I am very new at the cake biz, and I just received my first bad check from a customer. It's a girl that I used to work with, so I'd consider her an acquaintance. I made the cake for her two weeks ago, and I just got the notice in the mail today from my bank that there were insufficient funds in her account. Not only do I not have the money for the cake, but my bank also charged me a $10.00 fee. Luckily, it was just a $40.00 party cake, and not an extravagant tiered cake or anything. The problem is, I know that she was moving the week I made the cake for her. Plus, I've tried calling her cell phone, which is the only number I have, and it's no longer in service. What do I do?! Should I write this one off as a loss and "note to self: never sell a cake to her again," or should I try to track her down? She is friends with my neighbor, so it's possible I could get in touch with her somehow. I'm sorry that I'm rambling now; what would you all do? Thank you for letting me vent: )
You could have the bank check to see if the money is "now" in her account. You try to put a check through up to 2 times. The banks are able to check to see if the money is in the bank, and you could also send her a note (you'll have to find the info from your neighbor - I would not say that it was for a bounced check) saying that you are going to charge her 10/20 for the inconvience of a bounced check. I know many stores are able to do this via auto draft when they take the money out of the account for the check. Do you have a "insufficient funds policy?"
If the money is not in the account I would try to find out her address and get the money via cash only with insufficient funds money added on. If you can not get the address you can notify the credit burrough that she had an insufficient funds and has not rectified it. (at that point you could write it off) If she calls you at a later time because she finds it on her credit report, you collect the money, contact the credit report, and then it comes off. If not, it stays on her credit and she has trouble getting a loan,car, house, etc.
Good Luck, and if you do not have an insufficient funds policy, I would draft one up as soon as possible with an effective immediatly date. Also I would in future if someone is moving request cash only services.
Have a good day!
I would hunt her down. I would charge her the price of the cake, 10 bank fee and 15 hunt down fee.
If her address is on the check, you could send a note or invoice & hope that it gets forwarded to her new address. If you can't reach her, then I would ask your neighbor. Once you get ahold of her, explain the situation and ask that she pays for the extra fees (If she makes a fuss, explain to her that most business charge additional on top of the bank fees & you are only asking for what the bank charged you). Basically, try to be polite but firm about her "mistake" so that you get what's owed to you. You may even suggest that she possibly overlooked it since she was moving & had so much going on at the time - giving her an excuse might make her feel less embarressed and give you a higher chance at getting the money. At some point though you will need to decide how much effort is worth the $50.00. It's a hard thing to try & get someone to follow through when they've already eaten the cake. Definitely don't take any checks from her again though.
for furture reference, you may want to add a 20 fee for NSF notice on all your invoices...I had a bad check and it turned out that the bride was using a special fund just for her wedding and they lost track of how much to put in the account. So you never know the reason!! It might be an honest mistake..but do recoup your bank charges!
Opps, I meant "Embarrassed"!
BTW - I like the idea of the "hunt down" fee, but it might make it a little more difficult to get her to follow through. I think you are completely justified in asking for one though.
I would hunt her down and cut off her boobs with my lightsaber.
lol thats funny chutzpah
I know how hard it is to go thru this. BTDT
If you really need/want the money try hunting her down thru your neighbor (try not to tell neighbor why!) and don't take another check from her
You can take her check to *her* bank - don't re- deposit it or you'll end up w/another bounce fee If you take it to her bank (any branch) they will tell you if enough funds are available. You can do that repeatedly if necessary.
I assume this is the same from state to state, but step #1 is mail her a certified letter with a return receipt. This will cost about $5, but you have proof that you tried to contact her. If she accepts the letter, she will have to sign for it OR after 15 days at the post office the whole letter will come back to you. step #2, if she signed for the letter give her 10 days to mail you back the money order or cashier's check of payment (including the back fee +). If she didn't take the check and the letter/proof to your county attorney's office and let them spend the time and effort to "hunt her down". If she doesn't pay them, they will issue a bench warrant for her arrest after a certain amount of time, if she does pay them, they will mail you a check for the amount of the check + a portion of the fee they collected (here it's $20). This is something to be handled as business, not as a friend, she knows the check bounced, she got a notice long before you did and if she wanted to be friendly and make it right, she would have by now!
here's a question: are you a licensed business? if yes, then you have ALL kinds of recourse (as stated in the previous post). if you're not, there might not be much you can do if she won't respond or you can't find her.
personally, i don't take checks from anyone for anything. having a cop for a hubby makes me cynical and even my friends know to pay me in cash. i wouldn't want a "mistake" on their part to put a rift in our friendship/acquaintanceship