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What if my customer doesn’t pay?

Posted on May 17, 2017

This article is written from a Manitoba, Canada perspective.

Virtually all businesses have gone through the experience of trying to collect on late payments. What options are available when a customer just won’t pay.

The small claims court in Manitoba will deal with disputes up to amounts of $10,000. Court dates are often scheduled several months in advance and lawyers are not required. If you have clear documentation that your customer owes you money then the judge will likely rule in your favour. The time in front of the judge may be as little as 5 minutes, however, this whole process may take several hours of your time over a few different days. Once you have received a court order by the judge there are a few options available to actually collect.

1) Garnishment – If you know where the individual/business works or banks you can file to have the bank or employer pay you directly.

2) Lien – If the individual/business owns land or buildings you can place a lien on their property. This won’t produce any immediate money, however, the property can not be sold until the lien is lifted by you (after you have collected your money first).

3) Sheriff’s – If the individual owns personal property that can be sold to provide payment. The Sheriff’s department will attempt to collect the amount owing. If the defendant refuses to pay, the Sheriff’s may seize and sell their personal property to pay the amount of the judgement.