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The Magic Cafe Forum Index » » Tricky business » » The check bounced! What's next? (3 Likes) Printer Friendly Version

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Emazdad
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Inner circle
Plymouth UK
1954 Posts

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I've had a bounced cheque, I phoned them up they couldn't apologies enough, they had a bit of a financial hiccup, I've been there myself in the past, they sent me another which cleared.

If it hadn't then I would have sent them a letter and an invoice, 10 days later if they hadn't paid it I'd send another, then if they still havn't paid I contact equity who would get the money for me. This is where signed contracts come in really handy.
On my invoices it says if it's not paid within 10 days a 10% surcharge will be added plus a £10 adminastration fee so every time it's not paid the fee increases. I've only had to do it once when the beancounter at a place I worked went on holiday for 3 weeks leaving my invoice unpaid in her in tray. They soon sorted it out once they got the increased bill.

In my opinion not to chase them up if their cheque bounces is the wrong thing to do. it gives them the message that they can get away with it and encourages them to do it to others.

A magician who has been in the business a long time once told me that They often do it working on the princible that you wont chase it up as it costs you time and money, as soon as the first legal letter drops through their letter box they pay up.
Yours Funfully
Clive "Emazdad" Hemsley
www.emazdad.com

"Magic is a secret, without the secret there is no magic"

Remember there are only 3 types of people in the world, those that can count and those that can't.
magic4u02
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Eternal Order
Philadelphia, PA
15111 Posts

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A contract or confirmation letter is certainly a big help in situations like this.

Kyle
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Steven Steele
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Chief of Staff
Hesperia, California USA
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Luckily, I have yet to encounter this problem, but in California if a check bounces and you have proof (a return receipt letter) of an attempt to collect it, your next step is to file with the County District Attorney. They will collect everything, including any additional fees and costs you have incurred.

And Kyle is correct, every show I do even the free ones have confirmation letters, which spell everything out; so there are as few surprises as possible.

Steven
Emazdad
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Inner circle
Plymouth UK
1954 Posts

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I also ask for payment before the show, and when paid by cheque I only accept personal cheques as long as they have a cheque guaruntee card.
Yours Funfully
Clive "Emazdad" Hemsley
www.emazdad.com

"Magic is a secret, without the secret there is no magic"

Remember there are only 3 types of people in the world, those that can count and those that can't.
dreidy
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Regular user
Sydney, Australia
156 Posts

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Why not make arrangements with your bank to accept credit cards? Here, provided you have a good relationship with your own bank, you can make arrangements to accept cards, both in person and over the phone. Yes, there is a small surcharge (1%- 3%) but you get paid within 2 days. Also, if you accept cards and your competitors don't, it gives you a marketting advantage.

David.

PS In case you're wondering about not having a company or registered business - 'ladies of the night' often accept credit card payments. I know because I've done some work with a bank - not for any other reason. Smile
Snidini
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I have to throw my $.02 into this thread cause it happened to me also on a couple of occassions. Here's how I have settled them all with the exception of one. I had an attorney send them a "scary legal letter" that at least got them to call me and discuss the situation. Most of these folks will not respond unless you "smoke them out". Anyway, after much discussion (usually by phone)and the fact they would have to hire a legal attorney also, and the fact that they are responsible for the payment of my attorney, if I win in court, they see fit to at least pay partial if not all of the payment due to me. This has worked on all but one situation. What did these letters cost me? Let's just say I bartered a couple of parties for the law firm's Xmas party and one for the lawyer's nephew's birthday party. Well worth it to get what was due me in the first place. Good luck. This is a tough topic to deal with.

Snidini
Margarette
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Memphis area
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I've only encountered one bad check. The lady telephoned me to tell me, after she paid me, that she had to close her account because her purse got stolen. I told her just to send me a replacement check, and we'd be fine...that was over a year and a half ago. I tried calling her several times, but always got the answering machine. Finally, I went to the magic store, and told the owner of the store what had happened. It seems as though this lady called needing a magician, and he referred her to me. He felt bad about what happened, but I assured him it wasn't his fault. He said he'd make a note of it and he'd remember it if she ever called back. I ended up eating the cost of the show. But, because of this, when I get paid by check for a show, I will go to the bank it's drawn on and just cash it instead of depositing it into my account. Then, I deposit the cash into my account. It's a little bit more time consuming, but I think it's worth it.

