so a client used our fountain, plates and pillars (I know, right?), she didn't return them. I've been talking with her and the "wedding planner" and nobody knows where they are, each is blaming the other one.
So, we do take a deposit and get a card number on file. I told the client we were going to charge her card. I tried to charge her card, and the transaction came up DENIED!
So my question is... what now? Small claims? Arrest her for theft?
I'd try back the following week. Alot of people get paid every two weeks so try back next Friday (08/20). Add up what every item costs then subtract that from the deposit and charge her the remaing balance. If you get charged a fee for every transaction add that into the balance.
Have you tried running the payment into two smaller payments? Try that and see if it goes through.
Well, for next time, take the deposit in cash or cashiers check. I prefer cash so I can just hand them cash right back. I don't accept CCards for just this reason.
I would go back to the planner at this point and then, yes, threaten with small claims first and if they don't cough up the money then you will have to go thru with it. SIGH.
This is exactly why deposits for equipment should be cash only so if they don't return it damage/lose your stuff you have the money in hand...A credit card is no good if they deny it...Sorry this happened..I would call the planner and state if X amount of dollars is not given to you by this date you will be forced to take further action.It is not your problem no one knows where ther stuff went or is..My Gosh...are they kids or what!Find it or pay me the value of it...
Have your attorney send her a letter. If that doesn't work then small claims court. Sending through in two smaller transactions also sounds like a good idea.
For future reference, and as you've now realized, deposit checks and/or credit cards should be run thru as soon as rec'd ..... not held "just in case". It's too easy to put a stop-payment on a check that is being held or to cancel a credit card or to pull all available funds so a debit card doesn't work. Once the equipment is returned, then and only then is the credit given to the client.
I would send them an invoice for the amount due for the equipment and start charging them a percentage due every month. If you dont get anything in 90 days, you can then send them to a collection agency. (tell them you will be sending to a collection agency...that alone may make them pay up as it will screw up their credit rating) A lot cheaper then going to an attorney..
Collection agencies don't scare dishonest people.
Hopefully this will not end up being an expensive lesson learned (a fountain? really? this alone should have tipped you off.)
And never, ever tell the other army you are coming for them, lolol!
We've done a few fountains over the past year, so that wasn't a major concern.
When we take the deposit, we do run the card through right then, so we do get the deposit upfront. We don't charge a deposit equivalent to the replacement value,we charge a flat rate deposit. We then get a card number in case the items are broken or not returned to charge the remaining replacement value.
While, in this case, it is causing us more trouble, I made the concious decision when I opened that I would not write my policies/procedures based on the 1% of people who might rip me off.
the bride and planner are both still in contact with me, so I'll keep you updated
after a couple years of people losing ,tearing up and stealing my stuff....i decided it just wasn't worth the PITA.
so now i send them to the rental place...let the pros handle it.....
it's amazing how irresponsiible people are....sorry this happened to you.
That stinks! At least they are still in contact with you - hopefully that's a good sign! Before taking any further legal action, have you sent them a formal bill yet? That alone might show them how serious you are and hopefully then submit payment. Good luck!