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Old April 8th, 2008, 02:01 PM   #1
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Wedding payment/deposit question for the seasoned

I am about to do my 11th wedding, and have 14 booked so far for 08. My question is about deposits. 3 of my 08 weddings so far have bounced their deposit check resulting in NSF charges to me. I have collected the deposit and NSF from 2, but one has not responded in almost 2 weeks (most likely has changed their mind). Can I ask for certified checks for the deposit on all subsequent weddings? Cash, Money order? How do other people handle this on this forum?

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Old April 8th, 2008, 02:15 PM   #2
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Contract

I would find a good way to address this is a contract. If people bounce checks and you can't get in touch with them, then I would be very concerned about getting the rest of the money.

I have a bounced check line in my contract. You could also line out your contract that if the check bounces, the wedding date is no longer safe until you are paid correctly. I would go as far as saying the full amount is due in a bank check if the original check bounces. That's my two cents.
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Old April 8th, 2008, 02:28 PM   #3
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There is a line in my terms and conditions regarding bounced checks. If it happens, the remaining balance needs to be paid by cash or certified check. My problem is that now my bank is placing holds on any check that gets deposited into my business account which really pi@#$% me off because the hold is 7 days.
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Old April 8th, 2008, 03:00 PM   #4
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Wow, I'm really sorry to hear that. That's either some really bad luck for you or maybe it's the type of client you're drawing. If your prices are really low, you will tend to draw the type of clients that will bounce checks on you and disappear. But like I said, maybe it's just a stretch of bad luck for you.

The best advice I can give is to enforce your contract with them. I'm assuming you have their contact information from a contract they signed with you, so if you have to just inform them that if they don't respond and pay the NSF charges then you'll be forced to take them to small claims court. This is assuming they've ignored several contacts from you. If you're serious about taking them to court then you should talk to a lawyer probably, and find out how many contact attempts are reasonable by law, and find out how many need to be certified attempts.

Most likely it won't be worth your time to go through all of that just to collect $20 or $30 for the NSF charge. Those are my rambling thoughts on the matter. d;-)
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Old April 8th, 2008, 06:42 PM   #5
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That's either some really bad luck for you or maybe it's the type of client you're drawing. If your prices are really low, you will tend to draw the type of clients that will bounce checks on you and disappear.
Well, I don't think that's the problem, as my prices start at $1500 and go to $3500 for Blu-Ray...I guess it's just the luck I have had with some clients. I think I'm going to change my T&C to state only certified check or cash or money order.
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Old April 8th, 2008, 07:52 PM   #6
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In re-reading your OP I realized that you got NSF payments from two of the clients. So really you only have one problem client that you're dealing with. In my opinion, I would just continue with business as usual and accept checks and just write this off to some bad luck. If I was a potential client I would be put off by having to get you a certified check for a deposit. Just my opinions. Good luck!
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Old April 8th, 2008, 11:50 PM   #7
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I always get credit card info from all clients. If their check bounces, or if they can't come through with their final balance, I charge their credit card. Just be sure they know ahead of time that this will be the case. Put it in the contract.
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Old April 9th, 2008, 08:45 AM   #8
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Were I you I'd consider handling everything via PayPal on my website or use some other means to transact CC payments - you won't have to worry about this.
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Old April 9th, 2008, 04:07 PM   #9
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Were I you I'd consider handling everything via PayPal on my website or use some other means to transact CC payments - you won't have to worry about this.
Hey Rick, I have read a lot of older threads on this forum about paypal, the good the bad the ugly. So it works for you?
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Old April 9th, 2008, 05:31 PM   #10
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I've been using PayPal to accept CC payments for about 6 years now and I haven't had any issues really .. certainly nothing serious. If I took CC payments every day I might switch to a processing company, but I only take payments every couple of weeks so PayPal works great because they only take the transaction percentage and there are no monthly fees or other additional fees.
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Old April 10th, 2008, 08:01 PM   #11
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does anyone here want to share their contract with the rest of us? I don't have a company yet so I am curious how you write one up.
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Old April 11th, 2008, 10:27 PM   #12
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Were I you I'd consider handling everything via PayPal on my website or use some other means to transact CC payments - you won't have to worry about this.
Good idea...I have a Paypal account for Ebay purchases/sales. I could just add a link and offer Paypal as a method of payment, although they do take a chunk of it.
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Old April 11th, 2008, 10:48 PM   #13
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I've been doing Paypal for about 5 years. It's reliable, reasonably fast to get your money, many people DO have a Paypal account and is really no more to use than a standard credit card processor. they'll take 3% anyway.

Paypal has worked out real well for me.

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Old April 12th, 2008, 08:57 AM   #14
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although they do take a chunk of it.
Personally, I don't consider 3% a "chunk". It's a fair price considering you've already had to deal with a 21% bounce rate. You probably paid enough in fees on those bad checks to cover a couple years of PayPal fees.
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Old April 12th, 2008, 02:44 PM   #15
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I've been doing Paypal for about 5 years. It's reliable, reasonably fast to get your money, many people DO have a Paypal account and is really no more to use than a standard credit card processor. they'll take 3% anyway.

Paypal has worked out real well for me.

Don
And actually, a standard credit card processor will charge you more. You'll have transaction fees on top of the percentage that they take, and you'll have monthly fees and possibly yearly fees and reader rental fees. PayPal is the least expensive way to accept a credit card payment that I know of.
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