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Collection question

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Jeff Horton

Senior Member
Joined
Jan 15, 2002
Professional Status
Certified Residential Appraiser
State
Alabama
Anyone reading anything of mine on collections knows I love Small Claims court. But I have one that is little different and want some input on my next step. Here is the scenario.

This was a COD and simply forgot to collect the check. High dollar home and the loan officer had made the comment these folks had an 800 credit score so I didn't worry. (1st mistake)

I sent them letter in the mail explaining I forgot to collect. I went ahead and completed the appraisal and emailed it (mistake #2)

I "under appraised" it and know it all homeowner/realtor hit the roof. So I sent a letter and invoice by certified mail. After 2 weeks I got it back where apparently she has refused to accept it. I cant read the stamp on the letter so I need to go back to PO and ask about this.

Her payment is now 30 days out. My policy is to turn them over to small claims after 60 days. That varies of course depending on the client. Since she refused this letter she can say she never received an invoice. I can send another one first class but there is no confirmation she received it. I thought about Priority Mail with delivery conformation since you don't have to sign for that. Although it just confirms it was placed in the mailbox and I am not sure it would hold up in court without a signature of receipt.

I’m thinking of sending the invoice and letter in a box so that it looks like a package or even sending it UPS in a box so that she won’t recognize it. Maybe send a first class letter and then sending the package signature required. Might catch her with her guard down. Use a false return address and require a signature. Yea I can be sneaky if I have too. :twisted:

While there is no doubt she owes me the money I think that a signature that she received the letter and invoice would just be insurance in court. Plus I can charge the cost as collections fees. :twisted:

Anyone have any other good ideas? I am going to collect on this one for sure. She ticked off the wrong person!

will never make that mistake again. Starting January 1, 2003 COD’s don’t leave my office till the check has cleared and the bank!
 

xmrdfghap

Senior Member
Joined
Jan 15, 2002
Professional Status
General Public
State
Florida
I assume you have all the documentation from the postal service regarding the certified letter. That proves constructive notice. The next notice (of the small calims filing) will be served by the sheriff and will get her (and her attorney's) attention.

If she states, on the stand, that she never got the invoice, you can ask if she still lives in the home. When she admits that she does, you can ask her why she did not accept the certified mail. That she is dodging you will be apparent.

Actually her attorney is going to tell her to pay the bill plus service fees.....it will be cheaper than paying him.
 

Rob Bodkin

Junior Member
Joined
Nov 9, 2002
Professional Status
Certified Residential Appraiser
State
Washington
Jeff,

It would seem to me that collecting at the door, while usually a good deal, is as much a convienience to my client as it is too me. I think that the borrower is in no way responsible for your business arraingment with your client. I think a court would agree.

Whomever engages us is on the hook for the fee and you and the loan rep need to work out an arraingment. If the loan rep says "our deal is you collect at the door", then you will probably need to come together and create a solution like a discount or whatever.

I would also imagine that the lender/client would prefer to work something out with you, as the fall out from your collection activity could for sure alienate the client from the borrower.

And like I said, I think in the end a court would not be on your side.

Good Luck.

Rob Bodkin
Freestone Partners
 

Cookie

Junior Member
Joined
Jan 15, 2002
Professional Status
Licensed Appraiser
State
Indiana
Jeff, Why don't you have it delivered like the court system has subpeonas delivered? In our neck of the woods, I believe the local Sheriffs' department does this. I don't think it requires a signiture either, just that the delivery person asks the person their name, etc. for identification purposes. Just an idea!
Pat Cook
 

jtrotta

Senior Member
Joined
Jan 16, 2002
Jeff

will side with Goodpasture on this one; blatent "attempt to defraud" you of your Fee, seems very similar to giving you a "bad" check. Most of those clowns know before they give ya a check it's no good, it's why I now have them make it directly to me and not the company, just in case I want to attach their paycheck (an enlightening moment in every crooks heart) and they are after all "crooks" -

8)
 

Farm Gal

Elite Member
Joined
Jan 14, 2002
Professional Status
Licensed Appraiser
State
Nebraska
jtrotta:

Do you then deposit cash into your biz account?