Margarette
The only stupid question is the one not asked.
Allan
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I think that Steven Steele hit it on the head. It is against the law to issue a bad check, it's called fraud. If a stop payment was put on the check or you were never paid, then you would have to go to small claims court. But when it is just a bad check, a call to your states Attorney General is in order. They will give you the info needed to have them go after the writer of the bad check.

I myself have only had one bad check. The client actually called me & informed me it would bounce. He even paid me for my bank charge on the bad check.

I have however had some large corporations that did not pay. After a few months of trying to get paid, I sent them one last bill & informed them that I would pursue legal action if I was not paid within 10 days. Guess what? the checks arrived within the ten day period. Many companies wont pay util they receive the threat of legal action. I still do work for some of those companies, but I insist on payment in advance prior to the performance date. Guess what? I get it.
Kline
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Hey !
What was the amount of the show in the first place ?
My suggestion, for what it is worth,
Pay it forward !
Use it as a teaching / learning tool ...Lesson learned.
Have only had it happen once - any it was a situation where the family was not well off and they saw me at another event and the kids went nuts...Not too sure why but anyway - did the show - everything went well , had a great relationship with the father and mother that day - then Monday came around and the check went to the bank - a few days later....boing !
Try to contact the folks with no result - did send them a letter - thanksing them for the opportunity to perform for the childs b day party and that I was proud to be a part of his special day....Never another mention of the check.
Water under the bridge !
Have a great New Year !
Steven Kline
<BR><BR>www.stevenkline.com
<BR><BR>www.stevenklineproductions.com
Follow me on Twitter
@steveklinemagic
Steven Steele
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Chief of Staff
Hesperia, California USA
1904 Posts

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One thing that might help to prevent the "bounced check/cheque" problem and this will only apply to some of us. I make sure that my clients understand that I have a mortgage and college aged children and day to day expenses just as they do. You don't have to say much...just when the opportunity presents itself, I say something like "Magic has been very good, it paid for college and it has supported my family and me for many years."

Your client immediately knows that you are a full-time professional and that this is a business. Upon learning that, they will treat you differently.

Steven
magic4u02
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Eternal Order
Philadelphia, PA
15111 Posts

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Steven:
That certainly can work and is a subtle way to get the message across to them. I also think it is important to have a signed contract or at least a confirmation letter that clearly states the payment method as well as your policies regarding it. It is not a cure-all but it certainly does help.

Kyle
Kyle Peron

http://www.kylekellymagic.com

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Steve Hart
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Veteran user
Palm Bay, FL
382 Posts

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Try this idea.

Some banks will tell you how much money is in the account. If there is money in the account to make it worth your effort.......You could deposit enough of your own money and then use the check to withdraw the full amount.

You need to tell the bank what you are doing and get them to agree.

It's not illegal depositing money into someone else's account. Sounds crazy but try it.

I might also mention I would only take cash for birthday parties as others have mentioned. I suggest you do the same. Save yourself the headache.

Steve Hart
Cape Canaveral, FL USA
www.SteveHartSpeaks.com
www.magic2motivate.com
"Motivational Magicians are some of the highest paid magicians, find out why?"
WolfgangWollet
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Loyal user
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I think that just letting this pass would be a mistake. You have rendered the service and by issuing a check in the full amount the customer already agreed that your service was rendered. By not returning your calls or emails the other party clearly shows intend not to pay up. Go after them with everything you have and in my opinion the District Attorneys office is your best bet. Don’t let the criminal get away. There is no difference in bouncing a $50 check on you than stealing $50 from your wallet.

People like this add to the cost of doing business and they should be prosecuted in order to protect everybody who is honest!

And to Chrystal: it is a really heartwarming story but the lady should have approached you beforehand with her misery. By letting her get away with this she will only see that being a crook works...... What values will she teach the three children?
procyonrising
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New York
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Alright, something about me: I used to work for the Small Claims Advisory Service, a public charity based out of PBHA at Harvard University. If the amount isn't a lot (as most kids parties are), then small claims court is a fantastic option.

Basically, you start out by sending a 30-day demand notice. State what you did, what they owe, and that they have 30 days to comply. After 30 days, go to the local small claims court and file your papers (easy to fill out and should cost less than $30). They'll mail out a notice to the other party with a court date.

Just go and tell your story to the clerk. They're people, just like you and me... they'll understand.

If you're truly ****ed, this is a great way to stick it to someone, since it's so cheap, but causes so much pain.

