Tampa Bay Business Lawyer: When A Customer Won’t Pay

From Mark Zamora. Available by appointment at 2012 N. Lois Avenue, Tampa, FL. email him mark(at)markzamora.com

Running a business is never easy, in good time or bad. A law office is no different than a business.  Most of your customers probably pay you within a reasonable amount of time.  At some point, however, you may have to deal with a customer who pays very slowly or not at all. What can you do?

First: 

Due diligence. Most companies are able to avoid collections problems from the start by running credit checks on new clients and by discussing prices, service fees and payment requirements with new customers before work starts.
Second:
If the company or individual is having a financial issues consider offering a chance to pay in installments, but commit that to a writing.

If attempts at collecting don’t then consider getting a lawyer involved. There are options.

  • File suit in small claims court. Just know that the time frame to even appear in front of a Judge may take months.
  • Contact a collection agency in your state and let the collection agency tackle collection. Find out in advance what the collection agency will charge for its services.
  • Have the collection agency report the debtor to credit reporting agencies.

Sometimes those threats and action don’t work. If they don’t and you need to talk to a lawyer, ask up front what charges there will be.

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