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  • Bounced cheques – what are my rights?

     Mark Reed updated 15 years, 2 months ago 25 Members · 50 Posts
  • Anonymous

    Deleted User
    July 19, 2005 at 7:22 am

    Hi everyone, just had my first cheque bounce this morning, not very happy. Since im new to working for myself, what are my rights on this? Can i ask for the customer to pay my bank charges and can you put interest on it?

  • Paul Rollason

    Member
    July 19, 2005 at 7:52 am

    Hi David

    Unless it is for a large amount I wouldn’t get heavy or read to much into it.

    We all suffer cash flow hiccups from time to time.

    If you are that new to self employment you should have free banking anyway.

    We had a cheque bounce on us a few months ago and the customer was very embarrased about it even though we didn’t make a fuss about it

    They came round in a couple of days with cash.

    Even though we don’t have the benifit of free banking any longer, we did not get charged for the bounced cheque.

    Paul r

  • Anonymous

    Deleted User
    July 19, 2005 at 7:57 am

    Hi Paul, its for £1100. Not a great deal, but starting out its a great deal to me. Im not sure if its bounced or been cancelled. I got the cheque back and a letter saying it was unpaid. Its bothering me because he was really hard to please and i put alot of work into it, just to have this happen.

  • Paul Rollason

    Member
    July 19, 2005 at 8:00 am

    Hi David

    Have you spoken to the guy?

    paul r

  • Anonymous

    Deleted User
    July 19, 2005 at 8:07 am

    No not yet mate, its a chinese restaurant and he wont be there till 4pm, so ill go round then and see what he says.

  • Paul Rollason

    Member
    July 19, 2005 at 8:09 am

    I bet you wont have to pay for a take away for a while though

    paul r

  • Robert Lambie

    Member
    July 19, 2005 at 8:47 am

    go round and sit outside his place and waite for him to open.
    take the cheque etc with you. when he arrives and your sitting there he will know no matter what he does your going to be biting his ankles till you get paid. his cash flow problem is “his” problem, not yours.
    as you said, he was a pain do business with, so why be anything else now you want paid?
    as paul says, we all get cash flow problems at some point. so just be firm, but polite. dont give him another week though… ask to be paid now and include the bank charges on it.

    may sound a little extreme, but say you bought a huge carry out meal, and while walking out the door you shout. “cheques in the post mate” ? how far do you recon you would get 😉

  • Stephen Morriss

    Member
    July 19, 2005 at 8:55 am

    £1100 is a lot of money in anyones pocket! As Rob said be polite but firm.

    Steve

  • Marcella Ross

    Member
    July 19, 2005 at 9:28 am

    tell him you’ve got Triad links….! 😉 😀

  • John Childs

    Member
    July 19, 2005 at 10:11 am

    I think that you are right to be a little concerned.

    I am not the best organised person in the world and am sometimes guilty of writing out cheques for more than is in a particular account myself, usually because I forget to transfer the money over from another account. However, my bank knows that I am creditworthy and never bounce it. They pay the cheque then send me a nice letter saying as how they have charged me £25 for the priviliege and that they will charge another £25 on each day that a debit goes out until I am back in credit. That’s how they make their money.

    If your customers bank aren’t doing this for him then I suspect that they may have their doubts.

    I don’t want to sound pompous, and certainly not racially prejudiced, but experience has taught me that your type of customer and his type of business are the most fraught with danger as far as payment goes and that although I do not usually ask for payment in advance I would most certainly have done so in this case and walked away if they weren’t prepared to give it.

    Sit on the doorstep.

  • Shane Drew

    Member
    July 19, 2005 at 10:22 am

    There is some good advice here.

    Yes I have been embarrassed myself with cheques bouncing every now and then, usually due to a misunderstanding, but having said that, and at the risk of affending some here, I don’t do business in the restaurant trade without getting a large deposit at least.

    It is the nature of the restaurant game, a bad week and they all struggle for cash flow. His intentions may have been good tho.

    One last thing, the asian customer is usually the most demanding and critical. It is how they do business with each other. It is nothing you have done. I have a large asian client base. They are all the same, once you have had business dealings with them for a while. you will understand their foybles better.

    Always quote and expect to be beaten down. They always like to think they have got a better deal. Always build this in to your price.

    A little off track I know, but give him the benefit of the doubt whilst you wait on his door step. A lot will depend on his reaction when you call.

    Bear in mind, asians don’t like to be embarrased, especially if he is genuine, so if you corner him and be rude, he will likely get his back up and make it more of a drama.

