What do I do if I'm boarding a pet and the owner refuses to pay me?

This is a hypothetical question. Say that I have a dog boarding at my house and everything went fine, but the owner comes and can't or won't pay. What should I do? Just take the loss and document it?

Answers
Terri in Holland, MI
Feb. 2, 2019

Hello! I have never had a problem with pet parents paying me either to board their beloved pets or go to their home to care for the dogs, cats, fish or birds left in my care. Before you accept a position, please make sure what is expected beforehand; a contract may be going too far but a verbal agreement should spell everything out. You could take the loss, document what went down and move on to a more lucrative arrangement with the next family who will absolutely love you!

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I would call the police, I could hold the dog/pet till I get paid. Or have them sign a paper contract stating all that is required by your services before hand.

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Ashley in Orem, UT
Dec. 4, 2019

I would threaten legal action against them and report them to care.com or whatever service you found them through. You probably won't get your money unless you convince them that it's worth it to. Which is why I always threaten legal action and to call the police to incentivize that they don't steal my wages from me. There's not much else you can do other than get their accounts taken down on the service you booked them through for not being an honest client and stealing from you. I would threaten to call the police and take legal action and if that doesn't work then tell them that you have reported them to care.com and their account will be taken down if they don't pay you. It probably will as I'm sure care.com would protect you and future caregivers given that you did perform the stay, but as a last resort I would remind them of that hoping they would pay.

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I do not board pets.

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if its over 100.00 you can go to small claims court

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To get their dog back they should pay you. But, to avoid an argument you may be taking a loss. You can report them to police, or you could give your clients a bill before their animals are dropped off and have a claus that states they much pay for boarding when they pick up the animal. This way you avoid problems.

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i would contact care.com

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User in Lutz, FL
Aug. 19, 2019

You should be taking deposits and have a contract with each pet you care for.

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I would say no. They need to pay for service provided. What is the reason for not being able to pay? I would keep the dog until they came back with money, giving a dead line or call the police. It sounds harsh but they should never have asked for pet care if they don't have the money.

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Sharon in Aurora, IL
July 19, 2019

Send a certified letter demanding payment. If no response, make a police report for theft of service. Do not accept a partial payment, if you do there's no criminal recourse, would have to file a civil law suit. Doucument all correspondence.

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I would explain to them why you need to be payed. For example, you pet sat their dog for them and without you, their dog would be lonely.

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Yes count it as a loss.

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Linda in Bedford, TX
July 6, 2019

Try to be straight up front before entering into the contract and next time go through one of the many applications such as Care.com, Rover.com or Wag.com. Unfortunately, you might have to forfeit the money and not available to repeat with this customer.

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you can report them to care.com

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videotape it for safety and report them

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User in Renton, WA
July 2, 2019

I would say keep contacting them to remind them they have to pay you. If that doesn't work, you should hire a lawyer and possibly call a collection agency to help you get your money that you are owed. If you don't want to take those steps then you have to take the loss.

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For the first time I pet sit for someone, I take 1/2 of payment beforehand and then the balance when they pick up. This way we both can be sure we are happy with the care and I am only out 1/2 of it if they refuse to pay. I make sure I explain this to them when I do my 'meet and greet" ahead of time. It would be unfortunate if they didn't pay, but at least you would not be out the entire amount, you could decline to sit for them again if asked and you could leave a negative (not rude) review and be done with it. Good luck! Sherry

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Yes, you document it but you do not take the loss. You invoice them and put it off until they can pay the money. If they still don't pay you after dog boarding, they no longer can be your client.

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Lee in Raleigh, NC
June 25, 2019

That is one of the reasons i never board any ones pet...

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Well, you can't really force them to pay you. But you can report the incident to Care.com and leave that person a review saying that they didn't pay

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Continue to call customer until payed and notify Care.com

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I say just don't work for that person anymore.

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I would point out that they said they would pay and politely ask them.

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I would make up a basic contract and have the owner sign before the stay. This contract would cover both you and the client in the event that something should go wrong. In the event the client doesn't want to pay you could get the authorites involved and you have proof of intent to pay with that contract. No pay, No pet.

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just know you wont go back and pet sit for them and tell others about it

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I personally, depending on my relationship with the owner (if it is a long time client, or someone I just started sitting for) would just take it as a loss, and document it.

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You need to document this and reach out to Care. That is unacceptable and the owner should be held accountable.

