BellaSweet Posted 30 Jun 2013 , 11:22pm
post #1 of

ALet's get straight to the issue. :smile: I made a wedding and groom's cake for a client almost two months ago and she hasn't paid. She actually sent two checks with my business name after I had already told her I needed the checks in my own name.mso she said she would resend new checks. They never came. About three weeks ago she texted that she had forgotten and they would be in the mail the next day. 3 weeks later to today I have called, emailed, and texted. She has not responded about where the payment is. I have been doing cakes for eight years and never had this problem. I have also known her my entire life through church. I have learned my lesson and have now begun a rule of not doing a cake until full payment has been recieved. my question is, what else do I do. Do I just consider it a loss, keep trying?..

32 replies
AZCouture Posted 30 Jun 2013 , 11:26pm
post #2 of

AThe answer to this is never again make a cake if you have not been paid in full. Keep pursuing if you want to, but don't do that again.

Norasmom Posted 30 Jun 2013 , 11:29pm
post #3 of

Have you tried to cash the checks with your business name on them?  I don't have a checking account with my official business name on it, but I have deposited checks made out to my business in the past.  If you are declaring taxes, it might not be possible, but my business is very, very small (basically expanded hobby) so I was able to deposit the check.  Give it a try.

 

If you are at church with her, it might make it easier to just call it a loss.  Or, you could send a collector after her.  

LKing12 Posted 1 Jul 2013 , 12:49am
post #4 of

If you do not bank at the same bank, her bank may cash it.  If she is close-show up on her doorstep and exchange the check for a good one.  This is a hard lesson, one you will remember forever and it is a good reminder to the rest of us that money between friends is still a business transaction.
 

MimiFix Posted 1 Jul 2013 , 1:12am
post #5 of

Yes, learn a lesson here about taking deposits... In the meantime, banks are not legally allowed to accept a check with a business name if there is no business account in that name. I suggest you open a business account. You'll need a DBA with the exact name as your customer has made out the checks to. Then deposit them into your account. If the checks are returned for insufficient funds (or closed account, etc)  you can take the bad checks to the DA's office (or whichever department in your municipality handles bad checks). In some states, you can get up to 7 times the face value of the check. Good luck.

costumeczar Posted 1 Jul 2013 , 1:54am
post #6 of

I'd pursue it but do what LKing12 said and show up at her house in person. Some people "forget" and need to be prodded with a big old cattle prod. An electrified one.

jason_kraft Posted 1 Jul 2013 , 2:29am
post #7 of

A

Original message sent by Norasmom

If you are declaring taxes, it might not be possible, but my business is very, very small (basically expanded hobby) so I was able to deposit the check.

Could you explain what you mean here? Are you saying you don't declare your business income on your taxes, and this means the bank will let you deposit checks made to a random business name?

scrumdiddlycakes Posted 1 Jul 2013 , 3:44am
post #8 of

Open a business account and deposit the original, like mimifix suggested. Then start making sure cakes are paid in advance :)

ellavanilla Posted 2 Jul 2013 , 4:48am
post #9 of

I have deposited checks into my personal by ATM and photo deposit that had my unofficial DBA name on it and i've not had a problem. If i had dozens of them i'm sure i would hear from the bank, but as it is only one or two it hasn't come back to me. try and deposit them in your ATM and see what happens. 

 

jen

jason_kraft Posted 2 Jul 2013 , 4:56am

A

Original message sent by ellavanilla

I have deposited checks into my personal by ATM and photo deposit that had my unofficial DBA name on it and i've not had a problem. If i had dozens of them i'm sure i would hear from the bank, but as it is only one or two it hasn't come back to me. try and deposit them in your ATM and see what happens. 

I would not recommend doing this, the bank may consider it a third party check and can potentially reverse the deposit or even close your account. If you do it once you could probably pass it off as a mistake, but more than once and you are putting yourself at risk.

Godot Posted 2 Jul 2013 , 4:57am

ADo NOT let these people cheat you out of payment. Let us know how it goes.

ann3567 Posted 2 Jul 2013 , 5:38am

Hello..I also have a tiny business but never opened a business account, even though I do claim such income on my taxes.

I would advise you to try to meet her at church somehow, but not let her know you will be there ahead of time.  Then, in the company of another

of a few other church members, approach her and (speaking in a friendly, but LOUD enough voice) tell her how convenient that she

is there today, as she can make out a check to you right now, so she doesn't forget later again.  Also, mention you hope they enjoyed the cake

as you worked hard on it and how you allowed her the privilege of a delayed payment to help her out, which you never do for anyone else, ever.  But

say you know she's a good Christian, so you knew she'd be ok to trust her.  Make her realize others around you both are listening to

the conversation as you speak by using body language and saying hello to a few others nearby, so she knows your discussion is

overheard.  Ask her how they liked the cake?  Make her speak about it, so others overhear that she actually recieved it from you.