    I speak from years of business dealings with the asian community. Another thing too, if you get their confidence, they can be the most loyal customer you will have.

    Hope it works out for you.

    Cheers
    Shane

  • John Childs

    Member
    July 19, 2005 at 10:28 am

    Shane is right and I wasn’t advocating that you sit on his doorstep with a big stick.

    Give him a chance to explain himself and the opportunity to make matters right before considering what further action to take.

  • David Rowland

    Member
    July 19, 2005 at 11:40 am

    we have been known to take the outside sign down when we failed to get a payment. Shop looking empty doesn’t attract many customers

  • Anonymous

    Deleted User
    July 19, 2005 at 12:32 pm

    Good advice everyone. I could take the sign down and if he complains, charge him for putting it back up haha. Seriously tho, I was warned about this guy b4 hand, but he said all along he would pay me on completion, which he did, or didnt as the case would be now. I think ill give him the benefit of the doubt but as robert said im not going to wait any longer. I knew the lady in the bank when I went in this morning and she looked at his account and told me to get cash off him and not to accept another cheque. So think ill go around when he opens and as for the cash, including bank charges.

  • Shane Drew

    Member
    July 19, 2005 at 12:41 pm

    Don’t even hint to him that the bank made that comment mate, or he’ll have them on the privacy legislation. Banks here are not permitted to make such comments. My wife, an ex bank employee, would have been sacked if she was found to have made such a comment to a client.

    Frankly mate, if I had been given prior warning like you say, I would have insisted on cash anyway. In fact, I probably would have walked from the deal if he’d objected to a sizeable deposit first.

    You’ll learn by the experience anyway.

    Cheers

  • Simon Clayton

    Member
    July 19, 2005 at 1:09 pm

    Since when has a Chinese takeaway have a bad day, he’s trying it on mate, these places take two or three grand a day..

    Call him, tell him the cheque has not been honored/ not cleared, you give him one week to pay in full plus you bank charges, or you will remove the sign and charge him again to reinstall it, if payment don’t come, go to the shop at his busiest time and start to remove the sign.. There is nothing he can do, its your sign, and this is the only way you will get your money. I have had to do this in the past, a few times they nearly always pay, there is another thread on here about the very same situation

    Simon

  • Paul Cox

    Member
    July 19, 2005 at 4:11 pm

    £1100, not alot?

    It doesnt matter if its £11, its a pissssssssssss-take.

    If they are genuine, they’ll apologise and offer to pay charges. If not, go round there and bounce them, escort them to the bank and demand CASH.

    I dont know who people think they are sometimes.

  • Mike Rogers

    Member
    July 19, 2005 at 5:35 pm

    Hi

    I am sure it is the case as well that with cheques even if they clear first time round they can be bounced later upto 2-3 weeks later by their bank.

    Mike

  • Carrie Brown

    Member
    July 19, 2005 at 6:13 pm

    Ooooh how annoying …… yes it could just be an error …. but probably not. We would probably give him a week at most to get the cash to us, threaten to remove the sign if no payment …. but to be honest we have never gone down this route …. sometimes I worry in case we remove the sign, then they get someone else in to do the job and we are left with a sign thats no good to us or anyone else?? So we usually go down the court action route instead.

    We work by proforma payment …. payment with order ….. perhaps this would be a good way for you too ….. even if you only got a deposit, it would be better than nothing. If you do get a pain in the rear non payer at least you will not be hit for all the material costs on top of losing profit.

    Hope you get it sorted.

    😀

  • John Harding

    Member
    July 19, 2005 at 7:16 pm

    Carrie

    There nothing to stop you removing the sign and taking him to court as well 😀

    John

  • Phill Fenton

    Member
    July 19, 2005 at 7:35 pm

    I once removed a sign because it hadn’t been paid for. Trouble was – my client wasn’t the end user but had asked me to supply and fit the sign for one of his biggest customers. I billed him – and he billed his customer (plus his mark-up). He got paid. I didn’t

    I removed the sign one evening and posted a note through the letter box explaining who I was and why the sign had been removed. First thing next morning I recieved a call from the end user asking me to re-fit the sign. They had already paid their client but agreed to pay me my bill and take it up with him if I would re-fit the sign.

    A satisfactory solution all round. I got paid. The end user got their sign at a lower price than they had originally paid – and the clown in the middle who thought he was being clever pulling a fast one lost one of his biggest customers and his reputation.

    I hope you get your money David. If I were you I would threaten to remove the sign and make it clear that that would not be the end of the matter – you will still press for payment in full even after the signs removal. Usually the certain knowledge that the sign is coming down convinces the non payer that you are not a push over and they pay up. 😀

  • Lynn Normington

    Member
    July 19, 2005 at 9:57 pm

    so David what did happen you were going to wait for him at 4 when he opened??

