Not being paid for freelance...need input.

I’m being ripped off by a client for a measly $1200 - I have an idea:

First, the client liked my work but after my invoice his attitude changed :imp: I know he’s using my designs and it’ll hit the market soon (I don’t want to devulge the product but they range $100,000 per unit) so here’s my idea:

I want to wait until the designs hit the market then hire a copyright lawyer, sue for royalities or infringement is this possible? Forget small claims or collectors (-25%) this ba$tard doesn’t deserve the effort, I want to sit, wait and pounce.

And suppose he wants to settle can I tack on some service charge to my invoice or interest? I want to teach this guy a lesson. What do you guys think? Thanks.

Its pretty pointless - it’ll end up costing you way more than the invoice he owes you, plus it could give you a reputation for being difficult. It’s tough but theres not really much you can do if you do freelance and they don’t pay you. Whats written in law terms can be a lot trickier when you put it into practice in the real world.

Have you written to them to ask for payment yet? You MUST keep it civil and professional. If you get no response, have a lawyer draw up a letter for you. The threat of legal action might be enough to make him pay. If he doesn’t, think long and hard whether you really want to spend a large amount of money on legal action to try and recover and amount of money as small as that. I think it’s not worth it, personally. Copyright law can be a nightmare. I recently went to see a potential new client who has spent almost $500,000 suing shoe companies who she claims have copied her designs. In not one case has she won - her businesss is barely breaking even as a result. For instance, if your design looks even remotely like somebody elses, the company might claim they were inspired by that - could leave you with a huge legal bill. I used to work for a US brand who played the most dirty tricks when it came to copyright law so beware.

Chalk it down to experience, swallow your pride and move on.

In future be far more careful about your payment terms (i.e. ask for a sum in advance).

It often takes a bad experience like this to make you think carefully about how you deal with client payments.

Welcome to the non paid invoice club too. It’s a pretty large club. I’m still hurting after a client went bankrupt earlier this year owing me $8000. Nothing I could do. It happens to all of us at some time, I’m afraid.

And be sure to warn other freelancers that this guy doesn’t pay. - Don’t be bitchy - just state the facts. It is very important to not let your emotions get the better of you in the business world as it looks unprofessional.

Hey shoenista thanks for your candid reply. I feel bad for your $ loss.

I went into this well aware knowing there’s no guarantees of getting pay; but what peeved me was behind his friendly ‘honest’ facade is a no good thief, clear and simple. He ‘depended’ on me and I even rounded down hours and did little favors for free hoping for a longer term relationship (which he hinted). TRUST NO ONE :imp:

Just a note on invoices - you probably did this, and it probably wouldn’t make much difference if you didn’t - it’s best to give him the invoice at the same time you give him the deliverables - just a tactic which sometimes helps - that way they’re happy when they get the deliverables as opposed to getting the invoice 3 weeks later after they’ve had a chance to pick apart the renderings or sketches.

Might be a bit late, but still could be useful…IDSA legal advice for consultants:

http://new.idsa.org/webmodules/articles/anmviewer.asp?a=1152&z=29

if it helps,

Thanks for the tip. I pratice that every chance I get… invoice on time and in person.


no spec,

Thanks for the link, very helpful.

Did you put a date on the invoice telling them when it needed to be paid by?

Remind him that they you told him your hourly fee was X and you did Y hours of work for the cheap SOB. If he wasn’t happy with the work then he needs to inform you and return all of the source material that he hasn’t paid for and doesn’t have the right to use. It’s your intellectual property until they pay up.

If that doesn’t work set his office on fire.

Take him to small claims court first rather hiring a lawyer. GoodLuck!

Hey Deez, thanks for the suggestions and no I’m not posting names :slight_smile: (btw I didn’t find him on coroflot) I’ve calmed down a bit thanks to the previous responses. I think it’s important to not get emotional, stay professional and let karma take it’s course.

Guest - Thanks for the input, no I didn’t put a date, I know I should. I know he’s not paying just by the tone of the conversation after I’ve invoiced him… everything seem to stopped suddently like I’m being dumped, it’s been 2 months.

Guest 2 - Yep, small claims is the most logical solution. I’m documenting everything now.

Username,

Wouldn’t happen to be Digital Concepts would it?

Same deal, only check was issued but the payment was stoped prior to cashing…sued and was "forced by judge to settle out of court for 1/2 what I was owed.

Small claims is a good way to go, I did it. Hated it but won very easily. But I like Deez sue his ass after the company makes good off of you’re designs idea as well. Keep track of every communication you make with them. And communicate like a “collections” dep would, send the “NOTICE YOUR ACC. IS OVER DUE” letter just so they know you’ve been here before and are savvy on the game.
Cash is cash…
G

Small claims is a good way to go, I did it. Hated it but won very easily. But I like Deez sue his ass after the company makes good off of you’re designs idea as well. Keep track of every communication you make with them. And communicate like a “collections” dep would, send the “NOTICE YOUR ACC. IS OVER DUE” letter just so they know you’ve been here before and are savvy on the game.
Cash is cash…
G

easy way to do this is always ask for some percentage up front to start the project and then delever what you can and break your project into steps. in the agrrement you can say first step this much , secound step this much and so on. try chargeing by the project instead by the hour.

and if they dont want to pay you some upfront then you can say no or you will have to trust them they will pay…

but most cases i always do ask for some money up front. if they like your work and knows you can hit the same standard for them then they will pay you some up front to get you started.