A client was three months late in paying. I suspected it was due to additional charges for requesting changes after a project had been finalized. They claimed to have sent a check after paying online didn’t work out, but it never arrived. I arranged to meet in person at a coffee shop near my 9-5 job (which is not related to my freelancing services). The client didn’t show up.
On my day off, my boss from my 9-5 calls and tells me to come to work immediately. I arrived and my client was there, chatting with my boss; they handed me an envelope and kept chatting. I excused myself while they continued to talk.
I opened the envelope to find a check for a little over half the amount owed. Suspecting shenanigans, I took a second to print out a copy of the signed work order and caught my client as they were about to leave.
Me: Hi there, it’s been a while. Is it ok if we go over this real quick before you leave?
Me: I just wanted to verify if this envelope contains the $XXX for the project here in this work order.
Client: Yeah, that’s the correct amount.
Me: Ok perfect. Is it ok if I open it now to double-check or can I trust that it contains the correct amount?
Client: You can check. It’s the correct amount.
I pulled out the check.
Me: Oh, I’m glad we looked. The check is written for $XX. I need an additional $XX to complete the total of $XXX for the project as agreed here on the work order.
Client: It’s $XXX!? No, let me see the work order. I don’t remember it being It’s $XXX.
Me: We went over it just now and you agreed that was the correct amount.
Client: Let me see if I have cash.
The client took back the check and paid the full amount in cash. I later found out they had a habit of bouncing checks.