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Legal advice question

post #1 of 10
Thread Starter 
I did a freelance job where I scanned a client's family photos, digitally
restored them & created a slideshow dvd for christmas. The problem
is that she still has not paid for the job. I still have the dvds that I
made plus all of her family photos. For over a month I've been either
getting every excuse under the sun, not returning messages, & a
couple of flat out lies. I'm at the end of my patience. I want to give her
a final ultimatum. Either she pays for the work that I've done or I'm
going to throw away the DVDs along with her family photos.

My question is it legal for me to throw away her stuff? (I live in
Wisconsin if that info is needed.)

Brock Samson: You didn't tell me Sasquatch was a... a dude.
Steve Summers: What, you couldn't tell?
Brock Samson: Not until I had to...[shudders] shave him.
Steve Summers: What are you, shy?...
Reply
Brock Samson: You didn't tell me Sasquatch was a... a dude.
Steve Summers: What, you couldn't tell?
Brock Samson: Not until I had to...[shudders] shave him.
Steve Summers: What are you, shy?...
Reply
post #2 of 10
Just keep her pics.
One day she will feel obliged to take them back. At this time she will paid.
post #3 of 10
Thread Starter 
She just ticks me off though. For example I left 4 different messages
over a period of 10 days. I had a feeling that she was having my
number forwarded directly to her mailbox so I used my work phone
instead & she picked up on the second ring. I asked why she hasn't
returned any of my messages. She tells me that she left a message on
my home machine this morning (checked that night - no message).
Then she says that she is sick & in the middle of a meeting & that I
should call her in the evening at home. I do that to try to arrange a
time to meet & using a lame sick voice she says that she needs to
check her schedule & she will call me at 10am the next day with the
info. That doesn't happen so I call her again that night on a different
phone to see why she didn't call to set a date. She says that she's at
dinner right now & that she would have to call me back. I said to pick
a day now. Then she has the stones to say that we set if for the day
before?!?

I wanted to jam my damn phone down her lying throat after hearing
that piece of crap!

Brock Samson: You didn't tell me Sasquatch was a... a dude.
Steve Summers: What, you couldn't tell?
Brock Samson: Not until I had to...[shudders] shave him.
Steve Summers: What are you, shy?...
Reply
Brock Samson: You didn't tell me Sasquatch was a... a dude.
Steve Summers: What, you couldn't tell?
Brock Samson: Not until I had to...[shudders] shave him.
Steve Summers: What are you, shy?...
Reply
post #4 of 10
Just give her back the photos and destroy the dvds and forget about the whole thing.
MacBook Pro 15" (Unibody)/2.4GHz Core 2 Duo/2 GB RAM/250GB HD/SuperDrive
iMac 20"/2 GHz Core 2 Duo/2 GB RAM/250 GB/SuperDrive
PowerBook G4 12"/1 GHz/1.25 GB RAM/60GB/Combo
iMac G3 333 MHz/96 MB...

Reply
MacBook Pro 15" (Unibody)/2.4GHz Core 2 Duo/2 GB RAM/250GB HD/SuperDrive
iMac 20"/2 GHz Core 2 Duo/2 GB RAM/250 GB/SuperDrive
PowerBook G4 12"/1 GHz/1.25 GB RAM/60GB/Combo
iMac G3 333 MHz/96 MB...

Reply
post #5 of 10
Thread Starter 
Quote:
Originally posted by DanMacMan
Just give her back the photos and destroy the dvds and forget about the whole thing.