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I have been pet sitting for over 10 years, for countless families, and I haven't come across this issue yet. Personally, I would just take the loss and remember to not provide services for that family in the future. You could also leave a review discussing what happened. If you are boarding for an extended period of time and it is a significant loss, you have a right to take the matter to court. You offered a service for an agreed upon price, the pet owner was aware of the price and received your service, and then refused to pay you for that service after it was complete (which is illegal). This does of course take time and money, so it would have to be worth it for you to go through all of that. Now, if it is a situation where the owner had some sort of unexpected emergency and suddenly doesn't have the money to pay when picking up their pet, you could try and work out a schedule to receive the payment in increments until the service is paid off.

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Be sure to have every client sign a pet Sitting contract detailing the agreements. If they cannot afford the bill in one lump sum, offer a payment plan option. If they won't pay, you can take the issue to small claims court. If you have the documentation and signatures, then your bases are covered.

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You should try to limit communication to care.com only, so the terms that are agreed upon are visible to care.com. Then, contact care.com for more information regarding the next steps to getting paid.

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Ester in Hayward, CA
May 29, 2019

Payment should be arranged and paid for in advance of service rendered.

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Well, to resolve the problem by the root. You need to discuss your pay that needs to be attributed daily. And if by any concern you don't get paid, you must return the dog immediately.

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Interesting scenario. You can't exactly hold the dog for ransom, but you can report the owner to Care.com and make sure they can't get people to board their dog in the future. Also, I recommend taking the money up front so you don't run into a situation like that.

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I would document the situation and be flexible and understaning to have a payment plan for this person as well as try to see their point of view. Make sure to ask them questions to see why they aren't paying you for your service.

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I suppose so, yes.

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Contact the company that hired you and work out a payment plan. Pet-Sitting is no different than any other job so you should get paid....no if, and, or buts! Sitters depend on that pay to also pay their bills and I KNOW i WOULD want to be paid for the time and love you have given their pet!

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Yes. Document it and take the loss.

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I'm not sure if this is an option but maybe you can write a bad review and hopefully, no one else applies for his/her jobs when they're posted until he/she learns to not do it again and writes it in his/her description o the job. Again, I'm not sure if this is possible, I'd just email the care.com team.

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I would find that scenario hard to understand. However, I would likely bring the pet home.

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Andy in Milford, CT
April 29, 2019

If the owner cannot conceive of ever paying you, is there some way to compel the owner? Is there a feedback system like with eBay?

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Marcia in McKinney, TX
April 29, 2019

Basically yes.

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Try to get the payment before boarding, if possible. If not, and they absolutely refuse, I would take the loss and document it. Maybe try and let people know that they scammed you so they can be wary and know to get payment ahead of time.

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Lindsay in Moscow, ID
April 22, 2019

That would be a tricky situation. I have no firsthand experience with this, but I suppose all I can say is take preventative measures. Try to put down a firm and unbreakable agreement before housing the pet, and be choosy about who's hiring you. If, despite your efforts, it does happen, I'd report the user and take action against happening to others if possible. I'm not sure how you would make up the loss of money, time and effort.

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Yes, and don't place them on the list anymore

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If you go through Rover or meowtel, that can't happen. that's why I like both of them. they deal with the money and they pay me after the client pays them. However, they do take 20% (for Rover) and 18% (for Meowtel for cats). I don't think there's anything you can do if a client decides not to pay you. I guess maybe you can refuse to give them their pet and call the police but I don't think i'd go that route. why didn't they want to pay you? I definitely wouldn't pet sit for them again.

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Contact the Care.com team. I have not experienced this yet but ideally, you should take half the payment prior to the job.

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Report it to care.com and they will be banished

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Tiana in Haledon, NJ
April 5, 2019

Contact Care.com customer service, keep all your documentation including photo's/text message's and phone calls.

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User in Colonia, NJ
April 3, 2019

You get pmnt for boarding up front.. but it is always a RISK they won't return for their pet also...

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depends on the family situation but if they don't wanna pay then ya I wouldn't go back just document it and take the loss

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I would suggest you don't allow the opportunity to present itself. I always require payment in advance and in full within 2 days of the start of service. I also require a signed service agreement. You can pursue it in court if you have to and always return the animal to its owners. No need for an argument. You have legal recourse, or you can write it off. From what I hear from other pet sitters that kind of thing is rare and when it does happen it tends to be from people who rent and do not own the place they're living in.