I've only had to use it once to claim payment from a client, but oh what fun it was... There's nothing more satisfying than seeing a clerk berating someone for not paying you.
Paddy
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Inner circle
Milford OH
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Here in OH the small claims court goes before a judge. For my little $100 claim I asked for an additional $25 for the fee the bank charged me (for THEIR bad check I got charged!) plus the $15 court filing costs plus $500 in punitive damages. The last was sugessted by the clerk when I filed the small claim.

Procryonrising is right. There is nothing more satisfing than when a judge reams out a person for try to "screw a birthday party magician out of his rightful pay!" His Honor also told the person "I should allow Mr. Lansing the $500 as a punishment and if you are ever here again I will access punitive damages." He didn't in my case but I didn't want that, just what he owed me plus cost to collect and I was happy.

BTW That was the only time I have ever had a bad check and when I got to the house I should have suspected and asked for cash. My gut told me something was wrong when I arrived but just couldn't dissappoint a child.

Peter
Non Impediti Ratione Cogitationis

I reject your reality & substitute my own

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MrBrett
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Cash really is the best solution when dealing with individual employers (ie people with birthday parties, or small celebrations) Doing things online is difficult because they may decide not to even transfer funds but. When dealing with larger organizations (ie, large businesses, restaurants, etc) cheques should be acceptable. Credit card payment hardly ever, if not, never comes up. If it does, walk them over to the nearest computer and do it on PayPal. No PayPal account? Either warn them in advance or demand alternate payment. The poin is, never give up, if you charge $300 per show (or example) and you depend on that money, then you need to be persistent in getting it from hesitant patrons.
Decomposed
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Eternal Order
High Desert
11912 Posts

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Old thread but I have to vent. I just received notification of my first bounced check in over 10 years of performing. And this was a corporate gig and a corporate check from a financial advisor company!
I received notification today from my bank and with a service fee. What really gets me is the gig went great and before the bounced check, I had asked the person who hired me how it went, review etc and silence. When I notified her of the bounced gig immediately I got a response but no apology. Unreal! They are sending another check out in the mail but now I am wondering if after a month if she would post a bad review on line etc. I vented to my bank and the bank lady told me if they did, post a photo of the bad check on line. What a headache. I still am wondering how a check can bounce from a company who handles other peoples money. I have never had this happen and 99 percent of my jobs are corporate. I was told when cashing, ask the teller to put a 5 day hold on the checks in the future to ensure I do not get charged a service fee.
CurtWaltermire
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Curtis The Mentalist
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Decomposed, for what it's worth the way that I solved this problem about 4 years ago was to start demanding full payment up front and in advance. No more deposits and later payments. That's what books the gig. A lot of my business (new business especially) is directed through my website, and like everything else ordered online, it is paid for and then delivered. Some people don't like the feeling of not collecting some money the day of the show, but as long as I am selling gigs and filling up the calendar I'm cash-flowing my business and I've not regretted doing this for one minute. I have yet to have a corporate client that balks at doing this either. Funny enough, the ONE time a couple of years ago that I bent this rule for a client guess what? Their CHECK BOUNCED! They burned not only me but several other friends who worked this three day convention. This lady skipped town and none of us were ever paid. This has been my business model ever since and I don't see ever changing it.
Mindpro
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I agree, especially since he said most of his bookings are in the corporate market. Of course, you have to allow for them to get you entered and set up in their system with accounting, but I have worked on a full payment in advance for close to 20 years now.

Many prefer to only make one payment rather than two (a deposit and balance due). Many times even if you ask for a deposit with the balance due the week before the event, they will simply just issue one check in the full amount when paying the deposit.

I have found this to be the best for everyone especially in this day of companies merging, being purchased or taken over by a parent company, and so many other systems that can often be the cause for delayed payments.

By doing it this way, they know it is a must or they will not receive the services, so you then become a priority for them to be paid to assure them piece of mind that this is covered and all set.

Also, many will find creative ways to pay you in advance to avoid the delays in the standard check requisitioning process that otherwise must be incurred. This may mean paying you out of an expense account, to later be reimbursed internally, an operating account, or other.

I would also recommend that you be able to accept credit card payments as many with expense accounts will literally want to pay you right then and there over the phone, in advance, with their expense account credit card.
Dannydoyle
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Eternal Order
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I can't remember the last physical check I took from anyone.
Danny Doyle
<BR>Semper Occultus
<BR>In a time of universal deceit, telling the truth is a revolutionary act....George Orwell
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