So you want to sue a customer

Dear future client:

We look forward to helping you collect the money you’re owed from that customer you are about to do business with.

We understand that the customer doesn’t want to put your deal in writing, preferring to work on a handshake. We also understand that you have not done any credit checks on this customer, but they promise to pay you within your terms.

We recommend you document your deal: if you’re selling an item, prepare an invoice and make sure it says if you’re not paid within a certain amount of time, you will charge interest at an annual rate, not monthly.

If the item you’re selling is fairly pricey and you’re not being paid immediately, we recommend you use a credit application for the customer – this will help us help you if we need to sue. Get permission to do an Equifax search. Make sure you have a copy of the Articles of Incorporation or Driver’s Licence if its’ a sole proprietorship. This information will make it easier for our firm to find and serve your customer with the law suit: this will save you money.

When the customer wants to pay with a post-dated cheque, know that if it goes NSF, that makes it harder for the customer to successfully defend your lawsuit to collect your money. It’s not as good as being paid on time, but if you’re going to take these risks, it’s better than nothing.

We know you’ll probably ignore the above advice, until you’ve needed our help at least once. We know that at that point, you’ll appreciate we gave you the above advice to help save you money and time and you’ll see value in the advice.

Until then, best of luck and we look forward to working with you in the future.

Inga B. Andriessen JD