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Discussion Starter · #1 · (Edited)
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?
 

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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.
 

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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.
 

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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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Seriously, that's your 'contribution' to this thread? Yew use a lotta big werds n I caint unnerstand yer post, hyuck!

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.
 

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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 :)
Posted via Mobile Device
I actually rather enjoyed reading the post. Reading the typical text type, slang filled stuff on the internet can get tiresome, I found this to be rather refreshing.

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?
 

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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.

Good luck!
 

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Discussion Starter · #10 ·
... 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.

Still thinking...
 

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Discussion Starter · #12 · (Edited)
Update! I sent out a concise letter that basically stated that their signature and initial on our boarding contract indicated a clear intent to be bound by it's terms. Additionally, the boarder themselves provided written (and verbal) acknowledgment that they understood they were responsible for providing and paying this 30 day notice as required in provision X.X. of our boarding contract, which states: blahblahblahblahblah.

The boarder verbally acknowledged that they owed the amount provided in the invoice which they were presented. They further indicated that this amount was being paid by check when they handed me an envelope. As I was opening said envelope, this individual got in their truck and drove away with their horse. They had blatantly misrepresented the contents of the envelope by indicating they had provided payment in full (when reminded that they had to pay the full amount of $235.00 prior to removing their horse and related equipment stored at our farm from the premises). Told them the amount they "made up" was incorrect, and demanded payment in the amount of "$$" immediately. Their own letter and hard to follow "30 Day Notice" calculation (in which they credited themselves for work which they did not perform) serve as evidence that they were aware of their contractual obligation, although they clearly had the intent to stiff us (of which they provided evidence their own letter).

"Failure to remit payment by X date will result in late fees. Failure to remit payment by Y date will result in this situation being presented in small claims court..."

Our history DOES speak for itself, as all of our boarders would gladly tell anyone who cares, so I wrote out my frustrations (for myself), then wrote the actual "this is our board contract... it says... pay now" - Signed, sealed, delivered via certified mail, return receipt requested, per the requirements of our boarding contract. We'll see. :/ They aren't worth the time, really... but it is all about principle. Like someone in this forum already (sorry, can't remember who as I'm writing this) indicated, by allowing these people to get away with blatantly disregarding our boarding contract, that could send the wrong message to our other boarders, etc... Feelings aside, it was a contractual obligation and having hurt feelings does not discredit any portion of the amount owing per the boarding contract. We went above and beyond in fulfilling our contractual obligation to these individuals. I'm just absolutely appalled that they believe that it is okay to behave the way they have simply because things weren't going "their way" anymore.

I just want to say - "GUESS WHAT PEOPLE? It is NOT BURGER KING!!!!! That is WHY we have a boarding contract that clearly states what board does provide, and includes our expectations of boarders, etc. We provide services the way we see fit and to the highest quality standards. We are in business to take exceptional care of horses [which is why these people brought us their horse: she was emaciated and in poor health, which we quickly remedied]. People who appreciate what we do are welcome to be here, people who do not like what we do are welcome to not come or to leave. That simple." Ugh.
 

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Ok. Am I understanding you fired them? And then expect them to stay another 30 days? If they were working off board and you fired them I would expect them to leave and not be concerned about the contract. You didn't give them 30 days to get another job did you? You need to move on and get over it if I understand it correctly.
 

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Discussion Starter · #14 · (Edited)
Churumbeque:

They were "fired" (although we didn't do it quite like the Don, and were as a nice as could be when you are dismissing someone from being given opportunities to work for credit). We didn't whine at them about their shoddy work performance, ANNNNND they were dismissed in a manner that gave them over 40 days notice that the board for the month of April would be the full amount due without any earned credit towards it. During the time in between (our notice that they could no longer work for credit and the date that they would owe full board) the board for the month of March would be due, but would be due with credit for work performed deducted from it, and if they decided to leave would additionally be pro-rated to reflect the "notice" that was required of them).

This was a completely separate arrangement than their actual "Boarding Agreement", and per the laws of our state, there is no requirement to provide notice to them that they were "fired", although we gave them plenty of notice for the simple reason that we respected them as ALSO being our clients. As any reasonable person would do, we provided the same "notice" which we expected (and that was contractually obligated by them in our boarding contract) in return. We fulfilled all of the obligations required by our boarding contract, which again, was separate from offering these individuals the opportunity to work for credit. We went above and beyond in accommodating these individuals.

Anyhow... lesson learned, we will no longer offer "work for credit" opportunities for any boarders, as they all inevitably try to take advantage of us and insist on doing what they want, when they want, and then want to get crappy when we inform them that they are not performing the job to our standards. We will only tell someone "Hey, we need you to do it this way..." and demonstrate SOOOO many times (with the people standing with arms folded and sneer on their face) before we just say "Sorry, we can no longer offer you this opportunity to work for credit..."

