What if your clients check bounces?
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“On Monday my client ordered the digital images at her v&o session and received delivery of the digital images via email that evening. However, she sent me an email when she got home that her dishwasher had broke and asked if could I give her check back to her because she wasn’t sure she could afford the digital images any longer. Keep in mind, she already received her digital images and now I find out that she either stopped payment on her check or it bounced. What should I do?”
I’m so sorry that happened. I’ve heard this happen a few times. More recently I heard of a photographer that this happened to and she ended up giving the client a refund only to later have seen the client and the client said, “I’m so glad you were able to give us the refund, we’ve been updating our backyard and the refund let us get the outdoor chairs that we wanted.” Now, not every client is like that but we can never be too careful as business owners to not let us being sympathetic, cost us money that we’ve already done all of the work for.
Here are a few options that can help you now, and in the future when your clients check bounces.
1. Have a contract. Having a contract or an “all sales are final” signature is crucial to help protect both yourself and your client. I’m not sure if you had one or not, but having something that both you and your client sign in order to ensure that everyone is on the same page is key.
2. Work with the Client. You can always email her and explain your studio policy and offer a payment plan second (if that works within your studio policy).
3. Small Claim or Collections: If it gets really bad and she signed a contract you can have her refer back to the contract and at last resort take her to small claims court or let her know you have no other choice but to send it to collections. Especially since it sounds like you already completed the work for her. That’s like going out to a nice restaurant, eating the meal and then saying you can’t/won’t pay for it.
4. Chalk it up to experience. I know this can be tough but if you didn’t have the contract or have her sign something that says no-refunds, it may make the process of fighting for your hard earned money more difficult.
All in all, I’d recommend trying to work out a solution that works for both you and the client. Whether it’s doing payment plans for the products you’ve already given her, or something else.
I hope this, “what if your clients check bounces” article has helped!