highly doubt IRS would seize anything in a short amount of time...however he could be going bankrupt.  Then you may get something down the road but it may not be worth it depending on what he owes you.  Do you know anyone else that did work for him?   Obviously you're not the only one he's beating...other vendors, landlord, employees etc

try to find out as much as you can on your own...attorneys will charge big money for info you can dig up yourself. 

Best of luck...

 

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Yeah, it was about $4500.00... I actually spoke to him yesterday, he stated that he cannot file bankruptcy because the IRS seized his assets???

I have NO idea about all of this, but do believe that he is telling me a long line of lies to keep me reeling.... We have our attorney looking into it to see what we can do. I also found out that he just started another business renting campers and from what I'm told he just purchased several hundred thousand dollars of new inventory so I'm guessing the money is there he is just not paying.

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Whether or not the IRS seized his assets should not negate his debt to you.  A lot depends on the contract  wording, such as what remedies will be available in case of a default.   Usually the original contract should specify what will happen if you don't get paid.  If he's a corporation he might be able to hide his personal assets.  

I really hope you can get paid.  Good luck and keep us informed if you can ...............

 

 

 

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Lien the property, the store, the guy, his dog, everything and anything he is associated with. Its a  lot cheaper then you think.

Then go to his existing business and remove your sign, its your property ( depending upon your contract wording )

Go to his new location and tell him you want your money, he robbed you. No difference between him and a thief.

Show No Mercy to him. Call all the Town Depts for all permits and violations.......Start the computer up and let the public know

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2nd on the Lien on the property.   

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Definatly put a Lien on the property.  Actually send a notice of intent to lien to him and the landlord(s).  Its likely the landlord will be the ones paying you.  BTW unless you want to lose the $ its now time to ratchet it up and be ruthless.

Now its lesson time. For ANy customer Big, small, local or out of state you need to make some rules and stick by them. You need to have contracts that clearly state how you are to be paid and if needed what the remedies will be if they try and skip out on you.  In the contract it also needs to state that the signs are your property until paid in full installed or not. Also when I did retail I rarely would do any work without 1/2 done and remainder  when you show up on site. If you go and get ready to put up sign and he forgot he check book in his other pants tell him you will be back when he has the right pants on. If the person is a pain about paying a deposit they damn sure will be a pain when its time to pay in full.  If you feel like extending credit then ask for credit references and get the person to sign personally as well as corporate. In the case of nationals dont just get a signature from just anyone make sure its a principal or it means jack shit.  Also it helps if you take credit cards but remember the process folks get 3.5 % or more. We have not charged off ANY deadbeats in years. I could be lucky or collect $ like a mobster....

I am sure I missed some stuff that others may add.

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Steve,   I think we had the same teacher in the same business school. 

I have never " Not been Paid " by anyone.  I have zero collections because of the above business policies.
By the way.....I have " repossessed " Church signs right before Holidays , National Chain Restaurants just before Opening Day and placed Liens on National Chains and their Top Management People.  No one or Nothing is off limits when they attempt to steal from me.
Once they see that you are not fooling around, they always pay. AND DO NOT forget to charge for all the additional time, legal expenses and aggregation. 
If you remove the signs, they pay additional for that and then to install them again.  No Mercy

NO Credit Cards on problem Jobs.  Credit Cards can be cancelled up to 18 months later and then you are F#$&ed

This only happens once every few years when we don't follow our own policy
No Deposit means no work, Problems with Deposits means problems with the balance

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Yep the only time I get bit is when I break the rules.  Had a guy stringing me along on getting a deposit and we still did the design, got eng. and permits which tooks 2 months at variance hearings.  Fast forward the guy still kept forgetting his wallet and needed a Banner for grand opening.  I did so and the day of I show up a 1/2 hour before the news and the mayor and all the grand opening stuff and forgot his wallet again. Quite a big deal.  BTW the way had just retired from pro ball and had a world series ring.  In front of him and all of his big shot friends I took out a knife and shredded his banner.  He was pissed and embarrassed and said I fucked up his event. After he was done yelling I told him that when I get back to the office I was calling the city and cancelling his permit which would set his highway frontage sign back 3-4 months. That he card take his quote and my card and stick it his ass and to lose my phone number.  Best 2 grand I ever lost.  I would rather lose money than let someone steal it from me.  That was 25-30 years ago and still enjoy reminiscing about it.  

BTW never give out your design drawings.....

