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Old January 30th, 2007, 02:07 PM   #1
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How long should I wait for this bride to pay me?

Here's the story:

Shot a wedding in October. The check bounced. Was promised a quick resolution by the bride, who said the MOB would issue a new check. Then they said they would get it to me in December. Then January. Now (presumably) February. The MOB has now ignored my two most recent emails offering her a payment plan. She has said in the past that she fully intends to pay me and that she is embarassed the first check bounced.

How long should I wait before filing a claim in small claims court? Should I mention such a possibility in future emails/letters?
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Old January 30th, 2007, 02:09 PM   #2
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I get paid before the wedding in full. They dont get anything after for a couple weeks so any check will have cleared. I would not wait another day. She is obviously putting you off as long as she can.
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Old January 30th, 2007, 02:16 PM   #3
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This might help - http://www.lawdog.com/states/nh/checks.htm
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Old January 30th, 2007, 02:25 PM   #4
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Time's up, in my opinion. Pay now or pay + court costs later.
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Old January 30th, 2007, 02:41 PM   #5
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Originally Posted by Jim Michael
Thanks -- that is very instructive!!
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Old January 30th, 2007, 03:37 PM   #6
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Not so fast... have you delivered the video yet? How much of your service has been completed. Did they give you a deposit that cleared?

Yeah, I know we have agreements requiring everything up front but there are judges who don't care about this if the contract hasn't been fullfilled on your end.

Just some thoughts.
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Old January 30th, 2007, 03:54 PM   #7
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I would let them know that they have 10 days to pay up, or you will keep the money paid so far, and terminate the project. It might not be legal if it wasnt in the contract, but it might make them get in gear. You might also inform them that the project will be deleted from your NLE after 10 days.
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Old January 30th, 2007, 04:06 PM   #8
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How much is the balance compared to the cost to take her to small claims court in money, time, and reputation. Just because this is not your fault, does not mean it will be relayed that way to other people if they were to share the story. I don't know about in the US, but for here at least, taking them to small claims isn't going to do much more than having somebody else tell them to pay you, which they already know.

I'm not sure how much your hurting for cash and need to get this settled right away, but I would try talking to the bride about a payment plan and seeing where that goes. We too leave the last payment for when the product is ready and have had 1-2 problems like yours before, but in time, they have always resolved themselves.
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Old January 30th, 2007, 04:06 PM   #9
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Rick Steele
Not so fast... have you delivered the video yet? How much of your service has been completed. Did they give you a deposit that cleared?

Yeah, I know we have agreements requiring everything up front but there are judges who don't care about this if the contract hasn't been fullfilled on your end.

Just some thoughts.
I have not completed the project since the check bounced. The contract states that all payments are due on the day of the wedding. I have shot the wedding and am awaiting payment before I edit a single frame. Why would I deliver the video if I haven't been paid?
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Old January 30th, 2007, 05:30 PM   #10
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Bill Edmunds
Why would I deliver the video if I haven't been paid?
You tell me? You never said one way or another.

It's actually quite common for some to collect the 2nd half or remaining balance on delivery.
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Old January 30th, 2007, 06:42 PM   #11
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Rick Steele
It's actually quite common for some to collect the 2nd half or remaining balance on delivery.
I used to do that. It was awful... I'd wait for ages for the customer to give me all necessary materials (photos, etc) and in the meantime I had very little $$$ to show for it. I collect everything up front now and it saves a lot of headache.
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Old January 30th, 2007, 07:00 PM   #12
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Bill Edmunds
I used to do that. It was awful... I'd wait for ages for the customer to give me all necessary materials (photos, etc) and in the meantime I had very little $$$ to show for it. I collect everything up front now and it saves a lot of headache.
I agree, never do a split payment plan. I have had enough of those.

I have only had a few customers who ask for such payment plans. They usually use the "I am afraid I might get screwed" excuse.

I don't blame people for worrying, but I have more than enough evidence to show that I complete all my projects. Plus, I always give them a signed copy of the contract with my sig.

I would send one more email/phone call saying that further action will be taken if payment is not received in x amount of days.
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Old January 30th, 2007, 07:06 PM   #13
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i dont hit record until all money is recieved, however in your situation, as we dont know the details, its pretty difficult to determine an amicable solution.
If your contract does not state any details pertaining to payment, the client can decide how and when they pay you.
Another assumption is that if there is no payment details, balances can indeed be paid upon delivery of the goods.

Here in Aus, the time of a contract payment bears no weight on the contracted services therein. Being that if a client pays me upfront (as htey do) and they use the argument "we paid you and were still waiting for our video" THAT has no meaning to the agreement of service itself.. its difficult to explain.

If i was in your situation, i would send a polite letter advising the cleint that their edit is due to begin and before work can begin, the balance of the account must be fulfilled. Give them a timeframe of say 2 weeks and even offer them a payment plan.

I can guarantee you that most clients who baulk payments dont do it on purpose however many times, they blow their cash on their honeymoons...
Ive even had clients break up within 3 months, so since about 4 years ago, i stopped the "pay before and pay on delivery" payment method
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Old January 30th, 2007, 07:12 PM   #14
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Peter Jefferson
If your contract does not state any details pertaining to payment, the client can decide how and when they pay you.
My contract specifically states that the balance is due on the wedding day or anytime before.

Quote:
Originally Posted by Peter Jefferson
If i was in your situation, i would send a polite letter advising the cleint that their edit is due to begin and before work can begin, the balance of the account must be fulfilled. Give them a timeframe of say 2 weeks and even offer them a payment plan.
I've been doing that for months now (offering a payment plan and mentioning that I will not start editing until paid). So far, no luck.
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Old January 30th, 2007, 07:28 PM   #15
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well u cleared those up..

ok what your left with is this then...

how much do they owe?

Depending on the value, i would offer them "recomendations" to financial institutions with contact numbers. They might be offended, but stiff cookies, nothing is more offensive than someone baulking payment...

Before the letter though, i would call them one last time and advise them that they will be recieveing a final letter prior to collections action, THEN advise that in that time, their tapes will be put on archive until they do pay. THEN advise that if payment is not recieved within 12 weeks, the tapes will be recycled and the contract will be null and void due to their ""inability to fulfil the conditional requirements of he Agreement"" (that is theyre inability to pay you before you can complete your end of the deal)

Be nice, coz potential for "helping" a client will always bear good weight upon you and the business especially if theyr ehaving a hard time and you were "so nice"about them paying u late...
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