You have a written document, and it seems you "added a penalty clause" after the original contract was drafted (it's difficult to tell from what you wrote). What your "contract" states and what you say it states may be open to 2 (or more) entirely different interpretations. Without seeing the so-called one page "contract," seeing who signed it and when, the various terms and conditions, etc., there is no way to tell you whether you are in a good position to recover the money or not. You probably should have had a lawyer "draw up" the contract 4 years ago, and then certain safeguards would have been built into the document because that's what lawyers do. But you wanted to save yourself the lawyer's fee, correct? Well saving that fee may have cost you a whole bunch. Don't make the same mistake twice. Take your "contract" to a local collections attorney and get an opinion that you can count on. Then, if the attorney thinks you have a viable cause of action, hire him/her to collect for you. Yes, you will not get as much as if you didn't pay the attorney. but you will also not make rookie mistakes which may cost you even more. Good luck!
Fighting Junk Debt Buyers for you! Call me for a free consultation. My number is 727-712-3333, or you can view my website at www.TampaConsumerLawyer.com
I agree with Mr. Castagliuolo and add that with the right contract and a collectable debtor, you may be able to find an attorney in your area who will take your case on a contingency fee basis. In other words, you only pay a fee if you prevail.
The hiring of an attorney is an important decision that should not be based solely upon advertisements. Before you decide, ask us to send you free written information about our qualifications and experience. The information provided by this website is not intended, nor should it be construed, to be legal advice. Your use of this website, and/or the sending of information to the Fucillo Law Firm, P.L., does not establish an attorney/client relationship. Please do not send us any confidential or privileged information until such time that an actual attorney/client relationship is actually established.
From what it sounds like, yes you absolutely have a claim for breach of contract to recover the money this person owes you. I would start out by sending a demand letter. Feel free to contact me if you would like to pursue this.
The statute of limitations in Florida is 5 years on a written contract. Sounds like you are close. You should also check to make sure you did not charge usurious interest rates which can void a contract to pay.