Respected Contributor
Posts: 2,220
Registered: ‎07-27-2015


I am a business owner and it sounds like this client will or may have already filed for bankruptcy. If not then the company may have never intended to pay for services rendered. With the debt being over a year I think collecting will be a challenge. Regardless of the route you take to collect you will not get the full amount owed.


We learned a valuable lesson many years ago when someone paid for services and the check bounced. In the end, you never know who the next scammer or non payer will be when doing business.

Valued Contributor
Posts: 598
Registered: ‎03-10-2010


Just wanted to add that if you ever mail anything out certified/registered mail return receipt and the envelope is returned to you as "Refused", "Undeliverable", "No forwarding address", etc., no matter what the reason, never break the seal and open that letter when it is returned to you.


This is your proof that you tried to contact them.  Make sure you have an exact copy of what is in the envelope prior to mailing, and when it is returned to you keep your copies of what you sent with that unopened untouched returned letter.  If you go to court you can present to the judge what you sent and the unopened letter.


This will prove to the judge your attempts to contact by mail, and the judge can then open the returned receipt letter and enter into court records the evidence he found inside it which will match your file copy, therefore proving your truthfulness about what you sent in that envelope.


Years ago we won a case against us for non payment of rent years ago...landlord had refused to sign for the return receipt envelope which was returned to us by post office.  After renting a new place for a few months we realized landlord was not a nice or truthful person.  We were sending rent check by mail 7 days before it was due to the next city and he would always say it was late.  So after a couple months we decided to send it return receipt requested 7 days before it's due date.  Well he refused to sign for it and envelope came back "Refused".  Shortly after we received notice to go to court for non payment of rent.  When we went to court the "Refused" envelope was presented to judge which he then opened to verify our claim that landlord refused rent and he found the rent check.  Judge dismissed case because landlord refused envelope which contained rent check.  Landlord would have had rent 2 days prior to due date had he signed for and taken envelope so the judge ruled in our favor because of that refused rent!  Judge chastised landlord for refusing envelope because landlord said he did not know what was in it.  So the judge told him if he had signed & opened it he would have gotten his rent 2 days ahead of time.  Judge said we did right thing by not opening envelope.  Glad we never opened it!


Good luck with your collection.

Respected Contributor
Posts: 2,168
Registered: ‎05-08-2010


@Puppy LipsDon't be penny-wise and pound-foolish.  Hire a local lawyer who will charge you a reasonable fee for about an hour of his/her time to send a letter to the debtor (via email if necessary).  You'll save yourself a lot of hassle and second-guessing, and maybe pick up a tip or two about how to avoid this probem in the future.  It sounds like the debtor isn't going to pay, but at least you'll have done everything you can reasonably do without much extra effort and expense.

Esteemed Contributor
Posts: 6,814
Registered: ‎05-09-2010


Thank you all for the helpful suggestions. In our business we rarely have people owe us money. This was for an event that was a total bust and the organizers lost money. My husband did not trust his gut and went through with it, even though he saw signs that all was not well with this conference. I will discuss this with him and start to make some phone calls tomorrow.
Always remember that you are absolutely unique. Just like everyone else. Margaret Mead
Respected Contributor
Posts: 2,213
Registered: ‎09-18-2010


[ Edited ]

@Puppy Lips Non payment of invoices and trying to collect is, always, a problem especially for a small business.  It will cost your business even more money and there is no guarantee of collection of the amount owed.  The least expensive way is small claims court.  The fees are nominal.  It, usually, goes to mediation.  If your dead beat client does not respond, you will be awarded a judgement and a lien will be placed upon the client for collection. 


I realize that $5,000.00 is not a small sum.  I would suggest you take it as a bad debt, business loss to reduce your profit and tax base especially since the client is from another state.  It will save you time, money and aggravation.


I would try and see if the client has filed bankruptcy or has any other claims against them in small claims court.