Reputable company not paying up!

I have a client that won’t provide payment for a project that is over 6 months overdue. They are a very reputable company in the industry. My work has already been utilized on their 2012 product line. They’ve paid all of my other invoices but not this one. It’s not an insubstantial amount either. They are located in another state.

After repeated emails and mailings showing the outstanding balance, I still have yet to see anything. What can I do?

Depending on your initial contract, you are still the owner of the intellectual property of the project until the full payment is made. If the full payment has NOT been made you could go after them for intellectual property infringement of your industrial design.

In any case you have to make the determination if it’s worth the money/effort to lawyer up to get them to pay.

Well, it’s nice that my brother just happens to be a county prosecutor in Indianapolis…too bad it’s in another state. Kinda ridiculous but I may have to go to small claims. But you’re right…I still own that property. It wasn’t ID, it was graphics, but they’ve used the graphics on their 2012 models.

How many people have you tried reaching out to at the company? Are they getting back to you at all?

If they’ve been good in the past and haven’t responded to emails, make sure that this isn’t a case of the person got fired and now your emails are bouncing to an empty email box.

See if you can get ahold of the next higher person on the food chain. That might get you paid.

Have you picked up the phone and tried calling? Before you escalate, you should get an answer to the question, “Why haven’t you paid my 6 month old invoice?”

Have you picked up the phone and tried calling? Before you escalate, you should get an answer to the question, “Why haven’t you paid my 6 month old invoice?”

Are they close enough that you can walk through their front door?

See if you can get ahold of the next higher person on the food chain.

Like, say, the owner, or CEO?

I know I should just call. Thing is, I’ve sent emails to just about everyone, including the owner/CEO who I have met and worked with in the past. He replied to one of my messages so I know it’s not going on deaf ears.

I’m giving it until the end of the month. Then…well, I’m not sure. They are about 4 hours away so I can’t just walk in. And I absolutely hate confrontation.

The tough part about freelance work is getting paid, and avoiding confrontation is only going to hurt you financially in this case. Don’t wait for the end of the month. It’s been 6 months. Call every 2 days until they say, a check is on the way. Then give it a week, and still no check call every single day. They owe you the money, and it is on them to get it to you. You COULD be charging late charges and interest on the overdue payments. Get on the phone today. Lots of companys cut checks once a week… on Fridays.

Proceed per NURB’s recommendations.

I don’t much care for confrontation either, but I hate being exploited and ignored even more. It just ain’t right. If you have the CEO’s ear that’s as far as you can go. So keep going there. When he starts “not” taking your calls it’s time for a visit, preferably unannounced (granted, tough to do when you’re four hours away). Surprise is on your side, and no one expects the Spanish Inquisition.

In the mean time … start your education on Small Claims Court proceedings in your state. They owe you the money an sometimes the summons alone loosens the purse strings. If it doesn’t you’re in for an interesting education. I’ve done it twice over the years, don’t care for it, but I’ll be damned if anyone is going to swindle me out of hard earned money.

With prep time, and court date(s) breaking even is the about best you can hope for. Even if you win it won’t guarantee you’ll get paid, it’s the principle of the thing. The one thing it does do is open up turning the collection of the debt to an agency. Again, not too profitable, but can embarrassing to the debtor. Not that I’m vindictive or anything.

No outing, or dissing, the offender; it leaves you open to liable and is unprofessional (as if they have a clue what that entails), and accomplishes nothing.

Yes. NEVER publicly or privately out a business that owes you money. It will come back to haunt you.

Any change in the situation?

Ok, I think every innocent freelancer has been down that road, if it’s not too much money you could just knock it up as experience and move spend your energy finding your next client. In the future always get a proper contract written up… by a lawyer. How much would it cost and how much to not get paid. Don’t sign their contracts, get them to sign yours. Then, the next time they decide to not pay you. Give your lawyer a call and let him do the work for you. It will get you respect and above all, will get you paid! If you think you can’t afford one, I would say you cannot afford to be without one. Next I would say, factor in the cost of writing the contract and also put in the contract that if they delay payment, there will be an extra legal fee added i.e. get them to pay.
There is an amazing web video (I think Vimeo) by a guy who explains all this REALLY well. I can’t remember his name but I’m pretty sure if you type in “FC you pay me” you’ll find his video quick enough.

Good luck!

Currently, I have two voice-mails in to AP and multiple emails to the CEO. No response and I know these individuals are in the office. Not sure what the problem is. So…I’ve waited long enough and now it’s time for some action.

Hey Moose! Rocco! Help the judge find his wallet!

So…I’ve waited long enough and now it’s time for some action.

:frowning: There is nothing like a bunch of deadbeats to take the fun out of consulting…

I started by turning the account over to a collection agency; they’re fee was something like 40% , but I was thoroughly really pi$$ed at that point and didn’t care. It was the principle of the thing; you don’t get to screw me over FOR FREE!

The CEO immediately countered (he wouldn’t give me the time of day previously) that I had improperly charged them tax on the work and that they would file suit against me for “slander” (for turning them over to an agency) if I did not cancel the collection agency … and so it began. Small claims court.

What a PITA…

I disagree with whoever posted “never out a deadbeat client.” It wastes future freelancers/consultants’ time if they have to deal with a non-payer, especially if they are already known to be a deadbeat by those who have worked for them in the past. At least post the facts anonymously on glassdoor or something. That is very useful information.


At least post the facts anonymously on glassdoor or something.

Every story has two sides. There is a line between outright bad-mouthing a company for non-payment, and providing constructive feedback to other professionals in the community. Anything uncovered anonymously on the internet is strictly hear-say without a personal reference.

Remember, the vindictive gate swing both ways.

If I were a prospective client, and read that you were hanging out your dirty laundry in public, I’m not sure I’d be inclined to engage your services. I would wonder what other aspects of your confidential client relationships you share with strangers ?

Bingo. That’s exactly why you shouldn’t spill the beans. It makes you look worse than the company screwing you over.