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  1. #1
    Join Date
    Jan 2010
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    18

    Default Client Won't Pay Independent Contractor's Bill

    My question involves business law in the state of: Michigan

    I was an independent contractor performing janitorial work for a large janitorial contracting company servicing some large retail stores. The company who contracted me is out of New York, but I am in Michigan. I had 6 accounts, all cleaned at the same time in the morning, so I had a worker doing the work at each store. Long story short, I only worked with this company for 17 days, but the amount they owe me is in the $4000 range. My contract states that I will not be paid until the contracting company had been paid by the customer, which they have. I was told to contact an administrative secretary for payment. We were in contact by phone and email for several weeks, and I was told it would be 4-6 weeks to receive my payment. After 8 weeks, I tried contacting the secretary again. After several emails and phone calls went unanswered to the administrative secretary, the regional manager email me and said she is not responsible for handling payment and she won't be returning any of my calls and emails. I then asked the regional manager in 3 separate emails, "who is responsible for paying me then"? I later verified that it was the regional manager himself who was the one who needed to authorize the pay. The problem is that he is ignoring me, will not answer any phone calls, texts, or emails. I've called the company attorney, we spoke briefly and he said he'd look into the matter, and never called me back. I then sent an email to the company attorney as well as the president of the company, with no response.

    It's pretty clear that they are just trying to give me the runaround and don't have any intentions of paying me. What are my options here? I've already tried contacting a few local attorneys who handle business law and never got a call back from them either!

  2. #2
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    Default Re: Client Won't Pay Independent Contractor's Bill

    If you are stating that their client has now paid them, but that they are not paying you, you can sue them for the money they owe.

    A $4,000 claim will be consumed by legal fees in short order - the lawyers are probably not calling you back because they know you're not going to pay them a five figure fee to collect a four figure debt.

  3. #3
    Join Date
    Jan 2010
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    18

    Default Re: Client Won't Pay Independent Contractor's Bill

    Quote Quoting Mr. Knowitall
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    If you are stating that their client has now paid them, but that they are not paying you, you can sue them for the money they owe.

    A $4,000 claim will be consumed by legal fees in short order - the lawyers are probably not calling you back because they know you're not going to pay them a five figure fee to collect a four figure debt.
    Thanks for the reply. That's exactly what I am saying, they've been paid but won't pay me. So, you are saying it's pointless to sue them because the legal fees would cost too much? Is the winning party not entitled to attorney's fees?

  4. #4
    Join Date
    Dec 2009
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    Default Re: Client Won't Pay Independent Contractor's Bill

    No he's saying it's pointless to try and hire a lawyer.

    Why don't you just file a claim in small claims court where you don't need a lawyer?

  5. #5
    Join Date
    Jul 2012
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    479

    Default Re: Client Won't Pay Independent Contractor's Bill

    "My contract states that I will not be paid until the contracting company had been paid by the customer, which they have."

    In future, I wouldn't agree to that kind of contract term. It would be a good idea to have a local attorney review contracts in future, or draft up one of your own. You'd want to include language about who is responsible for payment (naturally, you'd want to know even if it's a small company who their accounts payable folks are and who if anyone has to authorize paying the invoice).

    I sure hope that in this contract you didn't agree that NY would be the jurisdiction to settle any and all disputes instead of your state. If so, it likely wouldn't be worthwhile to pursue.

    "I then sent an email to the company attorney as well as the president of the company, with no response. "

    Please don't make the mistake of doing business by email. I'd send a certified demand letter.

    "What are my options here?"

    I think you know what your options are.

    You don't need an attorney to sue them in small claims.

  6. #6
    Join Date
    Jan 2010
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    18

    Default Re: Client Won't Pay Independent Contractor's Bill

    I just read through the contract and it does say that all disputes need to be handled in new york. What would happen if I filed a small claims case in Michigan anyways? There are several parts of the contract they did not abide by either.

    I purchased the accounts from the previous independent contractor, and found out he was employing a guy on disability who was not supposed to be working. I wanted to get rid of him and hire someone who was legal to work. I was told that if I got rid of him that they would get rid of me. All employees were being paid cash and not having taxes withheld, and they were not independent contractors. I tried putting these people on payroll but most wanted to quit because they wanted to be paid off the books. The company told me that if I lost the employees at 2 stores that I would lose my contract with them... but, I was only making these changes to abide by the law, and also their contract which states that all employees need to have taxes withheld and be legal. So, in essence, they were forcing me to break the law and their contract. If they aren't going to pay me, is there any government agency I should report this to that would penalize them for this? If they aren't going to pay me, I am going to be doing everything I can to make things hard for them... contacting all of their clients, the news, internet websites, etc.

  7. #7
    Join Date
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    Default Re: Client Won't Pay Independent Contractor's Bill

    If you file in Michigan they may appear and defend, appear and object to jurisdiction, or default and object when you try to register the judgment for enforcement in New York.

    If you believe somebody is improperly classifying employees or is engaged in tax fraud and are inclined to report your suspicions, the federal DOL and IRS, and any analogous state agencies, can take reports.

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