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Daycare Center and Family Home Forum>Parent Owes over $300, What Can I do?
Unregistered 06:34 PM 01-16-2010
A now ex-client ended care with us after not paying for a full weeks care of her two children and owed money from the week before. She continually assured us that she would bring the check, blaming the childrenís father for the tardiness. The next Monday, when we called to find out why her children were hours late, she informed us that she couldnít continue but would pay the amount owed in full. Havenít spoken to her for almost a month because she doesn't answer her phone or reply to our text messages. Its close to $400, What can we do???
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Michael 07:25 PM 01-16-2010
Take it to Small Claims Court.
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Persephone 07:52 PM 01-16-2010
Originally Posted by michael:
Take it to Small Claims Court.
I agree, it's the only way you will get the money.

I'd type out a letter stating that you will need the money paid by *** date and if you do not receive it you will take her to small claims. Also add that she'll have to pay the fees to the court. Don't forget your late fees if you have them.

Send it certified mail so that she has to sign for it, so you know she's got it.
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momma2girls 06:44 AM 01-17-2010
Do not do anymore daycare til paid in full, inc. late fees, if you have them in your contract.
You will have to take to court, if they do not pay you!! That is alot of money!! It will keep racking up, if you do not do something now about it!!
GOod luck!!!
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gbcc 07:43 AM 01-17-2010
Originally Posted by michael:
Take it to Small Claims Court.
I have had to do this as well. Once you take them to court as long as you have a signed contract you will win. If she does not show, you automatically win everything asked for. If she does show the judge may ask for a compromise like deducting late fees or similar from the total. She will then have 30 days to pay for the fees. If she does not you can start proceedings to have the money garnished by her employer or taxes.
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Crystal 09:01 AM 01-17-2010
Did you have a written contract with her? If so, you can take it to small claims court, but only you can decide if it is worth it. $300 is a lot of money, but do you have the ability to take the day off to attend court, as well as the time to file the case, etc.? If you have a contract it may be worth it, if not, I'd chalk it up to a lesson learned.
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wejo928 01:12 PM 01-18-2010
All my contracts state if I have to take them to court they have to pay all my fileing fees, court cost & laywer fees.
The last person I just had to send them a copy of the contract with that highlighted and a notice that my lawyer charges $250 a hour.
They pay by the 1 st of the following month as required. I have not had to go to court yet.
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momma2girls 03:40 PM 01-18-2010
I have written in my contract that everyone signs- if nonpayment, you are responsible for daily late fees, if I am required to seek payment thru the courts, you are responsible for all legal fees, court costs, and missed wages due to needing days off, associated with this action. I have never had to take a day off of work- the courts settled it without having to take the day off, the 2 times I have had to do this!!!!
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Carole's Daycare 07:10 AM 01-20-2010
My contract states clearly that the parent is responsible for any and all costs of collection on an unpaid bill, not limited to late fees, court fees, collection agency fees. I'd send a letter w/ a deadline. Here it costs about $65 to file, but you have to show up for court. If you do and they don't, a judgement is automatically entered. You could call a collection agency (phone book should have one?) and try that first.
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mindy2137 12:27 PM 01-20-2010
I would contact her at her job. If that didn't work, I would send a certified letter with due dates to get her attention. Then small claims court.
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Unregistered 03:19 PM 12-06-2010
Right now I am having the same problem. She told me that DHS would pay me for daycare and they still don't have me down a month later as the provider. I had to turn her in for physical abuse to her son ( he was burned) and of course she won't bring thm back. I sent her a message that she had until the end of he week to make arrangments to pay her bill or I would send it to collections. Now her boyfriend says I'm threatening her. Whatever. I guess now i make a trip to the courthouse to sue for 830 plus court costs.
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jen 08:06 AM 12-07-2010
Originally Posted by mindy2137:
I would contact her at her job. If that didn't work, I would send a certified letter with due dates to get her attention. Then small claims court.
Be careful with that...if she tells you she can't receive calls at work, do not call her again.
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momma2girls 08:08 AM 12-07-2010
Originally Posted by Unregistered:
A now ex-client ended care with us after not paying for a full weeks care of her two children and owed money from the week before. She continually assured us that she would bring the check, blaming the childrenís father for the tardiness. The next Monday, when we called to find out why her children were hours late, she informed us that she couldnít continue but would pay the amount owed in full. Havenít spoken to her for almost a month because she doesn't answer her phone or reply to our text messages. Its close to $400, What can we do???
I have had to take 3 families to sm. claim's court over the yrs. of providing daycare. I won each time, inc. late fees, sheriff's del. fee, and court costs.
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missnikki 08:12 AM 12-07-2010
Originally Posted by Unregistered:
Right now I am having the same problem. She told me that DHS would pay me for daycare and they still don't have me down a month later as the provider. I had to turn her in for physical abuse to her son ( he was burned) and of course she won't bring thm back. I sent her a message that she had until the end of he week to make arrangments to pay her bill or I would send it to collections. Now her boyfriend says I'm threatening her. Whatever. I guess now i make a trip to the courthouse to sue for 830 plus court costs.
Whatever you have in writing with a signature is what you can sue for. f she 'told you' things, it becomes a "he said/she said" type of case and it will always come down to what you can prove- services provided, at a certain rate per hour or day or week or whatever, and late fees at whatever amount per day or however long...You need to make a reasonable effort to collect what you are owed and give a resonable amount of time to get paid with late fees. Once you can prove that you tried to collect and you were blown off, that is when you file for whatever you can prove you are owed.
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Blackcat31 08:14 AM 12-07-2010
I've also had to take families to small claims court...even won...but that doesn't guarantee payment. The two families I took to court got judgments against them but both are lower income so no one collects....both judgments are at collection agencies and no one has collected a dime because the parents don't have the money. The collection agency can't garnish their checks either because one switches jobs like toilet paper rolls in a public restroom and another is low income and you can't collect from people who are below the poverty level. This was 12 years ago and I ended up just writing it off as a loss. Now I am pre-paid ONLY! I also know a fellow provider who uses a pretty aggressive collection agency instead of small claims court and it seems to have good results.
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momma2girls 08:16 AM 12-07-2010
Originally Posted by Blackcat31:
I've also had to take families to small claims court...even won...but that doesn't guarantee payment. The two families I took to court got judgments against them but both are lower income so no one collects....both judgments are at collection agencies and no one has collected a dime because the parents don't have the money. The collection agency can't garnish their checks either because one switches jobs like toilet paper rolls in a public restroom and another is low income and you can't collect from people who are below the poverty level. This was 12 years ago and I ended up just writing it off as a loss. Now I am pre-paid ONLY! I also know a fellow provider who uses a pretty aggressive collection agency instead of small claims court and it seems to have good results.
This must be a state thing. One of my families, we had to garnish her wages, I eventually got paid, it too awhile though.
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Unregistered 08:19 AM 12-07-2010
Originally Posted by gbcc:
I have had to do this as well. Once you take them to court as long as you have a signed contract you will win. If she does not show, you automatically win everything asked for. If she does show the judge may ask for a compromise like deducting late fees or similar from the total. She will then have 30 days to pay for the fees. If she does not you can start proceedings to have the money garnished by her employer or taxes.
This is not true not all states garnish wages or taxes it varies by state. Also there is limitions in some states as far as you suing her for the money dont wait to long. I would also send her a letter telling her the money is owed by (date) and if she doesnt comply you will be taking her to court.
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boysx5 08:40 AM 12-07-2010
I also get prepaid and if I don't get the money the child cannot stay I do have great families now so not a problem but I still inforce it otherwise they will walk all over you
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MyAngels 10:17 AM 12-07-2010
This is some general information for anyone who is having trouble getting paid by a former client. I used to work for an attorney's office that handled collection matters, so my experience there is where this comes from.

