One of the smartest decisions we have made in recent years is to NOT sue or bring legal action against anyone. Our wisdom increased quickly when we hired a “cheap” legal counsel to prod a customer to pay her bill. We learned the hard way that if you want to take a “cash bath” this is it.
On one account we had a $40K contract to handle a special project, it was an awesome profit job and not that hard to make it happen with 3 payment terms based on progress toward completion. Got 2 payments “on time” without a complaint about anything UNTIL the 3rd payment was due, then we got the big challenge.
House bride turned out to be a barracuda rather than a sweet young thing. She was “so sweet” and we did everything for her just as requested, expanded the contract to add more stuff which turned out to be a contribution rather than an income up-sell to the contract. No sign of a problem until the end.
Several other contractors were invited to review and arbitrate the contract in hopes of getting a quick settlement and complete on good terms and move on to better things. At least we tried without success and ended up having to take action to get our final payment.
Forcing a crook to pay you is usually a bad deal. At the end she owed $10,000 and had no intention of closing out according to our original fair and reasonable agreement. Living in a $500K house is nice but does not mean that you have an honest customer, as we found out.
Here’s the summary of our $33,600 loss. We got sued for $54,000 in a counter suit because….. the court system can do things you’d never suspect. Even if I told you the twists, turns and legalize stuff in this situation it would be hard to figure it out with understanding. Just know that with legal counsel it’s not always in your best interest. In reality, even when you are “right” and your legal counsel wins the case for you, you’re still a loser when you get stuck with a $20,000 legal fee.
Rather than try to explain, I wrote a Kindle ebook entitled: “War Stories of a Small Business Owner Who Survived” and their experience with a rich Homeowner and the IRS”. You can get a copy of the book on Amazon for $2.99 if you want to learn more. It’s really a fascinating story! Just do a search for “Don Monteith” on Amazon then my 4 Kindle ebooks will show up. Hope you enjoy but more important is our prayer that you’ll never experience bad karma with a customer, legal counsel or the IRS.