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The Cocoa
The Cocoa and Coffee Industry Board Ms Ramoutar, Difficulty in receiving payment, never received full payment commensurate with proper invoices submit
20th of Aug, 2011 by User206602
I started doing some work for the manager of the Cocoa and Coffee Industry Board (CCIB) based in Chaguanas Trinidad in 2007. It involved the printing of cheques for farmers and extending the capabilities of their MS Access database.
After assisting in the printing of cheques I began to program the extended capabilities of CCIB's database as per instruction from the manager. When repeated attempts to contact him by email failed I contacted CCIB and learnt that the manager was no longer with them. I informed the accountant MS. Ramoutar of the work that I was doing for CCIB and submitted invoices to her for the same work. I continued working for CCIB at the instructions of Ms. Ramoutar and was paid for my work, except for anything related to the extension of the database. As a result the balance that I was owed began to accumulate. I did not mind because I believed that as a government institution which I presumed CCIB to be, I felt safe that my invoices would be paid. At one point however, an employee told me to "be careful" since other contractors had had problems receiving their payments. Upon reflection on this I decided to tell Ms. Ramoutar that I would be unable to continue working until I had received full payment for all my work up to that point. Ms. Ramoutar told me that we would have to have a meeting about my payment. I was very uneasy about this since the only point of a meeting in my mind seemed to be to tell me something that I did not want to hear but I scheduled the meeting anyway. The day before the meeting Ms. Ramoutar called me and asked me to explain how the extension worked to one of CCIB's employees. I was concerned as to what the motive behind the request was since I could accomplish her request the next day before or after meeting. She gave no reason for why she was requesting the information to be passed on the day before the meeting, over the phone. I told her I wouldn't be able to do it over the phone and furthermore that I could do things like this "today for today" the way that she often wanted. She told me that I had "better be careful who I was speaking to " and hung up on me. Based on that interaction I did not go to the meeting the next day and simply went on another occasion to pick up a cheque that was ready, for work unrelated to the database extension. I subsequently wrote to Mrs. Jacqueline Rawlins, the chairman of the CCIB asking to be paid. In response to my second letter to her I believe, Mrs. Rawlins told me in a letter that CCIB was sending me a particular sum of money, a cheque for which was in the envelope as "full and complete payment for my services". I was happy but concerned as whether "the full and complete payment" really was "full and complete" since I hadn't added up the invoices that I had submitted. When I finally added everything up, the "full and complete payment" wasn't. I was missing payment for the amount of the first invoice I had submitted to Ms. Ramoutar after the departure of the manager. I initially thought that it was a mistake that CCIB would quickly correct once I told them about it, so I made what I now know to be a mistake and I cashed the cheque I had been sent. After numerous letters I have never heard from CCIB, Ms. Ramoutar or Mrs. Rawlins again or received payment for the invoice in question. After finally going to a lawyer and having her review my case only this year, I was told that cashing the cheque would likely be seen as accepting the cheque as indeed being "full and complete payment for my services." If I had an inkling of this before I would have gone to a lawyer immediately upon recognizing that I hadn't been paid everything and I would never have cashed the cheque. The missing invoice amounted to more than 33% of what I finally received. I personally feel that I cannot trust any client again large or small.

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