What to do if I invoiced a customer in full for a set of drawings and he gave me a partial payment for them but noted in the memo line “remainder to be paid upon approval of plans by the city”?

We have never discussed this type of agreement before. He has always paid in full on a net 10 as stated on my invoices. If I cash this check for partial payment am I bound the the arrangement as stated in the memo line. I am thinking of returning the check, and if payment is not made in full pulling the drawings out of the permitting process. In my eyes he has submitted an illegal set of copyrighted drawings without paying for them. In addition, do I have a legal right to get my drawings back?

Asked on January 30, 2013 under Business Law, North Carolina


FreeAdvice Contributing Attorney / FreeAdvice Contributing Attorney

Answered 7 years ago | Contributor

I would write your customer a note stating that payment for your services is per the terms of the written agreement signed by him or her with you and is not upon approval of the plans by the city. Keep a copy of the note for future use and need. If you do not get paid per terms of the agreement, your legal recourse would be to sue the customer for breach of contract. Asking for the return of the drawings back makes no sense. You want payment.

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