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Customer Refusing to Pay for Work Done? Demand Payment or Take Them to Court.

by | Apr 23, 2022 | Plaintiff | 0 comments

It’s a situation that many of us dread – the customer is refusing to pay for work done! Whether you’re a freelancer, a contractor, or a small business owner, dealing with non-payment of invoice laws can be frustrating and financially straining. In this blog post, we’ll explore the steps you can take to address this issue and recover your hard-earned money by writing a letter to the customer refusing to pay or taking the matter to small claims court. It’s not as hard as you think!

Communication is Key

When faced with non-payment, the first step is to attempt open and honest communication with the client. Politely inquire about the payment status and clarify any issues or concerns they may have. Sometimes, a simple reminder can prompt clients to fulfill their payment obligations. Keep a record of all communications, including emails, messages, or phone calls, as this documentation will be valuable if the situation escalates to court.

Review Any Contract and Documentation

If the client continues to withhold payment, refer back to the original contract or agreement you had in place. Ensure you have fulfilled all the terms and conditions specified in the contract. Also, keep a written record of your completed work and any agreed-upon changes to the original contract or agreement. This documentation may become helpful in a court case. Lastly, review non-payment of invoice laws such as breach of contract laws to learn more about these cases.

No Contract?

Even if you do not have a written contract, the law will consider a contract to exist if you can show evidence of text, email, or other communications that you and the other side came to a valid agreement. Keep screenshots or copies of all these communications!

Additionally, gather proof of the work you completed, such as emails, photos, or testimonials from third parties, to substantiate the value of your services.

Start with a Demand Letter

An effective demand letter tells the other party what you want and that you are serious about doing what is necessary to get it. You will want to write a letter to the customer that is refusing to pay. If you don’t know how to start, you are in luck! We’ve compiled resources on How to Write a Demand Letter in 10 Steps and Effective Ways to Send Them.

Better yet, JusticeDirect will generate a demand letter for you for free! 

Consider Small Claims Court 

If your demand letter did not result in the recovery of your money, consider pursuing the matter in small claims court. Each place has rules for who can file a claim, so ensure your situation fits the criteria. Small claims court deals with small problems fast and without needing expensive lawyers.

File Your Claim

Easily and quickly file your small claims case with the court, serve the other party, and prove to the judge that the other party owes you money with advanced tools like JusticeDirect. Alternatively, you can visit your local small claims court or check their website to understand the process and obtain the necessary forms for filing your claim. Ensure you accurately and comprehensively complete the paperwork to avoid delays or potential rejections!

Present Your Case

Be prepared to present your evidence clearly and concisely during the court hearing. Explain the details of the contract, the agreed-upon payment terms, and how you fulfilled your end of the deal but the customer is refusing to pay for the work done. Stay calm and respectful throughout the process, as a composed demeanor can positively influence the court’s decision. It may feel overwhelming, but now you can receive step-by-step guidance with JusticeDirect Trial Presentation™.


Dealing with not getting paid for your efforts can be tough, but you can take control by going to small claims court. Doing this lets you ask for what’s right and get the money you earned. To do this well, you must talk clearly, keep good records, and strongly show your case. If you follow these steps, you can increase your chances of getting your money and protecting your finances in the long run.


The quest for justice is never easy, particularly when it comes to getting your money back. However, thanks to advances in technology, it has become easier. Quest for Justice’s first app, JusticeDirect, is the only app of its kind designed to support people without lawyers to resolve their disputes and get their money back, both in and out of court. The first step to getting money back is through a letter demanding payment from the other party JusticeDirect offers customizable demand letters for free. If the letter demanding payment does not work, then the next step is taking them to court. JusticeDirect* will guide users every step of the way through the small claims court process by helping them:


  1. Understand the legal process;
  2. Evaluate the pros and cons that come with taking someone to court;
  3. Generate small claims court forms; and,
  4. Avoid common mistakes when filing your forms and serving notice on the other side.
*Currently, JusticeDirect can only help litigants sue in California’s small claims court.

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