Legal/Photog. Bees: Should I take her to small claims court? Can she sue me?

posted 3 years ago in Legal
  • poll: What to do?
    Take her to court! You'll likely win. : (31 votes)
    53 %
    Take her to court, but you might not win because... : (5 votes)
    9 %
    Don't take her to court because... : (21 votes)
    36 %
    She might sue you because... : (1 votes)
    2 %
  • Post # 3
    Member
    446 posts
    Helper bee

    @OnceUponATime:  I’m just worried you wouldnt win because there is no real contract. I don’t know for sure though. You may want to ask someone who is familiar with contract law.

    Post # 4
    Member
    42510 posts
    Honey Beekeeper
    • Wedding: November 1999

    @OnceUponATime:  Have you talked to your bank and been told that you cannot deposit the check?

    I have no idea where you live, nor do I know the banking rules that apply to you. Where I live if someone makes a mistake in addressing the payee on the cheque (that’s how we spell it), you can simply endorse it with the incorrect name on the back, then write your correct name underneath and deposit it to your account. You do have to wait for the cheque to clear, which is not unreasonable to me.

    It’s worth a shot to check with your bank.

    Post # 5
    Member
    473 posts
    Helper bee
    • Wedding: July 2014

    @OnceUponATime:  I say you’re definitely entitled to take her to court. I would write to her letting her know that as she refuses to speak to you, that you will be taking the matter further so she is aware how far it’s gotten. It might make her stop being a childish brat and realise in the real world you can’t act like this and get away with it. 

    Post # 6
    Member
    511 posts
    Busy bee
    • Wedding: August 2014

    A contract is a contract, it doesn’t have to be signed to be legal. Emails are enough to show you had an agreement, and you went and shot it which shows you lived up to your end of the deal. As long as there isn’t stuff in the emails that you didn’t live up to (ie did she mention in the emails she wanted every picture you shot?) you would probably win. But there is no guarantee in small claims.

    The lesson here is – always get paid in advance!!!

    Post # 7
    Member
    1072 posts
    Bumble bee
    • Wedding: July 2014

    Personally I think you should just let it go and chalk it up to a learning experience. It’s only $250, she’s not happy (probably unreasonably, but still) and could really trash your reputation in your friendship circle.

    Even if you take it to court and you win, you will probably lose a bunch in court fees, time off work, reputation and hassle. Next time make sure you set expectations in advance, get at least partial pre-payment, and sign a contract. I know it sucks, but at least the experience has taught you some valuable lessons.

    Post # 9
    Member
    9532 posts
    Buzzing Beekeeper
    • Wedding: August 2013

    I wouldn’t sue her because it’s just not worth it. Stressing about this will just make you bitter. I’d just let it go. It’s only $250. Not money to sneeze at, but not money to get upset over.

    Post # 10
    Member
    636 posts
    Busy bee

    @OnceUponATime:  Have you tried opening a new account at a different bank? It could be a simple as that. I would first try to cash the cheque ANY other way before going to court. You wouldn’t believe how many cheques get cleared by banks that technically shouldn’t. I’ve accidentally cashed posted-dated cheques (dated 6 months in the future) from other people on numerous occasions and they’ve cleared just fine, not a peep or delay from the bank. You could try putting it in the bank machine with the endorsement on the back as a PP mentioned and see if that goes through. Definitely go through the bank machine, that’s my advice!! What’s the worst that can happen?  

    Or, could you go open a small business account with the name she wrote on the cheque at another bank and cash the cheque? Find one with very low fees, then close the account after you have your money!

    Post # 12
    Member
    1108 posts
    Bumble bee
    • Wedding: August 2015

    Didn’t you write a post asking for advice on this exact same scenario like last week? 

     

    Post # 14
    Member
    4890 posts
    Honey bee
    • Wedding: September 2012

    @OnceUponATime:  I’m not a lawyer, but I am a wedding photographer. I would chalk this up to a lesson learned. Taking her to court is going to cost you WAY more than the $250. Here’s the thing, is it crappy she gave you an uncashable check and doesn’t want to pay? Yeah. But, you have no contract – nothing legally binding you. On top of that, you’re taking payment for a service with no business license. Sure, we can technically pay whoever we want to do whatever we want – but it doesn’t help your case in court when you say to a judge “I’m not a pro, and I don’t have a business license or pay taxes on my income from this hobby, but she needs to pay me the money we agreed on without a contract.”.

    Post # 16
    Member
    4890 posts
    Honey bee
    • Wedding: September 2012

    @Kazza:  This wouldn’t work, becuase the OP is not a legit business. At least that’s what I’m assuming because she said it was a hobby. I know when I opened my business accounts I had to provide all my documentation (business license, tax ID number, etc). 

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