So how do I get my money now?
October 2, 2007 9:22 AM   Subscribe

I managed to sell a set of appliances without collecting the money on the spot, to someone I felt I could trust in this scenario. How do I get the money now?

The long version is: I moved from an apartment with washer/dryer hookups to one without. I therefore offered the new tenant taking over my lease on the old apartment the washer and dryer. He came over, gave them a look, and we agreed on a fair price, which he was to pay when he took possession of the keys from me, 2 months later.

Fast forward to moving day: everything is moved to the new place. Washer and dryer are left behind, and I get a call from the new tenant, apologizing for not being able to meet me as planned, as he's stuck at work and won't be home when his movers get there. He asks me to go leave the door unlocked and the keys on the counter so his roommate and the movers can get in, and he'll make sure his roommate brings a check to my new address that night. Nothing materialized.

The following day, I texted him a terse "your guy failed to show up last night, please ensure he delivers the check tonight without fault", hoping to convey my irritation through the message. He immediately replied with "yeah, sorry about that, we've been really busy, we'll drop it off tonight". Nothing that night either.

Now, I'm on day 3 living in the new place, and I've had a really stressful week with the huge cost, logistics and bureaucracy involved in moving; I want to get the money owed to me. I am inclined to trust this guy more than a random anonymous buyer, because, well, I can't imagine anyone would try ripping someone off when that someone knows his real name, phone number, and address. But I can't shake the growing suspicion that something shady is going on. Our relationship has been cordial to this point, how do I politely push things forward now?

Ah, location is Gatineau (QC), Canada.
posted by paperclip to Work & Money (18 answers total) 4 users marked this as a favorite
Best answer: Show up on his doorstep and say "I was in the neighbourhood and I thought I'd stop by and pick up that check".
posted by fshgrl at 9:26 AM on October 2, 2007 [4 favorites]

totally. go there.
posted by letahl at 9:34 AM on October 2, 2007

Call/text the guy first to be sure he is home and then conveniently knock on the door. If he doesn’t have the check ask him what time he is available tomorrow so you can get the check or pick up the units.
posted by doorsfan at 9:36 AM on October 2, 2007

I'd go so far as to show up with a van, a dolly and some large guys. Claim your check and if nothing materializes, take the appliances.
posted by spec80 at 9:40 AM on October 2, 2007 [1 favorite]

Response by poster: I was trying to avoid going over there as I was afraid it would give off a vibe of a weaker position (ie: I'd look like I'm capitulating), but it looks like the community likes this answer and I'll try it tonight!

I can't do the van, dolly, and large guys thing of course because that would cost more than the 200$ I'm getting for the used appliances.
posted by paperclip at 9:49 AM on October 2, 2007

let us know what happens!
posted by doorsfan at 9:55 AM on October 2, 2007

Best answer: Be sure to get cash, not a check. It might not be a bad idea to take a friend, either. Not specifically as a threat but it's always helpful to have a bit of support in a situation like that.
posted by 6550 at 10:12 AM on October 2, 2007

Response by poster: I've enlisted a friend! We're heading there at 9:00 PM tonight. I'll post updates.
posted by paperclip at 10:31 AM on October 2, 2007

It's day 3? Personally, I'd still probably give the guy the benefit of the doubt toward "slacker" rather than "scammer." But yeah, show up in the neighborhood and tell the guy that you were counting on having that money right away and therefore please fork it over.

If he's all gracious, you can soften up. If he doesn't get it or gives more excuses, stay terse until the cash is in your fist.
posted by desuetude at 11:10 AM on October 2, 2007

::waits with baited breath for follow-up::
posted by ThePinkSuperhero at 8:12 PM on October 2, 2007 [1 favorite]

Response by poster: This is a disappointing follow-up: we swung by my old apartment around 9:00, and there was no one there. We're going back tomorrow. Interesting fact, though, is that day 3 ends with still no check delivered here.
posted by paperclip at 8:38 PM on October 2, 2007

Bummer. I'm sucked in now, though; so you'll have to keep us updated.
posted by ThePinkSuperhero at 9:01 PM on October 2, 2007 [1 favorite]

posted by spec80 at 9:02 PM on October 2, 2007

Bummer. I'm sucked in now, though; so you'll have to keep us updated.

me too...this is the best kind of reality TV. Good Luck!
posted by doorsfan at 10:59 AM on October 3, 2007

Response by poster: Final update: I got the payment for the appliances I sold. Here's what happened...

I called the guy again tonight, got his voicemail after 5 rings. Hmmm. So his phone is on but he's not picking up. I texted him to say I'd "be in his neighbourhood" later that night, asking to meet him, and he texted back that he wasn't sure that would work as he'd be going out for dinner around 10:20 (I texted him around 10:00, IIRC). Spurred on by the slight doubt in our minds, a friend and I decided to drive over anyway and see if anyone was home.

We got there to find the guy's roomate (the one who was ostensibly supposed to drop a check in my mailbox 3 days ago) and his girlfriend. He's familiar with the story about them buying the old washer and dryer, but says he wasn't aware that I'd been told he'd deliver a check - he just assumed his roomate (the guy I made the sale to) would be paying me. For those following at home: at this point, we know one of the two (I'll never know which) is lying. He tries to call his roomate himself, and gets no answer either. Luckily, he wants to make sure everything is put right and offers to pay me himself.

At this point I'm (justifiably?) filled with a bit of skepticism when he says he doesn't actually have the funds to pay me 200$, and neither does his girlfriend. They offer to drive to the casino (Canadian mefites: this would be the Casino de Hull) with me, get a cash advance off a credit card, and pay me there on the casino floor. I'm extremely doubtful he can't come up with such an amount in cash, but figure this will make for an interesting night, so with a glance in my friend's direction to confirm he's OK with this, we drive out to the casino.

[Side note: at this point I'm thinking that if this is indeed a complex scheme to avoid paying me, it's so elaborate that they almost deserve to win, so I resolve to let it go if it does turn out to be a con, at least for the money I'd get a good story to tell.] Once there, he goes off to get a cash advance, we chatted with his girlfriend a bit and I played a 0.25$ slot machine, doubling my investment to 0.50$. He came back a few minutes later, gave me two bills, and we left after shaking hands. Everything's wrapped up, and this was one of the more interesting nights of the week.
posted by paperclip at 9:25 PM on October 3, 2007

It's a shame he had to pay a fee for his credit card advance at the Casino. You should have had him buy you a $200 gift card somewhere you would be sure to use it.
posted by thilmony at 7:11 AM on October 4, 2007

I'm glad it all worked out, paperclip!
posted by spec80 at 7:13 AM on October 4, 2007

Good for you for making him hold up in his end of the deal. Cash advance on a credit card on the casino floor, good night.
posted by ThePinkSuperhero at 7:53 AM on October 4, 2007 [1 favorite]

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