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Customer not paying now can't find them

Discussion in 'Commercial Snow Removal' started by M&M, Dec 1, 2009.

  1. M&M

    M&M Senior Member
    Messages: 312

    Here's the deal,

    I have a residential customer whos owes me $360 from last year for plowing. She went through an ugly divorce with restraining orders and stuff and as a nice guy I tried to accomodate with a payment plan. This didn't work. I kept invoicing throughout the summer and communicating through email. She promised to pay numerous times. Most recently when she sold the house.

    Now, since the house sold, I do not have a phone number or forwarding address to reach her. Also, (I'm guessing on this) that since she cancelled her comcast account the email address I have for her xxxxxxxxxxx@comcast.net is no longer valid.

    Should I just chaulk it up as a loss? Should I file a small claims suit? If I do that, how do I find her to get the court documents to her? I've tried searching for her online but can't find her. I'm not too concerned about the money but since I have time this winter I figured what the heck. Thoughts?

    I found this idea online so I'm going to try this. This has now become a little game for me.

    Then try the U.S. mail
    If you know a recent address of the person you are seeking (within one year), you may be able to locate them if they have left a forwarding address. To try this approach, address a letter as usual to the address you have. Add the phrase “ADDRESS CORRECTION REQUESTED / DO NOT FORWARD” to the front of the envelope. If the post office has a forwarding address, they will place a correction label on the envelope and return it to you.
    Last edited: Dec 1, 2009
  2. JR Snow Removal

    JR Snow Removal Senior Member
    Messages: 390

    I would take it as a loss, seems like a lot of work to try and get $360 what's your time worth. But I would take it as a lesson for the future nice guys get screwed most the time.
  3. dellwas

    dellwas Senior Member
    Messages: 369

    No idea on Income Tax in the U.S. but here in Canada we can file for "Allowance for doubtful accounts", at least I think that's the term. It allows you to record a loss against the business, and hence, a deduction, provided you are registered with Canada Customs and Revenue Agency. Got one deadbeat I'll be claiming for last year...

    Probably something similar with IRS.
  4. M&M

    M&M Senior Member
    Messages: 312

    Nice guys do end up getting the short end of the stick. My time is worth a ton when it's snowing! When it's not snowing, let's just say I spend a few afternoons in the bar during the winter.
  5. JR Snow Removal

    JR Snow Removal Senior Member
    Messages: 390

    haha, I envy you guys that can do that no snow for me means regular day job:realmad:
  6. M&M

    M&M Senior Member
    Messages: 312

    Allowance for bad debt is I think what we call it here in the states. Thanks for reminding me of it.
  7. M&M

    M&M Senior Member
    Messages: 312

    I work my arse off in the summer and hang out in the winter. I really wish it was the other way around. I can't golf in the winter.
  8. JoeCool

    JoeCool Senior Member
    from Canada
    Messages: 214

    Makes you wonder who was the problem in the ugly divorce now doesn't it? Keep treating it as a game, the money is no big deal but don't throw a bunch of good money after it. Would be nice to get 'payback' lol.
  9. M&M

    M&M Senior Member
    Messages: 312

    That does make me wonder about the divorce...Correct, very little money will be applied to try to collect.
  10. MileHigh

    MileHigh PlowSite.com Addict
    Messages: 1,827

    That 360 is history.
  11. mcwlandscaping

    mcwlandscaping 2000 Club Member
    Messages: 2,557

    Dellwas, U.S. Allows us to do that as well, there are a couple ways of actually doing it but I won't go into that lol anyway, that 360 is going to be better off taken as a loss, if that's all you've been shorted for the year then that's not bad at all compared to others I'm sure! Good luck in getting it though if you do pursue it further.
  12. M&M

    M&M Senior Member
    Messages: 312

    Yeah, this is the 2nd time I have been stiffed in 6 years of plowing. Both times, the owner sold the house. The other one was for $200 I think. These are $650K houses. It's amazing to me that they can't/won't pay their plow guy.
  13. TCLA

    TCLA 2000 Club Member
    Messages: 2,696

    If that's all you've been stiffed in a 6 year length consider yourself lucky.
  14. Mick76

    Mick76 2000 Club Member
    from Maine
    Messages: 2,157

    If you find out shes still in your town, make sure you plow $360 worth of snow back in her driveway......
    It made me feel better!
  15. deicepro

    deicepro PlowSite.com Addict
    Messages: 1,124

    Well, some people would give up, I would try to find her. But, I only plow in the winter, so I have lots of time on my hands. Try talking to her old neighbors. I found some underground websites, or try your local government website and look up her driving record, divorce filing, maybe someone else filed a judgement against her? I won't mess with anybody if they owe me $100 or less. Even if she moved out of state, I would still file a claim so it goes on her credit, then I would feel a little better, JMO.
  16. deicepro

    deicepro PlowSite.com Addict
    Messages: 1,124

    Makes me feel better too.... Just don't say it too many times or someone will call you unprofessional!
  17. M&M

    M&M Senior Member
    Messages: 312

    deicepro, thanks for the tips.
  18. Mick76

    Mick76 2000 Club Member
    from Maine
    Messages: 2,157

    Deicepro........ no problem, unmarked truck for that kind of thing!... Nice thing about it is I've only been stiffed once! (In 13 years of plowing)
  19. RepoMan207

    RepoMan207 PlowSite Fanatic
    from Maine
    Messages: 5,031

    For $360 your not doing too bad, but I know how you feel. I bend over backwards to help people out with payment arrangements an such, I even plowed a guy for free last season due to his situation. When someone takes advantage of my good will, or shorts me so much as a ten dollar bill intentionally, they regret it. I'll knock on there door every night at dinner time if thats what it takes. It's not the money as much as it is getting walked on that gets to me.

    She most likely will still have that email address. So long as she is getting her Internet service through Comcast still, she can use it. That is if she paid her bill....

    This does work, I use to use it as a tool in my arsenal until my father in law transfered into his new position at the post office, now I just call him to pull it up in the computer for me.

    IMHO Small claims court isn't really worth it for this amount. but you can get a judgment against her in a hurry. All you required to do is send the paperwork to her last known address. When she doesn't appear on court day and you do, automatic judgment. If she does show, the judge will make her pay, or set consequences if she doesn't. It has become much easier in the last ten years to attach garnishes to wages, and liens on autos & home.

    Good luck!!
  20. MahonLawnCare

    MahonLawnCare Senior Member
    from Ohio
    Messages: 848

    collection agency! that's what i do