What Do You Do When the Other Party Won’t Communicate?
Cover Your Bases
Sometimes when there is a dispute in business, whether it be with a partner, vendor, or customer, it becomes impossible for you to reach resolution because the other party simply refuses to communicate with you. This happens when the other party becomes beligerent. Why would anyone stop communicating if they seriously believed they were wronged? Let’s look at this problem and discuss what you should do.
When you have a serious dispute and the other party makes what you consider to be unrealistic demands, you must start by gathering all the data you can gather. You must prepare as though you were preparing for a court case. Document everything. Research the dispute and prepare your documentation to answer every complaint. Chances are, once communication you stops, the other party has begun to lawyer shop. Don’t assume because you don’t hear from them that they have given up. Prepare your case. If you do hear from their attorney and need to engage your own attorney, you will be ready. By having your supporting data and a written summary prepared, you save your attorney a lot of time reviewing your case. Time is money. You can spend $100/hour and get your case ready in advance or $400/hr. and have your attorney research the case. It makes sense to be ready.
The other thing you can try when the other party refuses to communicate with you, is have a trusted third party make contact on your behalf. This takes the tension and emotional bite out of the process and generally opens communication. Further, if the other party still refuses to communicate, they weaken their own case. Think of how a judge will see the two parties when one merely makes an outrageous demand yet refuses to discuss any of the components of the problem. You must keep trying to communicate. That shows a willingness to find the resolution. Hiding from a problem, especially hiding from an irrational demand won’t serve you. Stand up and express your openessto discussion. You needn’t agree to anything. You needn’t give anything away.
If you are being threatened with an unreasonable demand, document it and prepare. Judges see crackpots who threaten businesses every day. They can spot a crank. If you conduct yourself properly and openly, and maintain communication against an unreasonable claim, you will prevail. The courts don’t like frivolous suits and they don’t like plaintiffs who try to extort settlements using the court system as a threat.
Chris Reich, TeachU