The first thing that all providers who use a contract should do is add to the section involving your payment policies that, should you have to pursue payment, you will add attorneys fees and collection costs to the amount due.

There are many ways to collect if you can get a judgment against someone.

You can garnish wages, which is probably the easiest, but in most states there are some limitations on how much you can get if they are low income.

You can levy a bank account, which is a better choice if you have an idea of when there will be funds in the account (maybe on or the first day after payday). You can do this multiple times if you need to, to collect the amount in full. Once is normally enough, though, to get their attention. I always make a note of the banking information of all of my clients periodically just in case I should ever need this information later. Fortunately I've never had to use it.

You can also record a copy of the judgment at the recorder's office in any county that they might own property. In order to sell the property they will have to satisfy the judgment (pay you), so this is more of a long term solution. This is also picked up by the credit bureaus, so it will damage their credit.

I live in Illinois, so some of these may be specific to my state, but I would imagine that most states have similar laws.

I would consult an attorney, find out what you can and cannot do, then send a letter, certified mail return receipt requested, outlining what you plan to do to enforce your contract. If they think you are serious about collection they may be more willing to work with you. If they do not respond, sue them, get the judgment and proceed to collect in any way necessary.

Again, as a disclaimer, I'm not an attorney (nor do I play one on TV ) so it would be a good idea, for all providers really, to sit down with an attorney when you are drafting or reviewing your contracts, so that you will be prepared with what you can and can't do to collect in the event you need to.

ETA: Illinois also allows you to add interest to a judgment amount as well. I'm not sure what the current rate is, but it used to be 9%.
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Blackcat31 11:22 AM 12-07-2010
Once, loooong ago before I had my own childcare business, I worked at a childcare where the owner had a problem with a parent that owed her like $200. This provider would call and leave hundreds of messages with no response. She even drove over to parents house (parent lived in a huge apartment complex) and knocked and knocked. She knew parent was home but she refused to answer the door because she knew who was there and what she wanted. After this went on for a few months, the provider went out and bought a large neon green poster board. On the poster board she wrote:
DEAR JILL;
I WAS HERE TODAY TO COLLECT THE $200 YOU OWE ME FOR CHILDCARE. I AM HAVING TROUBLE GETTING A HOLD OF YOU SO I HOPE THIS HELPS! SIGNED,
LISA
She posted this "note" on her apartment door and well, wouldn't you know Jill was at her house the next day and paid in full!!!
She said she had only done that twice (once to Jill) and another time she left a hot pink "note" on a daycare dad's truck and both times the parent paid up rather QUICKLY!!!
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SandeeAR 12:03 PM 12-07-2010
[quote=MyAngels;62229] I always make a note of the banking information of all of my clients periodically just in case I should ever need this information later. QUOTE]


I make a copy of each check when paid, for my file. I even copy the cash one client uses to pay me each week. Note the childs name and date paid on it.
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Tags:late payment, lawyer, legal, money owed, non-payment, payment, small claims
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