    Lynn

  • Carrie Brown

    Member
    July 19, 2005 at 10:03 pm
    quote John Harding:

    Carrie

    There nothing to stop you removing the sign and taking him to court as well 😀

    John

    I didnt realise that …… I thought because they no longer had your property you wouldnt be able to really do much?

    😀

  • David Rowland

    Member
    July 19, 2005 at 10:40 pm

    If they offer to pay half!
    Go to the site, and remove half the letters!

    “Something Chin*** *********”

    Doesn’t look right

  • Anonymous

    Deleted User
    July 20, 2005 at 7:26 am

    hello everyone,

    went and seen him at 4.30 yesterday. He says that he cant understand why it didnt clear, there is money in his bank ( i started playin the violin at this stage), so he says that if i come back at 4 today he will pay me cash, plus bank charges. If he doesnt pay today, i think ill be a bit firmer and threaten to take itdown. Its just annoying because it was so hard working with him, he was bargaining and there was a language barrier so trying to deal with him was difficult and then this happens and i go round and he conveniently speaks even less english than he did when he was buying the sign. Tho i reckon if i owed him money, his english would probably be better than mine.

  • David-Foster-

    Member
    July 20, 2005 at 8:41 am
    quote :

    I once removed a sign because it hadn’t been paid for. Trouble was – my client wasn’t the end user but had asked me to supply and fit the sign for one of his biggest customers. I billed him – and he billed his customer (plus his mark-up). He got paid. I didn’t

    You were very lucky. You were a sub-contractor, as it were, with a main man in the middle. Contractually your gripe was with the main man who employed you and didn’t pay. The recipient of the sign was within his rights to prosecute you for trespass and theft.

    Good result in the end tho’ 😀

  • Simon Clayton

    Member
    July 20, 2005 at 9:11 am

    That’s not correct Fozzie, if you haven’t been paid for your sign it remains your property, and you are within your rights to remove it, weather the end user has paid someone else for the sign or not.
    They can only do you for trespass if you are on their land, and you are caught.. Say climbing over a fence into a yard to remove the sign, but from the pavement its fine.. I checked all of this out, with CAB and the police, who said it was a civil matter and wouldn’t get involved unless there were trouble/violence

    If someone buys a car on finance, and it then gets sold on twenty times, if that person hasn’t paid for the original fiance, it still belongs to the fiance company.

    Simon

  • David-Foster-

    Member
    July 20, 2005 at 9:23 am

    Well in contract law (building contract) I was running a contract for refurbishing a building. The main contractor had subbed out the kitchen fitting. The main contractor went bust and the kitchen guy didn’t get paid. He came to site to take his kitchen units back. Although feeling sorry for him in his position, he had no right to take them back. The police had to be called and he had to join the queue of creditors.
    The same would be true if he just hadn’t been paid by the main contractor.
    Nothing to do with the client.

  • John Childs

    Member
    July 20, 2005 at 10:19 am

    I don’t know the law, but I tend to side with Simon.

    If your paperwork states that the goods remain your property until paid for in full then that’s it. They’re still yours and nobody further down the supply chain has any right to vary that. On the other hand, if your quote and invoice don’t have that clause you will have trouble, and maybe that was the kitchen fitters problem.

    In practice I would take it down and argue about it later.

  • Simon Clayton

    Member
    July 20, 2005 at 10:29 am

    On my paper work as most other companies, it states all good remain the sole property of me until full and final payment is received, so any good i supply to whoever remain mine, weather they have been paid for by a third party
    If he supplied and fitted the units, he had every right to remove his goods, (as long as it doesn’t damage anyone else work etc) they have not been paid for and remain his property, as long as he can prove that to be the case, but if he had only fitted them he has no right to remove them.
    because the kitchen was in a building and he had been denied access to remove them, he’s would have to go through the courts to gain access, which would cost an absolute fortune. If he had got there and managed to get the kitchen out, and in his van the police wouldn’t do anything, the only reason they did was because he was inside someones property.
    The client would then have to chase the main contractor to get the work reinstalled, or join the list of contractors trying to get there money back..

    I have removed signs a couple of times from large Asian restaurants, (who are very well clued up on the law) and if it were illegal for me to do so, i can guarantee they would have taken me to court and sued me for loss of business etc etc, but they know it belongs to me until paid..

