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Thread: Legal help re bounced cheque ..... Please!!!

  1. #11
    King Of Cheese Moderator DazzyD's Avatar
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    Hi Ralph.

    I've looked at your letter and, in my opinion, this isn't the course of action I'd have taken. I wouldn't have included the bit "in my opinion this is tantamount to fraud and deception.". Despite what you might think, at this point in time, has happened, you are actually accusing the client of a criminal offence here. Only a judge/jury can decide on this and, as this hasn't reached that far, you are leaving yourself wide open to a counter accusation of libel. You really need to resolve this swiftly with the right amount of pressure and not get in to a war of words that can quickly escalate. If you think that this client deliberately set out to defraud you - "obtaining services by means of deception" - then your first stop has to be report it to the police. A client not paying you under your T&Cs is a civil matter but a client intentionally setting out to defraud you out of money, goods or services is a criminal offence and needs to be put in to the hands of the police.

    I know you're angry about this situation (after all, who wouldn't be?) but you have to approach it in a professional and level-headed manner. I wouldn't have even gone in to replying to the client's alleged concerns about the event at this point. I would have issused a simple straight-forward "Account Overdue - 14 days" letter which is standard procedure in the debt collection process. This letter simply tells the claimant that their account is now overdue and that they have 14 days to settle it. It also outlines the consequences of non-payment after 14 days - ie legal action for debt recovery will follow and could affect the person's credit rating, etc., etc., blah blah blah! The client hasn't paid for the service so, really, doesn't have a valid complaint at this point. Her complaint will only become valid once your services are paid for. This is why I wouldn't even refer to her complaints at this point in time. The complaints process and the debt recovery process are separate and should be kept that way.

    It looks like what's been done is done now so I only hope you've struck a nerve with the client and she pays up. I think in 9 cases out of 10 the client will read your letter and pay. However, that always leaves the one who'll dig their heels in and make things harder for you. And with you accusing her of fraud then this has the potential to get messy.
    Dazzy D
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  2. #12
    Senior Member yourdj's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Sapphire Disco View Post
    Spot on Ralph I would imagine you will be receiving payment very soon hopefully
    I don't agree. Its well laid out and the detail is there, but its a bit personal. I would have kept it simple and left the courts to decide.
    You have to be very careful and keep things on a no accusation level. Its alson not written very professionally and may not be taken seriously (i.e. "strong approach").

    I have always treated the client as if they have done nothing wrong and then step it up when they then ignore me further when i have the right too. You Need to give the a scare to pay, set down the rules and terms, but not make them angry or personal in any way. Just look at any letter from unpaid bills from utility companies for examples. I have a few in my filing cabinet from years back when i was poor

    Having said all that that will definitely do the job. Just remember to act on your threats! I think the set thing is a few more letters and then debt recovery, but don't quote me on that. Don't deal with any of this on the phone if they continue to be a pain, let the courts decide. Email is not too bad as you can use it as evidence, with the original booking emails etc. It might be worth trying to find out who complained as you could use them as witnesses and if there were caretakers or other staff at the venue they may be able to help too.
    Last edited by yourdj; 23-01-2014 at 08:24 AM.
    Your DJ - Mobile DJ The New Forest, Southampton & Hampshire. Toby
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  3. #13
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    Quote Originally Posted by DazzyD View Post
    I've looked at your letter and, in my opinion, this isn't the course of action I'd have taken. I wouldn't have included the bit "in my opinion this is tantamount to fraud and deception.".
    That'd be my bad advice. I did think when I read your phrasing that it's better to keep opinions out of debt recovery letters and stick to known facts (otherwise it does open the door to people trying to detract by arguing about points which are secondary to the purpose of the letter - which is paying up).

    Quote Originally Posted by DazzyD View Post
    If you think that this client deliberately set out to defraud you - "obtaining services by means of deception" - then your first stop has to be report it to the police.
    From experience, the police will probably still consider this a civil matter, despite it technically being fraud. They usually leave this level of fraud to the banks to sort out....

    Incidentally, I've had this whole situation happen to me once before (almost exactly the same circumstances, gig done, no complaints on the night, but no payment - called the client the week after to get payment and was given a list of excuses around poor service). Unfortunately in my case I subbed out the gig to a friend so I wasn't there on the night and couldn't vouch for what happened. I suspected that the client was trying it on as I heard that a number of other suppliers had found themselves in a similar position at the end of the night, but I just had to chalk it up to experience and move on as I couldn't say for sure if we had provided the service or not.

    Julian
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  4. #14
    Senior Member DiscoMagic's Avatar
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    It is a tough one here, but I have tried to keep my feeling aside and maintain professional, whilst still attempting in instil fear whilst getting across the fact fact that I am serious in my threats. I hope that any misdemeanours in my letter will be over looked if it does go to court as I am sure that any Judge would understand that I am no legal professional! Incidentally I did run this pass a good friend of mine who work in the legal world.