That's a $250 dollar job down the toilet though.
Brock Samson: You didn't tell me Sasquatch was a... a dude.
Steve Summers: What, you couldn't tell?
Brock Samson: Not until I had to...[shudders] shave him.
Steve Summers: What are you, shy?...
Reply
Brock Samson: You didn't tell me Sasquatch was a... a dude.
Steve Summers: What, you couldn't tell?
Brock Samson: Not until I had to...[shudders] shave him.
Steve Summers: What are you, shy?...
Reply
post #6 of 10
I know you're ticked off, as anyone would be, but it would be a bad move to destroy her pictures. Just put them away somewhere and forget about it. She gives you the money, then you give her the pictures back.
post #7 of 10
Quote:
Originally posted by mello
I did a freelance job where I scanned a client's family photos, digitally
restored them & created a slideshow dvd for christmas. The problem
is that she still has not paid for the job. I still have the dvds that I
made plus all of her family photos. For over a month I've been either
getting every excuse under the sun, not returning messages, & a
couple of flat out lies. I'm at the end of my patience. I want to give her
a final ultimatum. Either she pays for the work that I've done or I'm
going to throw away the DVDs along with her family photos.

My question is it legal for me to throw away her stuff? (I live in
Wisconsin if that info is needed.)


Mail her a demand letter. In the demand letter tell her that you are still in possession of X materials and that effective Y day, you will begin charging her a storage fee per day. Also state that if you have not been paid within whatever time frame is necessary for small claims in your state (California is two weeks) then you will sue her for services render, storage fees, etc.

Nick

"During times of universal deceit, telling the truth becomes a revolutionary act." -George Orwell

Reply

"During times of universal deceit, telling the truth becomes a revolutionary act." -George Orwell

Reply
post #8 of 10
Quote:
Originally posted by trumptman
Mail her a demand letter. In the demand letter tell her that you are still in possession of X materials and that effective Y day, you will begin charging her a storage fee per day. Also state that if you have not been paid within whatever time frame is necessary for small claims in your state (California is two weeks) then you will sue her for services render, storage fees, etc.

Nick

What trumpty said. Polite but firm. Mention the phone calls (include the date if you remember it - this helps to establish that you've already made attempts to recover the money). State the goods are ready for collection, the amount owing, and the date the account was due. Then say that you will be forced to commence legal proceedings/refer the matter to your solicitor to recover the money if it's not paid by a specific date (if she's already had 28 days, 7 days should be enough). You could also ask her to contact you if she is unable to finalise the matter by that date. Keep your language formal, detached and unemotional (this is actually far more scary than "you are a lying, fucking bitch"). Letters of demand can be surprisingly effective.

Definitely do not throw out her pics until you find out how long you're legally obliged to hold them for (if you don't want to bother with court action this could be used as leverage in a final letter of demand - pay up, or the pics get it!) Judging by the number of people who grab the family photos and the cat (I'm looking at you Frenchman! ) when their house is burning down, she might be less inclined to part with them than you think. If you're prepared to use a debt collector (eeeeew!), some don't charge unless they recover the money. You have to factor bad debtors into your costings.

Finally, get used to it. If you're in business for yourself, this won't be the last time it happens. That's why I'm not. Bet she's loaded too. It's always the ones who can most afford it that are least likely to pay up. That's why they're loaded.

Good luck.
Tomorrow shall be love for the loveless;
And for the lover, tomorrow shall be love.
Reply
Tomorrow shall be love for the loveless;
And for the lover, tomorrow shall be love.
Reply
post #9 of 10
Quote:
Originally posted by crazychester
Judging by the number of people who grab the family photos and the cat (I'm looking at you Frenchman! )

I am under watch
post #10 of 10
Quote:
Originally posted by mello
That's a $250 dollar job down the toilet though.

While she may be irritating, incompetant, and a pain in the ass, she's under very little legal obligation to pay you anything. I know that doesn't sit well, and it doesn't seem right, but that's the reality.

Until you deliver a product to her, there is no execution for demand of payment. The service rendered isn't complete until she takes posession of the final works.

Regarding the originals, you are obligated to hold them for 90 days before you dispose of them, and you must give notice to this effect (generally at least 30 days notice) If she requests the originals back, but refuses to pay for the services rendered, you still have to give them back.

In the future, you should hold a deposit to protect yourself against this happening again. If your only loss is the compensation for your time, there's not much you can collect on. I realize that isn't what you want to hear.

You can send a demand letter, but if she ignores it, there is really nothing you can do except dispose of the originals if you give her warning.
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