If a customer agreed to pay for shipping for a commissioned painting but they have yet to pay me, what legal action can I take?

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If a customer agreed to pay for shipping for a commissioned painting but they have yet to pay me, what legal action can I take?

A customer agreed to pay $1000 plus shipping for a commissioned painting. I mailed it months ago and from the exact date I mailed it (and therefore requested payment) his grandmother convenietly broke her hip. Then 2 weeks after him being unable to pay me because he was at the hospital, and then her funeral, he managed to have a car wreck. He was then unable to pay me because he was in the hospital but he promised his secretary would make the transaction. I have yet to hear from any secretary, see any money, and now they have stopped responding all together. What legal action can I take? Its been 3 months.

Asked on December 3, 2011 under Bankruptcy Law, Kansas

Answers:

SJZ, Member, New York Bar / FreeAdvice Contributing Attorney

Answered 10 years ago | Contributor

You can sue the customer. If you can prove the existence of an agreement whereby the customer would pay you the $1,000 plus shipping, and can also establish that you did the work and shipped the item, you should have a very strong case. Unfortunately, there is no way to recover the money but by suing; given the cost of hiring an attorney, you may wish, especially if you have good evidence (e.g. written agreement; proof of delivery) to consider representing yourself. Otherwise, the cost of an attorney could equal or exceed what you hope to recover.


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