    Time will tell
    Ralph @ Disco Magic
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  5. #15
    Senior Member Sapphire Disco's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by yourdj View Post
    I don't agree. Its well laid out and the detail is there, but its a bit personal. I would have kept it simple and left the courts to decide.
    You have to be very careful and keep things on a no accusation level. Its alson not written very professionally and may not be taken seriously (i.e. "strong approach").
    I don't agree I think Ralphs letter is spot on it should have the desired effect and will not be detrimental to the case should it go to court because it's true, I think you are forgetting the fact that she has issued a cheque and then claimed it was stolen Ralph then banked what was claimed to be a stolen cheque !!!
    Nobody is right all the time not even me

  6. #16
    Senior Member Jim - Scotland's Party DJ's Avatar
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    So if I'm reading this correctly:

    She has claimed the cheque was stolen in order to have it cancelled?

    If that's the case (as according to her bank...) then it is premeditated fraud so I don't think him bringing that issue up in the letter is overly out of order.

    If it was a normal bounced cheque then throwing out the fraud claim is opening yourself up but when they actually have commited fraud...

    Apart from that I'd be on to their bank letting them know what one of their customers is doing.

    Either way she sounds like a total scum bag so hammer her and teach her a lesson.

  7. #17
    Senior Member yourdj's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Jim - Scotland's Party DJ View Post

    Either way she sounds like a total scum bag so hammer her and teach her a lesson.
    I would just be professional and keep things neutral, professionally written, to the point and free from any accusation.

    Get on with business and forget about it, but put a reminder in your calendar for the next 2 letters and impending debt collection dates.
    Life is too short to be getting stressed and angry over one booking.

    Thats my personal opinion.


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    Last edited by yourdj; 23-01-2014 at 09:29 PM.
    Your DJ - Mobile DJ The New Forest, Southampton & Hampshire. Toby
    http://www.yourdj.co.uk/ | http://www.phatdiscos.co.uk/ | http://bogfrog.co.uk | http://newforestwedding.co.uk

  8. #18
    King Of Cheese Moderator DazzyD's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Sapphire Disco View Post
    I don't agree I think Ralphs letter is spot on it should have the desired effect and will not be detrimental to the case should it go to court because it's true, I think you are forgetting the fact that she has issued a cheque and then claimed it was stolen Ralph then banked what was claimed to be a stolen cheque !!!
    Nobody is right all the time not even me
    In the eyes of the Law, it's up to a judge and jury to decide if someone is guilty of any wrong-doing. Ralph can only "allege" wrong-doing. If he does so in writing, which he has done, and the judge and jury disagree then it's potentially libel. This whole case is a matter of debt collection. Ralph should really stick to the facts - ie the customer's account is overdue and she owes the money for services rendered. Personal opinion doesn't come in to it.

    Quote Originally Posted by Jim - Scotland's Party DJ View Post
    So if I'm reading this correctly:

    She has claimed the cheque was stolen in order to have it cancelled?

    If that's the case (as according to her bank...) then it is premeditated fraud so I don't think him bringing that issue up in the letter is overly out of order.

    If it was a normal bounced cheque then throwing out the fraud claim is opening yourself up but when they actually have commited fraud...

    Apart from that I'd be on to their bank letting them know what one of their customers is doing.

    Either way she sounds like a total scum bag so hammer her and teach her a lesson.
    Not only is this a highly unprofessional attitude to take, imo, again, it's up to the law to decide the outcome. Legal judgements are largely based on how the judge and jury feel at that particular time. Nothing is ever clear-cut. Why risk a costly legal battle when all you want to do is get paid for a job you've done? Simple, clear and concise debt collection procedures are all that is needed. And with the ease of the money-claim online service, why risk anything else? This is business. Emotion should be kept out of it. Once you start letting emotion control the way you run your business then it's a downward spiral.

    And let's not forget, this is a thread in the "Law" section of the forum. I'm pretty sure vigilante approaches to such matters would be frowned upon in law!
    Dazzy D
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  9. #19
    Senior Member Andy Collins's Avatar
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    You have a very strong case here to be honest. For a start, the fact that she's reported the cheque stolen could have landed you in a cell. Secondly It's not against the law to stop a cheque. However, it is a criminal offence to hand over a cheque with the intention of stopping it later.

  10. #20
    King Of Cheese Moderator DazzyD's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Andy Collins View Post
    You have a very strong case here to be honest. For a start, the fact that she's reported the cheque stolen could have landed you in a cell. Secondly It's not against the law to stop a cheque. However, it is a criminal offence to hand over a cheque with the intention of stopping it later.
    Which adds further weight to the fact that it should be reported to the police.

    Some banks will charge the customer for cancelling a cheque. However, reporting it lost or stolen doesn't carry a charge so perhaps this explains her thinking?
    Last edited by DazzyD; 24-01-2014 at 06:57 AM. Reason: Because I'm not American! D'Oh! :doh:
    Dazzy D
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