Getting Your Money Back –
I have only been in this industry for 5 years but during that time, I have met some really awesome haunters but have also experince the lost of funds for my props.
The ownership/management is between 3 people. One of the others mail a check and our props to a company to get them fixed in the Spring. The prop never arrived in July as it was suppose to, so they called and left messages. It never arrived by our season in October either. Originally they did not record or document there attempts to recover our property and money.
Just as it has been pointed out that some Haunt Businesses our not per se the most effeicnt business - some of our fellow haunters do not take the approach in a business manner (just like one of my partners did).
So when I took over in May of last year to recover the money (a year later) I began documenting every phone call and email. Listing who was sent to, at what number, and what was said. I never got a person and lack of a response. Each time I would send a new email I would include my argument for wanting my money/property as well as my previous attempts to contact the company.
Then I went on the Forums and without naming names stated what I had done and that my next matter was to involved a lawyer, the Better Business Bureau, and contact the Attorney General for their state. I sent this same email and left this same phone message with every company phone number I could have. By leaving the message on the forum it gave me weight. Meaning taht I would respect the company and not name them to the entire haunt community as theft if they refunded my check in a 2 week time span but if they failed to return my money then I would follow through both legally as well as with the criminal matters.
Once I approach the lost of our companies money in a business sense within a month we had our money. But the key was to respect the company - because once they get a bad reputation especially in a business like ours they are sunk so this is the last thing they want. But with that respect I kept to my word and even when other haunters ask who had done us wrong I did not reveal it on the forums since that was a statement I had made on the forums.
Good luck to everyone. I know because this industry gets a bad name sometimes due to vendors and haunters not making good on their promises that when we have sold stuff - we only deal in cash and have a money pen to make sure the cash is real.