February 12, 2024 at 11:37 am

Client Refused To Pay An Invoice, So He Made Sure Their Restaurant Had No Business On Valentine’s Day

by Trisha Leigh

Source: Reddit/AITA/Shutterstock

Being in business for yourself has its advantages, but as with most things in life, there are downsides, too.

One of those is that when someone refuses to pay, getting the money falls only on your shoulders – and you directly feel the loss, too.

OP fixes computers and did a fairly big job for a local restaurant owner.

A few years after I started my business I was asked to clean-up & optimise a number of PC’s in multiple locations, as well as set up some forms & templates, for a new client who owned a local restaurant.

The work, all labour apart from a little travel, was performed over the space of a month due to scheduling conflicts & school holidays .

Though he verbally said he was happy, the invoice went unpaid.

on completing the last of it, the client confirmed verbally that he was happy with all I’d done, and to go ahead and send an invoice. I duly emailed an invoice for a sum just in excess of £400.

I waited for payment; never heard anything, sent reminder emails, called & left messages; but no response. Eventually a couple of busy months had passed and I met the client by chance in the local supermarket.

On asking why he’d not paid or been in touch, he said that all the PC’s were as bad as they had been before I’d started, and that he HAD tried to contact me with no success.

As my landline & mobile phone had caller display as well as answering services, & there had been no emails, I knew the latter was BS, and as any PC user knows, a system can easily go back to pot if the user bad habits don’t change.

A debt collector said the man was disputing the quality of the work, which left OP high and dry.

So I contacted a local debt collector, gave him the details, printouts of my call logs & post-invoicing emails, & he took them to the restaurateur.

On his return his words were “He’s not disputing the invoice, he’s saying that the work wasn’t done right – so it’s his word against yours.”

I queried if it was worth taking the guy to small claims, to which the debt collector said “Even if you could prove he confirmed he was satisfied with the work, they might insist you get his computers back to their pre-invoice state again – do you really want to spend more time doing that?”

Of course the answer was no, so I stewed it over in my mind and came up with a plan.

Not when it came to revenge, though.

At this point it was late November so, creating two throwaway email accounts in female names, I got in touch with the restaurant to book a large party for Valentines night the following February.

I put it down as “…my husband’s surprise 40th birthday party”, confirmed that “…my husband’s sister” (and cc’d her in the message with the other throwaway) couldn’t make the journey north, but would happily pay the £10/head deposit as her share towards the night.

Of course, as time went on the ideas grew arms and legs.

The numbers attending increased, until the owner suggested he’d reserve the whole restaurant for the evening, and they’d happily arrange the seating to suit us… but could I ensure the deposit was sorted ASAP please.

Of course I confirmed that the ‘sister’ was a scatterbrain & that I’d ensure the cheque was with him very soon. He emailed the sister using the cc address & ‘she’ confirmed it had been posted.

To keep him on-side, I asked for a proposed menu in advance so that I could send it to all the attendees for pre-ordering. Naturally they were delighted that they’d know this as it makes their life much easier.

Consequently the numbers for all 3 courses were emailed in – with a few ‘fussy eater’ variables thrown in for good measure.

The ruse worked perfectly, and there’s a good chance the guy lost more than what he owed OP in the beginning.

Needless to say by the beginning of February he was getting quite antsy about there being no sign of the deposit, but I reassured him that the sisters cheque must have been lost in the post, so she’d send another by Special Delivery, if they could ensure someone was there to sign for it…

I knew the owner lived about 25 miles away, & the restaurant didn’t open ’til 5pm, so he’d have to come in very early & hang around waiting for it.

A week before d-day and he’d obviously had enough. He emailed in a spat saying they’d turned away numerous enquiries, had no deposit, and could no longer hold back on taking other bookings. This time I didn’t bother replying… my part was done.

My wife (at the time) & I were booked in at another restaurant close by for our own Valentines meal, after which we took a walk past the restaurateur’s business premises to see just two cars in their parking lot, one of which was his!

I’m not sure how much he must have lost out on that night, but knowing his prices I’d bet it was significantly more than the £400+ I’d invoiced him!

That will have to do – does Reddit think it’s enough for pro revenge?

The top commenter definitely appreciates the poetry!

Source: Reddit/AITA

This person would have taken it a little further, though.

Source: Reddit/AITA

They do suggest OP write better contracts going forward.

Source: Reddit/AITA

You’ve got to have a backup plan in the future.

Source: Reddit/AITA

Getting paid in satisfaction might be second best, but it’s something.

Source: Reddit/AITA

This was very creative.

I’m impressed by the concept and execution!

If you liked that story, check out this post about a group of employees who got together and why working from home was a good financial decision.