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Re: Database of Dead Beat Clients

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Dennis S. Wish PE wrote:
> I believe that this is a great idea, but also believe that we would be open
> to lawsuit for defimation of character and personal liable. Inasmuch as
> there are three sides to each story, I believe that this would be a very
> touchy step unless you had the resources behind you that say a Telecredit
> or TRW has. Remember too that these credit reporting agency's are bound by
> very strict law as to what is public knowledge.
> Protecting the personal integrity of a client (or an engineer if the shoe
> is on the other foot) is most important. Black listing or unsubstantiated
> (or disputed) claims is a very grey area and would leave the engineer
> extremly liable to retribution by the cleints.
> Sorry, but as much as love the idea I would be very hesitant to place one
> of my clients on the list. The last thing I want is for this "deadbeat" to
> get the better of me in court because some lawyer twisted the facts in
> favor of his client.
> On another note, I once questioned why my credit is threatened by large
> companies when a bill is paid late, but my clients get away scott free when
> they refuse to pay. OR why is my credit impaired when a client bounces a
> check on me and walks away clean?
> I was told that reporting agencies such as TRW or Equifax sell their
> services by contract to companies with thousands of clients. The small or
> mid-size office is not large enough to report directly to credit companies
> and must go through large collection agencies for this service.
> Therefore, there is no protection for merchants to protect their credit and
> place blame were it actually belongs.
> Possibly your idea has merit here - if the professional community where to
> utilize one or two collection companies that have reporting power. I don't
> think this is the responsibility of the professional organizations to be
> involved in.
> Dennis Wish
Certainly we should not make any statements that would invite libel.
However, a simple statement like "payment over 90 days past due"
would be very defensable. I wouldn't even THINK of making a
statement that I couldn't back up. However, there should be a
reasonably easy venue where this information could be kept and

Since you have brought up the idea of suggesting that SEAOC
subscribe to a credit bureau or something like that, I LIKE IT!
Maybe we could get legal councel in the same manner. There are
a LOT of things we could do better as a group than we could as
an individual. (Who said something about a seminar on contract
language?) This is my main beef with SEAOC. I don't see enough
of these kinds of issues being addressed for the betterment of
the professionals (just the public).