Try to draw someone nearby into the conversation somehow, so there is a witness.  If she says, "I don't have my checkbook with me right now",

tell her you're free and have no immediate appointments, so you could follow her home and save her from mailing a check later or forgetting

it again.  If she squirms her way out of letting you follow her home, get her address and phone number from the church directory files and

follow up with phone calls every hour until she makes good.  Perhaps she will embarrassed enough to get a check to you pronto!

I had a customer who pulled this on me once, and I finally got ahold of her husband, who was surprised I hadn't been paid and he saw that

I got paid right away.  I assume you returned the checks she had made out to your "business". If not, I'd get a matching pen color and

after my name or before it on the check I'd try to duplicate her writing, place a slash mark and then enter my name.  This is how my

bank said I'd have to have the check corrected...if I had an account only in my name they would accept it if it had my name on it, even though

it showed a business name....for example>   Cake House/Martha Jones.  I always use the ATM to deposit these kind of checks and never had

a problem after my bank told me this.  If you still have the check, I'd do this right away.  If the check (be sure you have a copy of it) bounces,

then you can take it to your local city hall & ask how you can report it as a bad check.  Just a phone call from them to her or their prosecutor

should get immediate satisfaction for you, even if it goes no further.  I'd be sure to pass the word around at church about her behavior

if you don't get paid.  Your pastor may have some influence on this if you approach him.  Perhaps he could put a "bug" in her ear about

moral responsibility.  You never know.  You might show him a picture of the cake, if you took one and casually mention how hard you worked

on it and sadly, say...something like...it would be nice if the couple had paid you since it cost you a lot for the ingredients and lots of your time.

Try approaching the husband even if you call him at his job....or send a letter to him personally with the bill (get a professional

small invoice book for this from Office Max or the like....they're cheap but it will show you are officially in business)

...that would be my first step. Nothing is more disgusting than to be treated like that.  You've got to shame her into paying or

going to their home when her husband is there.  He could be the quicker answer-it worked for me!  My customer's husband apologized and

mailed me a check right away, saying he thought she had paid it!  I explained she had not and he was very contrite about it. 

scrumdiddlycakes Posted 2 Jul 2013 , 5:54am
Quote:
Originally Posted by ann3567 

Hello..I also have a tiny business but never opened a business account, even though I do claim such income on my taxes.

I would advise you to try to meet her at church somehow, but not let her know you will be there ahead of time.  Then, in the company of another

of a few other church members, approach her and (speaking in a friendly, but LOUD enough voice) tell her how convenient that she

is there today, as she can make out a check to you right now, so she doesn't forget later again.  Also, mention you hope they enjoyed the cake

as you worked hard on it and how you allowed her the privilege of a delayed payment to help her out, which you never do for anyone else, ever.  But

say you know she's a good Christian, so you knew she'd be ok to trust her.  Make her realize others around you both are listening to

the conversation as you speak by using body language and saying hello to a few others nearby, so she knows your discussion is

overheard.  Ask her how they liked the cake?  Make her speak about it, so others overhear that she actually recieved it from you.

Try to draw someone nearby into the conversation somehow, so there is a witness.  If she says, "I don't have my checkbook with me right now",

tell her you're free and have no immediate appointments, so you could follow her home and save her from mailing a check later or forgetting

it again.  If she squirms her way out of letting you follow her home, get her address and phone number from the church directory files and

follow up with phone calls every hour until she makes good.  Perhaps she will embarrassed enough to get a check to you pronto!

I had a customer who pulled this on me once, and I finally got ahold of her husband, who was surprised I hadn't been paid and he saw that

I got paid right away.  I assume you returned the checks she had made out to your "business". If not, I'd get a matching pen color and

after my name or before it on the check I'd try to duplicate her writing, place a slash mark and then enter my name.  This is how my

bank said I'd have to have the check corrected...if I had an account only in my name they would accept it if it had my name on it, even though

it showed a business name....for example>   Cake House/Martha Jones.  I always use the ATM to deposit these kind of checks and never had

a problem after my bank told me this.  If you still have the check, I'd do this right away.  If the check (be sure you have a copy of it) bounces,

then you can take it to your local city hall & ask how you can report it as a bad check.  Just a phone call from them to her or their prosecutor

should get immediate satisfaction for you, even if it goes no further.  I'd be sure to pass the word around at church about her behavior

if you don't get paid.  Your pastor may have some influence on this if you approach him.  Perhaps he could put a "bug" in her ear about

moral responsibility.  You never know.  You might show him a picture of the cake, if you took one and casually mention how hard you worked

on it and sadly, say...something like...it would be nice if the couple had paid you since it cost you a lot for the ingredients and lots of your time.