    It may have had something to do with the bankruptcy proceeding, as i’m not sure how that works, as they say possession is 9 tenths the law, and its hard to get access to a property with out great expense, so its cheaper to wait to see if you get anything back through the insolvency agent, or spend thousands on court costs for a couple of grand kitchen??

    Simon

  • David-Foster-

    Member
    July 20, 2005 at 10:32 am

    Sorry cross posted before I saw your reply Simon

    Never mind, hope it doesn’t happen to any of us 😀 ….. sorry for going off topic.

    David

  • Shane Drew

    Member
    July 20, 2005 at 10:46 am

    Simon, I have been down this path too with the legal eagles here. Davids interpretation is the same explained to me by my lawyer.

    He also tells me that the clauses at the end of your invoice (which I also have) is not an iron clad guarrantee in a court of law. If, for instance, you don’t have the signature of the client ‘acknowledging that they have read, understand, and agree to the terms on the invoice’, it can be faught in a court, and there is a good chance you would lose.

    A good legal eagle can still win a case of theft against you if you take back the sign. Possesion still carrys weight in court, no matter what the invoice says.

    End of the day, you got the result you wanted, which is the most important thing in the end.

    Cheers

  • Simon Clayton

    Member
    July 20, 2005 at 12:35 pm

    Dsi, I’m not sure if our laws differ, but until the good are paid for its not yours, that’s the simple case, as i said about the car on fiance, its still their car until paid for in full, weather its changed hands 20 times, they can still come and take it away and then pursue that person through the courts to get all the money they owe, if the car’s not the same or more value, they have large legal departments to fight it out.

    I have lost money by not taking people to court, because i felt it weren’t worth the time and trouble, (was very busy at the time, and the money i lost was not that much compared to the money i would have lost chasing payment and not doing the work in hand).

    The only reason people don’t retreive their goods is it would be hard to find or too costly to go through the courts, to gain access etc..

    The example of the kitchen fitter is a bit different because his work is in a building, and most signs are outside, he would have to be invited in to remove his kitchen, so when he turned up to remove the kitchen, the police were call because he was trespassing,

    So if you did take back your signs and were taken to court, (if you have proof you haven’t been paid or they can’t prove they have paid you) then its going to be hard work convicting you of theft..
    The contractor has stolen the signs from you, and defrauded his client, so in effect they have stolen the signs from you, fenced them on to their client who can be done for receiving stolen goods…

    And if you can’t remove the sign, walk up and down outside his shop with a protest banner tell all what a crook the guy is, every night until he pays you… 🙄 or better still, get payment up front or on delivery

    Simon

  • Graham Parsons

    Member
    July 20, 2005 at 10:23 pm

    Greetings from sunny Saskatchewan!

    Gotta tell you this story after reading the thread. A few years back whilst I was still in the UK, we did a couple of quick signs for a building firm. I told them at the time of ordering we’d need a cheque on collection, which we duly got. However, you guessed it, the cheque bounced. After re-presenting it once and having it come back again, I called the customer – “we’ll get it sorted out” – nothing, of course, so I went to see the customer. First time, no one available to see me – second time told it was drawn on the wrong account (their fault) and they’d give me cash “tomorrow”. I then told them if the cash wasn’t forthcoming, I might have to go to the small claims court. I was then told in no uncertain terms to f-off and was thrown off the property.

    This as you can imagine displeased me 😉 so I took the actual cheque, now with it’s “refer to drawer” stamp across it, to the local copyshop and had it enlarged to a three foot wide photocopy, which I then stuck in our shop window for all to see – especially their competitors!

    And the bonus is.. we put the original cheque back through the bank on a whim some months later when they’d forgotten about it, and blow me if it didn’t clear!
    Immediately took the photocopy down of course, but they were not happy with us at all! Lots of cursing and whatever, but what the heck, we got what was due (and so did they!)

  • Lee Harris

    Member
    July 20, 2005 at 10:37 pm

    I like your style, gvp……… :lol1:

  • Graham Parsons

    Member
    July 20, 2005 at 10:48 pm

    Thank you, Lee.

    What ticked me off with the whole deal was not that they owed the money – heck, we all have difficulties now and then, but the beligerent way they handled it – as if I was at fault for asking for my money! If they’d been straight with me and civilized, we could have worked something out.

    And we’ve also done the “protest” outside a store with a placard. There is a risk of the police getting involved, but take it from me, this approach gets results real quick… 😀

  • Anonymous

    Deleted User
    July 21, 2005 at 7:14 am

    Hi everyone, got my money last night, he wasnt there at 4pm, like he said he would be, so i waited till 9 when he was busy and he presented me with nice new notes, so all ended well. Just another lesson learnt.

