When Do I Cancel My Agreement For Non-Payment of Expert Witness Fees?

Posted by John Ulzheimer - October 6, 2011 - Credit - No Comments

When Do I Cancel My Agreement For Non-Payment of Expert Witness Fees?

It’s uncommon but there’s always the difficult credit damage expert client.  Not a client who bothers you excessively, but a client who can’t seem to find his or her checkbook.  Don’t get me wrong, I am the most flexible “vendor” in the world but eventually you have to draw a line in the sand and cut your client loose for non-payment.

We’d all love to always have a fully secured workload but charging a high enough retainer, but that just isn’t realistic (unless you want to push clients away).  And we can send emails until the cows come home asking for payment but if someone isn’t going to pay their bills then, well, they’re just not going to pay their bills.

The following phrase appears in every single one of my retainer agreements for the credit expert witness work I do.. “If any charge or amount provided for herein is not paid or advanced within thirty (30) days from date of invoice or demand, a late charge equal to 1.5% per month of the delinquency shall accrue and shall entitle Company, at its option, to immediately terminate this Agreement or suspend the rendition of services thereunder.”

Basically that sentence allows me to cancel my agreement if the outstanding amount becomes too high, in my mind.  I’ve even started charging pro se plaintiffs twice the retainer that I’d charge a law firm.  Why?  I do that because you can’t file a complaint with the state bar association on a consumer…but you can on a delinquent law firm.

I try to be incredibly flexible with past due clients.  I offer payment plans, early application of retainer, and anything else that’s reasonable.  What I will NOT do is settle for a lesser amount.  That just isn’t going to happen.

I ask for net 30 terms and the most I’ll let a client go is 30 days past due before they get a friendly reminder email about their invoice.  The most a client has ever gone without paying me is 12 months.  I’ve had pro se clients file bankruptcy and I just simply wrote off their bills as non-collectable.

At the end of the day you’re your own business so you have to make up your own mind regarding what you’ll accept as far as delinquency.  But, as a credit guy I can tell you that the longer the bill goes unpaid the less likely it is to eventually be paid.