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How To Deal With Deadbeat Customers

If you’re in business one time or another you’ll have to deal with deadbeat customers. Most people are decent honest people but there are many out there that are dishonest and trying to get something without paying for it. In retail stores the business owner may post bounced checks until payment is received. The Internet is a little different. Besides a bounced check, you might have received a credit card payment that resulted in a chargeback or payment was never received for work or services that you supplied. The longer I’m in business I see that more and more people are becoming dishonest.

This can make us angry and feel like a fool. Depending on which business you are in you’ll definitely need to work out a plan for what to do when you run up against a deadbeat customer. I don’t think that you need to radically change the way you do business or take it out on your next customer, just in case they turn out to be a deadbeat too. You just need to be smart when dealing with customers that you don’t know. You also need to expect that working with a deadbeat is one of the costs of doing business.

With selling web templates there is a lot of potential for buyer fraud. For this reason I screen all of my sales manually before I send out any download links. Customers may not like this but this is how I cut down on credit card frayd on my website. The other day I had this customer who didn’t pay their web hosting bill after 2 notices. I suspended the website and then they “paid” the web hosting bill. Three weeks after I reinstated the account they set up a hosting account somewhere else and requested a full refund of the hosting fee that they paid. Is that dishonest yes, definitely.

So, how can you protect yourself.

1)  NEVER begin any work without a partial payment.
2) Always use an agreement form or contract so that the dynamics of the project is noted.
3) If you are doing a project that involves graphics, watermark the images with your copyright.
4) Work on your own web server.
5) Only deliver the final project files after full payment has been received and check deposited into your account. No exceptions.

If your deadbeat is a business, you can report them to the following complaint sites:


If they stole from you, you can return the favor by stealing little bits of their reputation. I warn you to be careful with filing complaints because the deadbeats can do the same to your business. You might not have done anything wrong, but they’ll just make up something to ruin your reputation. Anything placed on the Internet will be there for years to come.



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October 27th, 2008 at 11:44 am

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