Try approaching the husband even if you call him at his job....or send a letter to him personally with the bill (get a professional

small invoice book for this from Office Max or the like....they're cheap but it will show you are officially in business)

...that would be my first step. Nothing is more disgusting than to be treated like that.  You've got to shame her into paying or

going to their home when her husband is there.  He could be the quicker answer-it worked for me!  My customer's husband apologized and

mailed me a check right away, saying he thought she had paid it!  I explained she had not and he was very contrite about it. 


Embarrassing someone, on purpose, in front of people is extremely unprofessional.

 

Cheque fraud is illegal.

 

Including someone like her pastor, is beyond unprofessional, and calling her spouse's work place? Really? Just wow.

 

Just open a free small business account, save the drama. If you are a business, you should have an account anyway, it's certainly not going to hurt anything.

ann3567 Posted 2 Jul 2013 , 6:01am

Hello  I had this happen to me when I first started doing cakes for money.  I was lucky enough to

make enough that I did claim them on my taxes, but I never officially had a business checking

account as that would have been an expense and I didn't want think I made enough to justify it.

I took a check someone had made out to me not in my name but in my "business name".

The clerk said the bank would accept it if she had also just put my name after the business name...

ex.>  The Cake Cottage/Martha Jones.  So I left and wrote that in myself with the same color ink,

returned the next day to a teller instead of the ATM and another teller looked at it and never

questioned the deposit.  I've had a few customers forget occasionally and when that happened, I just

entered my name as I had before and I've never had a problem.  My bank is Chase.  I deposit all

my cake checks through the ATM, just so I don't have any problems anymore.  I also am sure to

hit the key that says "do you want a picture of the check" ....yes and that copy is proof that I

was owed that money.  I also made a copy of the check prior to adding my name to it, just in case!

One customer I had who failed to get her check to me before delivery kept putting me off w/excuses.

I finally got sick of it, and contacted her husband, who was unaware and he apologized and sent me

a check immediately, as he was embarrassed.  I'd approach her at church in front of others and

(loud enough to get their attention) ask her in a friendly manner...."how did you & your husband like the wedding cake I made for you?"  She'd have to respond somehow.  Then, I'd say, how nice that you

are here and can make out a check for that today, as that will save you mailing it to me later.  If you forgot your check book, I'd be happy to follow you home to save you the trouble of doing it later.  You

did say you'd do it last week, but I guess it slipped your mind.  I have the day free, so it is no trouble

to follow you so you can forget about it later.".....or something to that affect!  Be sure others are

nearby as they may have been at their wedding.  Her husband may not know she's been avoiding you.

If you took a picture of the cake, take the photo to church with you and casually show those nearby

to draw them into the conversation (witnesses).  However, if you still have the check she had given

you first, I'd add my name to it (trying to make it look like her handwriting in the same color ink) and

I'd deposit it in the ATM....but your name has to be on it too.   Good Luck.

Ann        cakesofelegance@wowway.com    Cleveland OH

TheSugarLab Posted 2 Jul 2013 , 6:26am
Quote:
Originally Posted by scrumdiddlycakes 


Embarrassing someone, on purpose, in front of people is extremely unprofessional.

 

Cheque fraud is illegal.

 

Including someone like her pastor, is beyond unprofessional, and calling her spouse's work place? Really? Just wow.

 

Just open a free small business account, save the drama. If you are a business, you should have an account anyway, it's certainly not going to hurt anything.

THIS!

Cakechick123 Posted 2 Jul 2013 , 7:08am
Quote:

 

Quote:
Originally Posted by ann3567 

you first, I'd add my name to it (trying to make it look like her handwriting in the same color ink) and

I'd deposit it in the ATM....but your name has to be on it too.   Good Luck.

 

this is illegal, you are

1. changing her check = fraud

2 copying her handwriting = counterfeiting

 

Also embarrassing people at their work/church is so unprofessional. By all means follow up, maybe a visit to her house will work, but the best solution to your problem is not to take any order without a hefty deposit, and in cases where you go and drop the cake off without seeing the client in person, request them to pay the balance before the delivery.

 

jason_kraft Posted 2 Jul 2013 , 8:21am

AI'm glad I'm not the only one who found Ann's advice to be reprehensible. Besides the check fraud, taking her advice is likely to result in a trashed reputation for your business and maybe even a restraining order.

doramoreno62 Posted 2 Jul 2013 , 8:22am

Quote:

Originally Posted by ann3567 View Post

you first, I'd add my name to it (trying to make it look like her handwriting in the same color ink) and

I'd deposit it in the ATM....but your name has to be on it too. Good Luck.

