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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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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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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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Ramona in Selden, NY
Feb. 10, 2019

I require payment beforehand to avoid a situation like this. If you aren't comfortable requiring the entire payment, I suggest at least requiring half. I was burned once many years ago and learned my lesson as you could take them to small claims court but I decided it wasn't worth it, I took the loss and changed my policy and everything has worked fine ever since. Good luck!

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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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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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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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