 

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I'll 2nd Paul and Steve. I find that repossessing the sign goes a long way, but be sure to charge them for all of your time to repossess and re-install the sign. I always make that clear before I remove the sign that if I have to send trucks out to repossess it, they're paying for all the work I'm putting in to collecting. 

It works.

Liens sometimes work, and they're fairly easy to do.

Always, always, always collect at least 50% up front. If they don't have money in it, they don't care about what happens. 

Be wary of customers who tell you that price is no object. That's what a scammer will tell you. Sometimes that's true, but half the time price is no object because they don't plan on paying you anyways.  ALWAYS collect 50% up front. It's not just a deposit, it's earnest money ... their commitment to you that you're not wasting your time doing drawings, permitting, etc.

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OK...technically you can not reprocess the sign once its installed on the property or building. You can get into more trouble than the whole thing is worth.

Here's my late dads solution....indicate that there is defective material on the sign and it may fail...Need to take back to the shop to work on it....Say you will have it back up asap....and when they call..say sorry its taking so long..we are working on it...and oh by the way...it must of slipped by...but did you know you have an overdue balance. 

  We have done it a few times over the years and my dad did it to an attorneys wifes store...and he got paid!

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So, Travis - - - any luck yet?  Can you give us an update?

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A Lien on the property is the best course of action. If he's blowing smoke and actually selling the business, your lien will put the brakes on a sale. Once he has money on the line, you'll become a much larger priority.

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I'm 100% with Paul on not holding back. If you have someone who is ripping you off, why go easy? Do you ever plan on working for them again if they are a no payer? Are they going to write a bad review about your company because they are a dead beat you have paperwork to back up?

Hit them fast and hard so they see you're not playing around.

That's food from your family's table they are stealing, take it seriously.

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Well, here's and update...

 

The guy has lost everything, and quickly, I guess it had been a long time coming and he was robbing Peter to pay Paul. All of the stores are closed, his house is no longer his, and anything he does still have in his possession is in his son or Wife's name so it can't be touched from what my lawyer has stated.

 

I have made contact with him but he just gives me the sorry Charlie story. Not sure what avenue to take now as my lawyer has said there is not much we can do that will result in getting paid.

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I agree that you should create the right circumstances to get paid such as 50% deposit and payment on delivery prior to installation. That is our policy an we rarely have a collection problem. However sometimes you will get into a situation in commerce that requires additional efforts to get paid. In commerce Liens are a good way to put on the pressure to get paid. Also Learn how to go after the Performance Bonds that are purchased by the person you contracted with for them to get their business license. You go after the bonding company that bonded the company. Most are unaware that there are 2 sides of the accounting ledger public and private. Sounds like in this case you could create an Affidavit of Truth which is a first hand account of the truth or facts. This can be attached to the private side of the man that did not pay you. There are options for collecting from the private side. I would call a law researcher named Winston Shrout at www.wssic.com and he will point you in the right direction. Winston is in his 70s and has been studying all types of law for many years. Equity law, Commercial Law, International Law, Admiralty Law, Canon Law, and Common Law. It may cost you $200 for a conference with him but much less than an attorney.  He will give you some material to study so you know what to do. He has transcripts and video guides to help you understand the law processes. He will answer your email questions after you study the materials he suggests for your case. You will not need a BAR attorney this is something you will write and file into the public record yourself. Winston has won many many cases and acts as his own lawyer Pro Se. There is a difference between attorney and lawyer. Once you know the difference you will be on the right track. The BAR is a monopoly and we Americans don’t like monopolies because they are unfair and are by nature designed to extract the maximum they can squeeze from you. Learn how the system works and save lots of money by doing it yourself. Also you avoid any future headache by learning where the snares and landmines are located. This is not hard to do but If you are not inclined to study and follow directions then this path is not for you. So fair warning to butt heads you will be your own worst enemy. Know thy self. Good Fortune to all.

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Not sure of the rule of law in your state but,  If you file a lien its on the property and property owner.  If the guy that stiffed you owned the properties than you can collect on the sale to release the lien.  If someone else owned it they are liable.  Thats why many companies go crazy getting lien releases when they pay in full.

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Very sorry that happened to you.  Wonder what in the world he did to have the IRS seize everything he owned??  That's crazy!  Hopefully he didn't own the properties where the stores are so you can file a lien on the property so the actual owner of the property will have to pay you.  Not really fair to make them pay, but better than you losing all of that money!!  Best of luck getting paid.

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