 

Good Luck is right! Good luck having someone post your bail. This is so illegal. I hope it's a joke!

costumeczar Posted 2 Jul 2013 , 10:26am

ANot wanting to pile more on ann3567, but the part I found the most amusing about that advice was the part about if she's a good Christian she'll listen to you. My father went to seminary when I was in high school, and believe me, having been around clergy and "good Christians" and seeing how the sausage is made, I can guarantee you that showing up at church and calling yourself a Christian does not guarantee ethical behavior. Some of the crookedest people I've ever met were wearing a collar or calling themselves "pastor."

Just show up at her house and ask for your payment, then go straight to her bank and cash the check. If it bounces turn it over to a collection agency.

Sweet_Cakes Posted 2 Jul 2013 , 11:07am

Wow...I know it's been said by others...but just wow. Please, whatever you do, do not take ann3567's advice. I agree with everyone else though.

LoveMeSomeCake615 Posted 2 Jul 2013 , 1:26pm

Yikes. icon_eek.gif

cupadeecakes Posted 2 Jul 2013 , 2:31pm
Quote:
Originally Posted by costumeczar 

Just show up at her house and ask for your payment, then go straight to her bank and cash the check. If it bounces turn it over to a collection agency.

 

To add, I have found that if you go to the client's bank and the check is no good, you can always take it back another time and try to re-cash.  I have even had tellers that would tell what day the client normally deposited money.  And even though I it has never reached this point for me, I understand that you can take a bad check to your local courthouse and have a warrant issued for their arrest.  I did "threaten" a client with this action once, and she she ponied up the money immediately!

LoveMeSomeCake615 Posted 2 Jul 2013 , 2:41pm

And so much of this drama can be avoided by getting payment in advance, before you ever turn on the oven (and getting checks far enough in advance for them to clear!). No money, no cakey. Easy peasy. 

costumeczar Posted 2 Jul 2013 , 3:37pm
Quote:
Originally Posted by LoveMeSomeCake615 

And so much of this drama can be avoided by getting payment in advance, before you ever turn on the oven (and getting checks far enough in advance for them to clear!). No money, no cakey. Easy peasy. 

oh yes...definitely.

Norasmom Posted 2 Jul 2013 , 5:46pm
Quote:
Originally Posted by jason_kraft 


Could you explain what you mean here? Are you saying you don't declare your business income on your taxes, and this means the bank will let you deposit checks made to a random business name?

Well, apparently so, as I deposited a check in my business name a few months ago at our nation's largest bank.  I don't do this regularly, it was a one-time event.  As for declaring business income on taxes, in MA, I don't surpass the threshold on hobby income.  I should have declared it as a business when I bought my equipment years ago...I would have gotten a bit of a break.

shanter Posted 2 Jul 2013 , 5:50pm
Quote:
Originally Posted by ann3567 
I took a check someone had made out to me not in my name but in my "business name".

The clerk said the bank would accept it if she had also just put my name after the business name...

ex.>  The Cake Cottage/Martha Jones.  So I left and wrote that in myself with the same color ink,

returned the next day

This is fraud; it is illegal to alter a check written by someone else.

Norasmom Posted 2 Jul 2013 , 5:51pm

I think I had said I've done this a few times before, but I must correct myself, it was only once.

jason_kraft Posted 2 Jul 2013 , 5:58pm

A

Original message sent by Norasmom

Well, apparently so, as I deposited a check in my business name a few months ago at our nation's largest bank.

The fact that they didn't catch you doesn't mean that you're allowed to do it.

As for declaring business income on taxes, in MA, I don't surpass the threshold on hobby income.  I should have declared it as a business when I bought my equipment years ago...I would have gotten a bit of a break.

I don't know about MA, but the IRS does not have a threshold below which you don't have to report income (hobby, business, or otherwise). I strongly recommend talking to an accountant about this since you may be evading federal taxes.

lorieleann Posted 2 Jul 2013 , 8:16pm

sheeshhh...you guys are no fun.  I kinda like the idea of an angry, righteous cake mob tracking her and her family down like bounty hunters demanding payment.  Oh wait...this isn't Real Cakewives of Orange County, is it?  icon_wink.gif

 

 

Seriously, i would open up a business account and deposit the checks.   And naturally you have already learned the lesson of getting payment ahead of time.  

AZCouture Posted 2 Jul 2013 , 8:20pm

AShoooooot, you know I'm down! We can get Crazy Amy to help!

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