    Thanks again for all your advice and views.

  • Paul Rollason

    Member
    July 21, 2005 at 7:39 am

    Fantastic news David

    Well done

    paul r

  • Simon Clayton

    Member
    July 21, 2005 at 10:50 am

    That’s a good one Gvp, i will have to remember that cheque one.. lol

    Good to hear David, i would like to have seen his face?

    Simon

  • John Harding

    Member
    July 21, 2005 at 12:15 pm

    Good news David well done 😀 – use this experience to learn from and as others have said consider full or part payment up front on pro forma

    John

  • Graham Parsons

    Member
    July 21, 2005 at 2:56 pm

    Yes, great news! Chalk it up to experience.

    As the saying goes – “don’t let go of both ends of the rope”

  • David Rowland

    Member
    July 21, 2005 at 3:08 pm

    new notes hey, does the ink come off?

  • Steve Coyle

    Member
    July 22, 2005 at 7:10 am

    There’s no substitute for experience. Our policy with Chinese, Italian & Indian restaraunt owners is 50% of the job on receipt of an order, and the balance of payment when I fit the signs, and if the owner isn’t there to pay me when I fit them, I take ’em right back down again. NO EXCEPTIONS!!!!!!

  • mikey-boy

    Member
    July 22, 2005 at 7:47 pm

    Oooh, it’s all come flooding back !!!

    It may be a sweeping comment to make BUT the majority of take-away owners are just born awkward and come with endless problems when it comes to payment … YOU MUST BE FIRM !!!

    Not a biggot by any degree ( used to live in Singapore for 3 years ), but it is their culture to barter and haggle prices when it comes to payment; they expect it and i now don’t even lift a finger until we get 50% on approval of visuals … with balance paid to fitters when job done. If you get a good guy ( and YES there are a few out there ) they won’t kick up a fuss to pay a deposit after seeing what you have visualised for them.

    Sorry to hear you’ve been ‘winded’ but don’t back down with this matter … a good way is to go in during his busiest time and talk loudly about the matter infront of his customers 🙂 … me being a bit ‘ full on ‘ when it comes to getting my leg lifted did this PLUS even recruited a couple of friends when i visited who i decked out in t-shirts with a big bold backprint that read … Bad Debtors Sign Removal … the money was quickly found after our ladders were taken from the van and propped up against his shop front 😉

    Oh well, enough of my sadistic rambling … GO GET HIM !!!

    Best wishes –

    Glenn

  • Simon Kay

    Member
    July 22, 2005 at 8:36 pm

    Brilliant idea, ‘Bad Debtors Sign Removal ‘ T-shirts.
    Pure magic.
    Well done.
    😀

  • Shane Drew

    Member
    July 23, 2005 at 10:32 am

    I have a mechanic friend that has a dishonour wall. Every cheque that has bounced is enlarged and pasted at the entrance to his shop, with a big notice saying “this is why we no longer take cheques”.

    No one ever asks him to take their cheques now, but everyone reads the names on the cheques as they leave, to see who they are.

    Shane

  • Paul Franklin

    Member
    July 26, 2005 at 7:42 pm

    One of the local firms we sub printing out to couldn’t get a Chinese Restaurant to settle their invoice after about 5 months, so they took a party consisting of friends a most of their staff out for a meal and a drinks. They made sure the bill came out at about the price as the invoice. When it came to paying for the meal they told them that they’ll take the meal and drinks as payment for all the printing they had done for them.
    Not the best solution, especially if you’re chasing £1100.
    Got a few very late payers myself at the moment giving me the run around every time I phone them. The recorded letters have now been sent to the directors and if that doesn’t get payment it’ll be see you in the small claims court.

  • Dennis Van Der Lingen

    Member
    July 26, 2005 at 8:38 pm

    i’ve also had some bad payers.

    the worst one has just given me his last payement.

    for the last 6 months !!!!SIX!!!!! i had to come to the restaurant and get 30 or 40 euros witch he had left aside.

    every week i had to return to get a bit of the invoice number.

    last week he gave me the last agenizing 15 euro.

    unbelievable: 25 times going over there and getting send away with (all he could spare) and the placed is packed every single freakin’ day 👿

    so for the moment i’m :funky: away of joy

  • John Wilson

    Member
    August 10, 2005 at 8:54 pm

    Not good (:)

    Are you any further with this yet David?

  • Mark Reed

    Member
    August 11, 2005 at 12:47 am

    David if I was you I would check the notes, I know what some of these people are capable of. Mark

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