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Nancy in Durham, NC
March 25, 2019

Yes, take it as a loss and document it so that they can't take advantage of any other care giver.

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Karen in Greenbrae, CA
March 23, 2019

I have a payment policy for boarders to pay in advance since I will be outlaying costs to board and care for your pet.

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I would stop sitting for the owners dog and yes I would document it.

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Catherine in Canton, GA
March 19, 2019

I don't Board pets

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Juan in Grayslake, IL
March 17, 2019

I will document the loss and also i will try to make a deal with the owner trying to find a solution that works for the both of us. Maybe he cant pay that day but he could do it next day, or in the next daycare.

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Nora in Toledo, OH
March 2, 2019

I owned and operated a large boarding kennel for 25 years. In my experience I suggest you begin with a written agreement, which they MUST read and sign before you consent. If they're expecting your services by design, then you expect to be paid in accordance! You also need to protect yourself from liabilities arising from illnesses or self-inflicted injuries, treatment cost reimbursements, and course of action protocol for injuries to you and/or the pet. The American Pet Boarding Association (ABKA) used to offer a simple but clear contract agreement. You might also check into some on-line legal sites seen in TV advertisements. The only one I am personally familiar with is rocketlawyer.com You can also consider requiring a partial down payment to new clients until their 4th time. Choose a standard percentage for everyone, and hold the payment until they return and pay in full. If they resist, then it's an indication of concerns. A signed agreement in any genre between the client an the provider is your best asset. It's a professional approach which generates respect, proper communication, and confidence on both sides. I hope this has been helpful. Good Luck!

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I think, this can happened, but I be tell thank you for enjoing your beautiful dogy

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call the police and show your contract to the police or you can call care.com

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First of all, you always have to keep a patient mood and try to talk with the owner, but if not, take the loss and document. Think about what you did to the dog.

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Sahara in Omaha, NE
Feb. 23, 2019

I really don't know what else you could do. There is small claims court that you could threaten them with to see if that will sway them to pay you in fear of being taken to court. Maybe type up a professional letter and send it to them, or if you know a lawyer that would vouch and stamp/sign it for cheap as well.This is all depending on how much they owe you, or how determined for justice you are!

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Hello! I am so sorry that you are going through this and it is not an easy thing to go through. I would first contact care.com and tell them exactly what is going on. After that try talking to the owner again and if both of those things don't work, I am so sorry. I recommend looking at the care.com "ways not get scammed" post because I found it really helpful for me. I am so sorry again and I hope you will never have to go through that.

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In a similar situation, I would contact Care.com to see what they can do to handle it. You may be out some money from it, but I believe there are rules and guidelines regarding it. I'm sure that at the very least, the user will be removed from Care.com.

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Keep reminding them they owe you your paymemt, offer them every option to make it easier for them, pay pal, square cash, monthly payments. If they are just not good people spread the word so they can't take advantage of someone else. I hope you never have to go thru that but if you do, i hope that helps.

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Have owners pre pay and provide money back if boarding is cut short?

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User in Stratford, CT
Feb. 17, 2019

Have them pay when they first bring their dog, or half when they first drop their dog off, then the other half when she comes to pick him up.

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Lachelle in Kelso, WA
Feb. 17, 2019

The I am interviewed, I am also doing my own interview of the folks for which I may sit. I have declined sits when it seems there may be problems.

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Either keep him until they pay or tell them you will be taking him to a non kill shelter.

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When you bring your pet to board at any kennel you have to give a deposit AND your credit card info to have on file for the billing. If you/they don't have the capability of doing that, they should have to give you a fairly large deposit.

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Ask about gift cards. Ultimately, look at it as doing something nice for the animal that needed someone's care.

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Every situation like this is difficult and different. It's a judgement call. If you have a business, you could try claiming it on your taxes as a business loss. You could take them to small claims court, but you never know what they might do to get even. If it's a small amount of money, I would take the loss and report them on these pet sites somehow as a bad client.

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You can file a complaint if you are a business, or if you've accepted the job via Care.com. If the amount owed is not more than the fees to file small claims than I'd avoid spending the extra money. If you have any documents of agreement of pay then you can withhold the animal. Best advise if boarding, make them pay beforehand with a service that provides coverage, not PayPal Friends.

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I would always get paid prior to the job if it's boarding, or overnight stay.

