A client did not pay me for software work. What should I do? Can I e-mail his customers and let them know their accountant did this? Can I be sued for that?
Do not ever e-mail the clients. The scum bag will sue you.I am not reporting legal advice. I have had more than my fair share of troubles.One guy in Florida basically tried to turn me into his slave while I was there. That’s a long story. They were Jamaicans. It took a while for me to understand that they had gotten all of their money through Ponzi Scheme in Jamaica. And, they weren’t ever going to pay me, and they certainly weren’t going to give me traveling money to get back to my house. I would say that I lost my house because of getting tangled up with them. They kept me in Florida, and I could not come back to California to my house to find work and start making payments. When I got back, the bank started giving me the run around. Four years later and a law suit with the bank, they just simply took it. Once the house was in a state of foreclosure, there was no way to get back in good with the bank. I filled out a lot of modification forms, all of which resulted in a lovely note from the bank saying that I made too much money to be helped. The bank, and the Jamaicans played the system. Programmers tend to just program.By the way, the Jamaicans even conned Donald Trump.Suing them was suggested to me by the Dade County Sheriffs Department. But, I did not pursue the suit because of how much money that took. Also, there is the time factor.But, there are a lot of clients I should have sued. One couple wrote me a stock certificate for pay and then shut down their company. Another group of clients had their stuff on my host, but they refused to pay to move it to their host. They also refused to pay for hosting. When I couldn’t pay for the host anymore they called me and asked what happened to their content.There was a project that ended up successful. But, for a prototype I put in a timed shutdown, pending payment. I ended up having to pay for the disks to be copied. They took it out of my payment which they gave me before I fixed it. But, they also finished the project with me.So, be careful about shutting down the web site. The guy might sue over that even though he owes you money.There was another guy who was sure to be the next Steve Jobs, so he thought. His checks bounced regularly. He didn’t pay much. He picked up women in front of me at Apple conferences and acted like that mad him bigger than me. In the mean time, his wife was pregnant with his fourth child. She was not at home though, because she was down at the corporation making the family income. The guy sent his lawyer after me to make sure that I didn’t use any of his intellectual property.My father was a lawyer still at that time. (And, my father has long gone to his reward.) But, my dad simply had me write a letter to the guy’s lawyer telling him that I would be happy to discard his materials and ask if the guy would ever make his last installment after so many of his checks bounced. (They bounced at awkward times, like when I was taking a girl friend on a road trip to SF. And, the guy tried to make me feel guilty that I was spending some of the money he was supposed to pay having a nice day with a girl.)So, my dad simply made it clear to me that once the guy’s lawyer understood that he really had no money to pay for his legal fees, that the lawyer would sweetly go away. And, he did.So, you have a few cards in your hand. Do it yourself law (DIY law) might be enough. Small claims might work. His lawyer might sweetly go away.As for the Jamaicans, someone else sued them and likely won. I had difficulty finding a lawyer in Florida. California was a little easier. But, I certainly thought about talking to the lawyers of the guy who sued.So, likely someone else has sued your scumbag. They can do it again.