With the people in this situation, we even offered alternate opportunities for them to work for credit when we got sick of telling them how to clean the stalls properly... they performed their new jobs in a mediocre fashion, at best, and demonstrated a clear disdain for the fact that we EXPECTED THEM TO ACTUALLY WORK (in manner that met our demonstrated criteria and our business demands) for the CREDIT WHICH THEY WERE RECEIVING. They were never led to believe that they would receive credit when they did not work. Their own schedules were preventing them from providing the work we asked of them when it was necessary, which, in any "job" (whether working for cash or working for credit) is a pretty basic material condition to retaining the status of "employed". [P.S. although I used caps, it was merely for emphasis, not to indicate yelling, haha]
 

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Discussion Starter · #16 ·
Yeah :/ It sucks, nonetheless. Anytime we discussed a "new" job, we asked what the people thought a "fair value" would be, and they were always on the same page we were (or at least indicated they were). Ah well... I feel better after getting my ranting out and then still be able to come up with a "professional" and to the point letter. Thanks for reading all this garbage :/
 

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I think that a short invoice for outstanding balance is good. In a short note, I think you could rebutt the false claims in a logical, succinct manner. Take most of the adjective out, and be very clinical about what you have to say, to refute her claims. I believe you have the right to express yourself, as she did. Tell her if she would like to meet in person, that would be fine. And keep your logical, calm demeanor if you do meet up. Someone who throws false testimony will probably not meet you, though. I think it would do you good to answer her claims, though. I feel as if you will feel better, if you do write to her. Good luck. Stay calm and strong.
Nine
 

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A contract is a contract. That person is responsible for what they owe you. I agree that you should send them a bill and if no response, take them to small claims. Sorry you got duped and I hope things work out.
 

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... 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.

Still thinking...
Yeah, well THAT adds quite a bit to the situation at hand, doesn't it?
You canned someone who was working at your stable to pay the boarding in full or in part.
You now have a very different set of rules to play by!
If this person was in fact an "on the books" employee, IE any compensation was documented, and it sounds like it was (though no dispute of fair compensation if i read it correctly), labor laws may come into play.
Is your state a "right to work" state, or did you have an "at will" type agreement?
Did you document the work performed, quality thereof, and any discrepancies?
Did you establish a progressive discipline program, and document it accordingly, before terminating their employment?

I realize i may be taking this in a hugely different direction than intended, but with the abstract originally posted, and not knowing specifics, i'm attempting to help cover all bases.
 

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Discussion Starter · #20 · (Edited)
Yeah, well THAT adds quite a bit to the situation at hand, doesn't it?
You canned someone who was working at your stable to pay the boarding in full or in part.
You now have a very different set of rules to play by!
If this person was in fact an "on the books" employee, IE any compensation was documented, and it sounds like it was (though no dispute of fair compensation if i read it correctly), labor laws may come into play.
Is your state a "right to work" state, or did you have an "at will" type agreement?
Did you document the work performed, quality thereof, and any discrepancies?
Did you establish a progressive discipline program, and document it accordingly, before terminating their employment?

I realize i may be taking this in a hugely different direction than intended, but with the abstract originally posted, and not knowing specifics, i'm attempting to help cover all bases.
Thanks for your input. This individual was not an "on the books" employee. Before coming to our farm, she was given a copy of our boarding contract to review(of which, we upheld the material terms we were responsible for). Agreed to the terms in it (which are the same terms all of our other boarders abide by). They had been repeatedly asked to improve their "work" performance, and you can only re-explain the same thing SOOOO many times before just going "okay, they're just too lazy". I mean... how difficult is it to swipe some bedding to the side and find the horse's wet spot? As much as they cleaned stalls, they would have known where each horse's wet spot ALWAYS was. When we offered them the opportunity to perform work in exchange for credit towards their board, they were informed that we expected them to complete the job asked of them, the way we asked them to do it.

Not that it matters, because this was not "on the books", but we live in an "at will" state, anyhow. When we "fired" them, we gave them 40+ days notice that they would be expected to pay full board (they had earned credit towards board for the coming month). The woman got snotty and made up some bizarre "invoice" claiming credit for work which she did not perform... all because we "stepped on their toes", and no longer offered them the opportunity to live beyond their means.

We never had any discrepancies in work (they kept track of the work they performed, we'd touch base and say "ok, you worked these days, and this many stalls?", and we never had a discrepancy; they paid based on this). Our way of firing them was to simply say "We can no longer afford to offer to credit you for work, so we will no longer be assigning you jobs. Perhaps in the future, if our financial situation changes, we can work something else out..." (not that we'd ever tell them if it did, but as far as we were concerned, they didn't need to know that).

I mean... we really tried to not ruffle their feathers. We DID expect that they'd leave (they'd made many mentions that they couldn't afford more than what were paying after working a portion off), but we certainly didn't expect them to just become flat-out jerks. Especially after all of the ways we went ABOVE AND BEYOND for these people. They frequently requested that I starve their horse for the sake of "making her behave" (which was always flat-out denied, and I offered to have the woman do HER OWN RESEARCH and come to me with an alternate feed plan that provided her horse with adequate nutrition but decreased whatever the woman thought made her horse "act up"; we even had a vet advise her). We also had several instances where the woman was borderline aggressive when I was trying to explain different things to her.

So, in addition to no longer wanting them working for us... we were glad to have them leave. However, we were kind, went above and beyond for these people, and they completely stabbed us in the back. They said "Oh, we understand... no hard feelings. We don't want to burn bridges... here is our payment in full. We are just going to move our mare to the barn where our kid is riding another horse everyday, it'll be more convenient." then gave us this awful, ungrateful, whining letter in which they took no responsibility for themselves, threaten to slander us, and said they weren't paying what was in the invoice which we gave to her and made up her own. The invoice which she looked at and acknowledged as being 100% accurate!!!! I'm just appalled at how two-faced, selfish and unprofessional some people can be when things don't go "their way"...

P.S. She paid us in full after I sent the invoice, and included a rediculous letter that said that the contract "was a silly piece of paper" that meant "nothing" to her, and told us that she and her kid are "praying for us". Ha.
 
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