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  1. #1
    Shy
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    Should I take a parent to small claims?

    Hello there,
    Forgive me if there are similiar thread on here but I am new to the board & have not yet read every post.
    I have been in the home day care business for 19 years & have never had this problem before but now have a parent that is not paying on time.She is a single parent to two lovely girls & putting herself through college.The father only supports when he feels like it (so she claims) but she has a supporting boyfriend as well as supporting parents.The girls often tell me how they have been to the mall to buy new clothes,toys,etc. Mother ,herself, wears designer label clothes, has I pod/I phone etc.I even go out of my way to collect them from home to bring to my place as mother does not drive.All extra gas money for me.
    She is supposed to pay bi-weekly & I do have a written contract with her.However, she is not paying on time...every so often she gives me $150 ,or so, with promises that the rest will be payed in a few days.This has been going on for a few months now & she is hundreds of dollars in debt.
    To be honest it is stressing me out & I am not sleeping properly,at night.I live pay check to pay check myself as well as paying for my daughter to attend university.I feel that if I give her notice I will never see my money at all.But,I don't want to be taken for a fool & let her get away with it.Fed up of her constant excuses.I feel for the girls as they are the trus victims in all of this.I think if truth be known she has probaly done this to other day care providers.
    Do you think I should just cut my losses & give her notice or take to small claims? Any legal advice, suggestions, etc would be greatly appreciated.Look forward to your ideas & comments.Thank you all in advance.

  2. #2
    Starting to feel at home...
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    I'd say it depends on how much she owes you. Cos you'll need to pay for a lawyer to represent you so only you can figure out if it would be worth it to go to court. If it were me, I would terminate immediately for non payment of fees. Don't give her anymore chances! With people like that, you might not get your money even if you took them to court.

    I can't believe you've watched her two kids for this long for free, basically. She's disrespecting you and you're allowing her to continue to disrespect you.

  3. #3
    Euphoric ! Inspired by Reggio's Avatar
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    It is hard on our business to find the balance to tuck our heart away and not let it influence business decisions because we tend to always put everyone elses needs first as caregivers and nurturers ~ however we are not a charitable organization!

    My policy is no payment in advance of care than no SERVICE regardless of the 'reason' you claim you cannot pay ... so yes if I had a client who fell in adheres with their payment I would terminate service and I would expect them to 'settle' their account or either send it to collections or small claims court. However I hope to never be in this position because my policies are designed to prevent it ~ clients pay a two week security deposit and pay in advance of care ~ so if a payment issue arose I have the 'deposit' to cover and lack of notice or bounced cheque.
    Children construct their own intelligence. The adult must provide activities and context, but most of all must be able to listen. Children need proof that adults believe in them. Their three great desires are to be listened to, to understand, and to demonstrate that they are exactly what we expect."
    Loris Malaguzzi

  4. #4
    Euphoric !
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    I think I would tell her at pick up the amount she owes you and tell her you need it paid tomorrow. I woukd also have a letter outlining this as well. If she shows up tomorrow without full payment I would not accept the kids into care. Also notify her that fees will now be paid in advance .... No pay no stay.... Inform her that failure to pay will result in legal action. If she shows up with partial payment take it ... But don't take the kids ..... No point going further into debt .... How would she like it if at the end of the week her boss said "oh sorry I don't have the money to pay you"?

  5. #5
    Euphoric !
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    You would probably do better to use a collections service rather than small claims court due to the costs involved - although they would be claimable as a daycare expense but collections is a lot less work for you since once you pass the amount over the rest is up to them.

    I agree that it is time to make up a chart of the amount owed and give it to the parent with a deadline to settle the account or risk losing services. Following that the money is due on Monday at drop off in cash - I wouldn't be taking a cheque from someone like this due to risk of bouncing. If she only brings part of the money then the girls stay according to how far the money goes be it 2 days, 3 days whatever. It is a no pay no stay policy for sure with these people because they are not valuing your service as a necessity.

  6. #6
    Expansive... BlueRose's Avatar
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    My contract stats :

    LATE PAYMENT FEE

    $10.00 per day (including weekends) that payment is not received. Therefore, if the fee is not paid by 5:30pm on Friday, a late fee of $10.00/day will be due with your payment. Continued late payments will result in termination of our agreement. Your child may NOT attend daycare until your fees are paid, unless arrangements have been made in writing. You still have to pay for the days your child misses due to non-payment in order to hold your spot.
    This helps to prevent Most people from paying late. It also gives you extra money, if they don't pay on time. Your bills wont wait to be paid why should you wait.
    my contract also stats:
    We agree that if we end up in court over money or any other reasons (payment for services, reimbursement cost etc. ) all court fees are our responsibility and not that of Valerie's Home Daycare (Valerie XXXXX) or any members of her family or staff. We are also responsible to cover any and all wages lost to Valerie XXXXXXX, any of her family member an any and all staff who have had to miss work do to going to court for any reason. We will also pay for any staff required to cover the daycare for days Valerie XXXXXX has to attend court or meet with her layer. We are aware that if any payments of fees or reimbursements are not made Valerie's Home Daycare can have a collections Agency collect the money on Valerie XXXXXXX's behalf.
    unless the courts over turn this, it helps scare clients into paying on time, this way they don't have to pay all this extra money, or have to deal with a collection agency, which will reflect on their credit.
    And yes all my clients have read and sign my contract. I have them do this in front of me. No one has questioned these policies.

  7. #7
    Euphoric ! Dreamalittledream's Avatar
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    Oh wow; you are incredibly sweet to have done so much for her! And this is how she pays you back? How ungrateful!!! Do you know how many moms would be ecstatic over a pick-up/drop off service? Hope you're including a fee for that too? I'm hoping that with the threat of you pulling care she will step up, realise what an ideal situation she has going there & pay you regularly and give you the respect you deserve!! Wondering why she doesn't qualify for some kind of subsidy?
    Children are great imitators.
    So give them something great to imitate.

    ~Anonymous~

  8. #8
    apples and bananas
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    I think I would go the collections route too.

    I don't think any way you do it you'll get your money. You could refuse care... but she will probably just leave. You could demand it, but you probably wont get it. You could develop a payment plan with her, but that may just put you farther in the hole.

    I would cut my losses, demand payment in full by the end of the week otherwise no care will be provided next week and hope you can get something from her and then threaten her with collections come monday.

    Best of luck to you. I can see how this would spiral out of control. This is exactly why we have payment policies and need to stick with them.

  9. #9
    Euphoric !
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    Just wanted to add that if you decided to take her to small claims court...you DO NOT NEED a lwayer. You can represent yourself and the judges are actually a little more lenient on you as you are not expected to know every bit of the law. My husband has done it twice and won each time...it is a lot of work on your part, but very little money. The process can take months and months though as the court date will be set for months down the road.

  10. #10
    Outgoing
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    WOW! Im sorry if this sounds harsh, but I cant believe you have let this go on for so long...I would have addressed it after first or second failure to pay. You need to nib this in the bud and if that means you lose a client, so be it....You need to demand the payment she owes you, and then start looking for another client who respects you to replace her.

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