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I would first off with any boarding have a contract...then if they don't pay you have something that would hold up in small claims court.

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then call me to help you

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If the customer really can't pay at all then I would personally let it go as only a one time thing, however, if the customer won't pay then that is something that I would fight for in a mature/relaxed manner. I'd imagine that the owners here are very respectable and reasonable, so I doubt that this hypothetical would ever come to play.

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Mikala in Tampa, FL
Feb. 8, 2019

Hi! This has happened to one of my friends too! The mature way to go about the situation is to request payment at the end of the week or by a specific deadline. If they refuse tell them that you cannot continue providing care for their pet.

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If they owe you for labor services you you can put a lien on the property. Or hold the animal until payment is recieved.

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file a suit in small claims court

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User in Salem, OR
Feb. 7, 2019

Can it be a write-off or expense of running business?

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I would kindly ask the owner to pay me, if he/she doesn't, must have a reasonable explanation, we could see if we can find some common ground. If it doesn't work I would simply take legal action.

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User in Raleigh, NC
Feb. 7, 2019

File a small claims action against them. You don't need an attorney do that.

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Be nice about it but do not work for that person unless they are going to pay you.

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If they are from your area, I would make sure other people know that they didn't pay. If it's enough to get a case started with small claims court, I would try doing that too. I would keep all the documents you have, messages on Care.com, text messages, anything.

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Firstly, I suggest that you document everything and approach the situation calmly. Asking questions is key, figure out exactly why the owner refuses to pay.If the owner can't pay then come up with a solution on how the owner can pay you back or come up with a proper due date. If these don't work then things will have to get serious. This is a form of business and you provided your service and didn't get your pay.

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Give the pet back, and contact the local PD. Maybe they have a suggestion. Next time create a signed contract.

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I would document when and how much the owner owes me. I would wait until they can come up with the money, and if they can't I would contact care.com

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Give the pet back first and keep in contact with the owner till they can pay. Weekly invoicing.

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Tammy in Groton, CT
Feb. 4, 2019

Try to get a deposit in advance. Be as amicable about it as possible it is a possible referral down the road, always good to have a credit card on file and you can take advance payment with a contract in place.

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Cailyn in Boise, ID
Feb. 3, 2019

If they can't pay because they don't have the money help them out. If they have the money and refuse to pay you then you should report them.

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Mary in Loveland, CO
Feb. 3, 2019

May be too late but always get payment upfront before starting job

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Do your best to get everything in writing. You may have to take the loss this time around. For next time, have them utilize the care.com payment system, or make the payment once you arrive for the job. I try to have a money discussion early in the conversation since it can be a deal breaker for either party.

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User in Boulder, CO
Feb. 2, 2019

I would have every client pay upfront to avoid this situation completely.

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Well that's a difficult question when you don't know the circumstances. I would first sit down and see if we could work something out. If they were determine not to pay me I guess i would have to move on. i'm a dog and cat sitter and i haven't had that problem. Most people are honest.

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Yes, take the loss and maybe post a bad review.

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if you just hire me you can paid me with money and paid on gift card it is okay to do so thank you

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I would personally take the loss if they refused to pay but I wouldn't board for them again. If they simply couldn't afford it I would ask them to pay as soon as they could and if they couldn't I would let it go but not provide them with services.

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Terry in Hornbeak, TN
Jan. 31, 2019

We would calmly sit down and have a discussion with the owner and figure out why they can't/won't pay. We do not believe in confrontation and are sure we could come up with some kind of agreement/conclusion.

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I usually ask for the payment upfront or a down payment. You could request a check and hold till the end date of services.

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Fist find out why. Is there a reason, like for instance they are unhappy with your service or is it just because they are unable to pay due to an unexpected expense. If it is the latter, ask why they will be able to pay and if they can pay at least 50% then and 50% at a later date. Are they able to use a cc instead of check? If so maybe they can sign up for PayPal and use that service if you don't offer CC at the time of service. If they are unhappy with your service then ask why and possibly offer a 10% discount. For sure document it but try to resolve it if possible.

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I say you let the owner know that you took good care of their pet and if they refuse to pay you let them know that you will report them to HR.

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Ainslee in Fresno, CA
Jan. 31, 2019

If they refuse to pay, id make sure to spread the word about them, so no one else gets scammed.

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Taking the client to court would not be worth it. I would notify Care.com about the non-payment of the for future reference.

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