|Billing and collections: Be the “Victor”, not the Victim!|
|Tuesday, 14 August 2012 13:09|
Small business trucking owner’s need not worry about not being paid thanks to the California Dump Truck Owner’s Bill of Lading and Transportation Agreement. I can’t believe that there are still a few drivers out in the field that are using any other type of billing system.
The CCTA offers them at a great price, and with a discount to its members, it sounds like a win-win situation, Right? Absolutely! I was amazed to find out that not only have these been put out by the best in the business, but the wording and attention to detail are marvelous! My favorite is the words, NON-NEGOTIABLE are written at the very top of each BILL OF LADING in capital letters. Where I came from, that means, “A deal is a deal“, and I’m sorry but there are no discounts or “delayed payments” or “extensions” accepted!
I’ve always told driver’s that these contracts are a legal binding contract that would stand up in any court of law. The case became true in my own situation. Fortunately, the outcome went very well even though the anticipation of taking a broker to court for a “delayed payment” was nerve wracking.
As I am writing these words it reminds me of various brokers and contractors who fail to communicate with the owner-operators. We provide a service, and also ”fund” these projects, small and large, in advance by dishing out for fuel, our man hours, and sometimes even assisting with dump fees. Following up with the owner-operators is key in the business and those that can’t, won’t, or refuse to, should be labeled as “Dodgers”
During my small claims court date the nerves really started to kick in. Here we all are at court and the final chance for me to back out was right in front of me. They gave us the option to re-schedule if we felt like we needed to or request a judge to be present because a commissioner was going to be hearing out cases.
I figured that missing more time from working might impact me more financially. I agreed to go with it, because a friend of mine has also taken this broker to court and was successful with his case. It was a do or die time for me now. I had invited my friend to work that job and I took it personally that the broker tried to shake-off both of us, along with all the other trucks that were out there that day.
The commissioner and the Man Upstairs were on my side that day and they must have seen right through him. Being a “Dodger” was going to be resolved today and it was going to come down to who is right and who is wrong. Using my friend’s notes gave me hope because he was successful in his case.
I submitted an enlarged copy of the back of the terms and conditions information as referenced on the front of bill copy. I highlighted Ca. Business and Professions code section 7108.6 and Ca. Civil code section 3322.
I also updated the court with AB145 information that I thought would also help me. The court tried to have us reconcile on our own in the very beginning, but now thanks to the broker’s uncooperative and unprofessional attitude, we were told that it would be a few days more to find out our final decision in the mail. The commissioner thanked me for providing her the civil codes and assembly bill information and sent us on our way. If the broker had not been so rude to us we might have been patient and came to some type of agreement. I finally received the results a few days later and not only was I awarded the monthly penalty, which practically doubled, the original amount of what was owed to me in the first place.
From the very beginning it all came down to the principal of the matter. My faith in those pre-approved contracts, put out by the original “California Dump Truck Owner’s Association” proved to be a straight winner (just like the individuals who I purchased them from!). I am very grateful to all of them and would like to say “Thank You”, to all of them for having the tools necessary to defend myself with. During these types of cases it is always important that you remain cool, calm and collected. Don’t lose your composure or dignity for anyone, and rely on your best instinct at all times. Your attitude should always be more important than your opponents.