Holding transcripts for payment of account balances

What do you do if your client wants a transcript and yet hasn't paid their bill in a year?
Do you hold that transcript 'hostage' until they bring their account current? Is there some law about us
no longer extending credit...including a transcript they need for trial...until they bring their account current?

Any help or guidance would be most appreciated.

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Comment by Debbie Landi on July 12, 2008 at 8:48
I have yet to have that happen, but as the firm owner, the relationship is between the reporter and scopist, not the firm and their scopist. I ALWAYS start with the nice approach, a phone call ( I need to eat, too, routine) and then follow it up with a letter documenting what was said if you spoke to the reporter. I'd give it another nice approach, too because you do not want to have to go to Small Claims. It's easy to get a judgment and hard to collect. I am using the credit crunch to my advantage these days. A collection agency will report their delinquency to all 3 big credit reporting agencies. At this point with all the credit/mortgage fallout, I know I would NOT want my name on the dark side of a credit agency. I want to be able to know I can get credit when I need it....not lose that opportunity because some bozo can't pay $100-500. Hardly worth the risk. Does this help?
Comment by Albert Cittone on July 8, 2008 at 20:24
A client who hasn't paid his bill in a year, is not not a client. You ased them nicely to pay their bill and tell them you will be sending the transcript COD under the circumstances.
Comment by Linda Pugliese on July 8, 2008 at 20:01
Hello there. Nice picture. I like the one with the tutu. I've been doing my A/R review and have the same problems. One atty who became a COD because of his past due balance is now current on all his new stuff, but there's that pesky little matter of $8,000 from last year he still owes me. Anyone in a "normal" business would say no new services until everything is current. But who says we're "normal"? Hostage, shmostage. It's business. I never give out an original until it's paid for. Is that keeping it hostage? No, because the rules say something about reasonable payment for services. If they didn't pay for it, they don't get it. But maybe you're talking about a tx that they paid for and you're holding it until they pay their past due balance, I think that would be considered holding it hostage.

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