Stooping, or fair? (rant...)
Okay, so I'm not convinced that I have aptly titled this thread, nor that I have placed it entirely in the right forum.
I have recently posted in a thread in an off-topic issue regarding a boarder who stiffed us on our contractually required "30 Day Notice". This (if interested, it is in the thread about $ for stall cleaning in the "boarding forum"), after the woman acknowledged and indicated that her sealed envelope contained a check for the total amount owing, just before pulling out of our driveway with their horse.
I'm decidedly peeved (okay, so, way beyond peeved, but the words are not appropriate for a family friendly forum)... so, I know what I have written in response to this family's hostility may be over the top right now. Not sure if it will ever be NOT a complete slam of factual information to rebut their false claims and accusations. I hateHATEhate the thought of letting someone falsly accuse me (or my spouse) of something and NOT defending ourselves and pointing out FACTUAL (actually IN WRITING FACTS) details to rebut the accusations lobbed our way. Actually, I'm kind of scared of the repercussions of allowing a person to believe (and spread lies) the things that they have cowardly accused us of in a letter they gave us, telling me it was their payment in full.
So, my question...
Am I stooping to their level to write a letter demanding the people remit payment IN FULL for what they left still owing, on their contractually required 30 day notice? Okay... so the "stooping" portion of this would be the part where I rebut their lies. Or, should I just send a simple invoice, titled "demand for payment". Either way, it would be sent certified mail.
I have worked in the service industry for over 10 years, and feel that I have pretty decent communication skills, at the very least I'm up front. My "up front-ness" often comes off kind of b!^@% when people have wronged me intentionally, but... ugh. I'm at a loss as far as being "nice" is concerned.
I want to be professional, but I also want to lay down some verbal whoop-butt without actually doing anything other than saying "You have claimed 'X', when the fact of the situation is 'A'". I've been told I have the capacity to write letters that would make a grown man cry... Okay. So, I'm pretty sure I just answered my own question and writing a (even factually based) letter with the hopes the intended audience would feel like a schmuck is probably stooping. Being simple and straightforward and sending a simple demand for payment invoice is NOT stooping. My reason will win over, which is why I'm sitting on this letter.
Should I let the people believe they are right without even attempting to correct it? I mean... I guess I can't MAKE someone believe otherwise when they are clearly not capable of being reasonable, but should I try? We have a barn full of amazing boarders, and there is a mutual respect and appreciation for what each person has to offer among all of us. Why do these tools have to come in and screw things up in our peaceful little pony world?
Thoughts? Experiences? Maybe I just am looking for similar experiences and how other's have handled them?
Also... thank you to anyone for reading that. I'm just a big bundle of "frustrated" today :/
It sounds like regardless you are going to demand payment from them for the 30 days they owe (which is only right seeing as they had a contract with you and it sounds like they have been a problem before this in terms of payment.)
I have to agree with that- if you let one person get away with it the problem tends to spread.
What you really need to decide in terms of sending the letter or not is how productive you feel the letter will be. What are your goals in sending the letter? What are you looking to accomplish- and what will those accomplishments do for you in the long run?
It sounds like these people are making false claims. Generally it is said that one person who is unhappy will tell ten more people- who tell more people- and someone making false claims can damage your reputation which can impede your ability to gain new boarders.
On the other hand- if you are unconcerned about what these people are saying and feel that your history speaks for itself and that this "letter" is not worth the trouble it will bring you long term- don't send it.
You are angry now- wait until your temper has cooled and then decide. Emotions can cloud your judgement. It also wouldn't hurt to find someone you trust who knows the situation and ask their advice if you can trust them to be neutral.
My concern with "letting them believe they are right" is that the ones that are most wrong tend to be the most vocal- and thus the most damaging to reputations. That would concern me.
Off topic, and sorry I have no advice but...you use a lot of big vocabulary! Infact, so much that the post was hard to follow...hehe :-)
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Having dealt with "breach of contract" issues as a contractor, and depending on the cumulative total of monies owed, it may or may not be worth the hassle of going after them.
If the amount owed is less than $500, it may not be worthwhile.
If more, it generally is.
You'll likely end up in small claims court, which, if your ducks are all lined up, is usually a slam dunk. Just be absolutely sure to make notes of everything, along with times and dates, and anyone who was also present at the time for corroboration if needed.
The smalles amount i have gone after someone for was $86, largest was just over $15k.
Sometimes, it's not the money, it's the principle.
Some folks get the notion in their head that they can do whatever they want, because nobody ever had the stones to call them out on the carpet about it.
When i had my tree company, the WORST people i dealt with were from southern california.
So many tried to stiff me or get a discount after the fact, that if i saw a CA license plate in the driveway, my price jumped 25% to cover the hassles and headaches.
Not all socal folks were like that, but i never had an issue with folks from anywhere else like i did with those folks.
So, if the money or principle is worth the time and effort of going after them, go for it.
Step one is sending them an invoice, with certified copies of the originals on file, so you have done your due diligence and they can't come back and say they werent informed.
From there, they generally have 30 days to comply.
If no action has been taken on their part, you can usually file a claim in small claims court. Be sure to include all of your court costs in the filing, including wages for lost time devoted to the action.
They get served with the summons by an officer of the court, usually the sherriff, which usually gets things resolved in a hurry.
If it does go to court, bring a bunch of people with you. It's intimidating to them, as they usually only bring themselves and a thin file of paperwork.
OP, I haven't read your other thread, and although it's obvious you're angry and frustrated, you won't get anywhere by trying to play tit for tat.
If the amount they owe is significant, then take them to small claims court. You can get a judgement and have their wages garnished. If it's not significant, then send them an invoice outlining what they owe you, based on the boarding contract that they signed.
While bashing them verbally or in written form may make you feel vindicated, it's not something you want to do as a business person. Be professional and state things clearly, without rancor. That will go a long way when it comes to your reputation.
Some people deliberately look to screw over others, unfortunately. Good luck.
OP - as has been said, it comes down to risk/reward. Is the amount you would be seeking to recover worth the investment of time and effort to recover? Is the "victory on principal" alone worth it if the amount is not an issue?
Just my $.02 -
First, send a short, simple bill detailing monies still owed (with a DUE DATE! - as in payment must be remitted by xx-xx-xxxx
I do not expect that they will pay.
After xx-xx-xxxx comes and goes - take them to small claims court. If you have everything documented, it should be an easy win.
... thanks for all of the advice, guys. I've narrowed down my 'PAY US NOW!!!!!" rant to 2 pages (down from 5) that directly address the false claims she makes that are in regard to material terms of our boarding contract. Still thinking on it.
I'd like it to be one brief page, but at the same time, I feel that it needs to address the parts of her letter where this woman (and her family) accused us of not providing credit for work performed (when they actually kept their own records and paid us based on them, which was acceptable to us because, before this instance, our records mostly matched). Apparently she believes that her "feelings" equate to us violating our contractual agreement... you know, 'cuz she was upset over being fired.
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