San Diego, CA asked in Civil Rights, Construction Law, Small Claims and Business Law for California

Q: So I’m a small business owner and my client refused to pay the ending balance on her invoice for $3500 what can I do

2 Lawyer Answers
James L. Arrasmith
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  • Civil Rights Lawyer
  • Sacramento, CA
  • Licensed in California

A: Under California law, when facing a situation where a client refuses to pay the remaining balance on an invoice, you have several avenues to consider. Initially, you should attempt to resolve the dispute amicably by communicating directly with the client. It's beneficial to review the contract or agreement you had with the client to ensure all terms were met and to discuss any discrepancies or misunderstandings that may have led to non-payment. Documenting these communications is crucial for any future steps you might take.

If these efforts do not result in payment, you may consider sending a formal demand letter. This letter should detail the services provided, the amount due, and a deadline for payment. It serves as a formal notice to the client of their obligation to pay and the potential consequences of failing to do so, including legal action. This step often prompts payment, as it shows seriousness in pursuing the owed amount.

Should the demand letter not achieve the desired outcome, pursuing legal action might be necessary. For claims of $3,500, small claims court is an appropriate and cost-effective venue. You can file a claim in the small claims court in the county where your client lives or where the contract was executed. Small claims court in California allows you to represent yourself, making it a more straightforward process. However, preparing your case thoroughly by gathering all contracts, communications, and proof of the services provided will be essential for a successful outcome.

Tim Akpinar agrees with this answer

Tim Akpinar
Tim Akpinar
  • Construction Law Lawyer
  • Little Neck, NY

A: If you want to save on legal costs and are willing to go the do-it-yourself route, small claims could be a good option. Good luck

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