What do you keep in your files to stave off accusations of cashing the check and not claiming the $$ on your biz?

I had a through screening/audit last year but the state UI folks who found... exactly nothing wrong with my books ... They were looking real real closely at every deposit and particularly for cash payments...

They were ASKING about looking at personal accounts for $$deposits in the same $$ as my biz deposits I told them to TRUST me... Since they found nothing to snoot at in the biz account they left me alone on the other. Police demands can get rediculous...

Like I should be so lucky as to get paid in folding money :roll:
 

xmrdfghap

Senior Member
Joined
Jan 15, 2002
Professional Status
General Public
State
Florida
Like I should be so lucky as to get paid in folding money :roll:

If the check is made out in your name, why not take it to their bank and cash it? They need the appraisal within a couple of days, why should you wait 10+ for your money? Besides which, if you cash it on the way from the inspection, they can't stop payment on it.
 

Tim The Enchanter

Elite Member
Joined
Jan 24, 2002
Professional Status
Certified Residential Appraiser
State
California
What does the loan rep have to say? Rob may be correct about who's responsible. Whichever is responsible, if they won't pay, try the tactics of
"fear, guilt, and shame" on them. :) I used to work in commercial collections many moons ago, and my manager told me that. :wink:

If that doesn't fly, you can still sue.
 

Farm Gal

Elite Member
Joined
Jan 14, 2002
Professional Status
Licensed Appraiser
State
Nebraska
Greg:

After the grilling I went through I am not sure I would want to 'co-mingle' 20 cents! My biz structure is corporate (sub-S). I was once told that appraisers were considered among the 'top ten' biz entities shoving cash under the table :? . I don't get but maybe two cash pays a year? dunno who is getting all the green, it aint me!

After the way I was treated I am quite willing to believe that, as threatened, the auditors were going to demand my personal accounts next! After going through nearly every biz check incoming and outgoing I really don't want them running through my personal accounts also! Not that I have anything to hide: I just want to avoid the aggravation :(
 

Ross (CO)

Senior Member
Joined
Jan 17, 2002
Professional Status
Certified Residential Appraiser
State
Colorado
Cookie, et al, ........I am in the midst of my first small claims pursuit and my filing for that 3 weeks ago today. This is two counties away, about 50 miles from me, but in metro-Denver area and I get up there on occasion. Last Friday I was nearby and stopped at sheriff's dept. They had made 2 attempts to serve and no success. This delinquent broker must be served by March 12th (15 days before scheduled hearing) so I still have all of February and then some. Get this, I was asked at sheriff dept. if I had a picture of this person.....since it was evident that he just might come to front door and deny that he IS the one (named). I have even met this broker, at that front door, when I tracked him down. I could even describe him quite well....and since there is specific ethnic difference between him and I, I could help the officer narrow down the pursuit. The clerk at dept. did not care for making notes of what I could describe ! Geeeesh ! The sheriff can NOT ask the person answering the door (private residence) to identify themselves ! ! , as in "show me some I.D., please". I posed the obvious reply at that moment.....by saying, can't you use your authority to access the state's DMV records for the picture from his driver's license records ? The reply was, "No, we can not".....and somewhat of a lame way for squeezing by the logic of that effort....like, how would you like it if people requested same for your picture i.d. ? (Well, I'm not being sought for small claims actions ! ) Getting someone "served" is not always the slam-dunk many think......especially when the individual is living (and office) in a house he does not own ! If the sheriff is eventually successful, great, and I get the reply paper mailed to me. If they get dead-ends after several attempts I just may get the no-service reply, and at least I get $22 of my $31 service fee returned (which is actually quite nice for them to do). It then means I go to private services for this function...and these are the guys who have other means of "finding" people and tactics for shoving papers into someone's coat or pocket or hand. Yes, that will cost more....and I've not researched that yet. Anybody have experience with the costs of private service of court summons ?
 
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