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Non-paying client

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Michael Folorunsho
Non-paying client
on Jul 9, 2009 at 2:33:04 am

Hi guys,

I'm new to this forum and thought I'd quickly share a problem I'm having with a client.

About 2 months ago, I finished a small video project for my friends sister. I charged a very modest price because I knew her (mistake 1) and because she was my sisters friend (mistake 2).

After she approved the final edit she said she would pay the money into my account, so I text her my bank details. After about a week, she hadn't paid so I tried calling, texting, emailing etc with no response.

I decided to get in touch with her brother and told him what happened. He got in touch with her numerous times; each time he did, he said that she said she kept forgetting to get back to me and would pay the following day.

This has been going on for about 2 months now. I rung her today with no response and so I text her. She actually replied this time saying that she lost her purse recently containing all the money she had.

What am I suppose to say to that? Demand that she pays ASAP anyway? It's not like I'm unsympathetic to her loss but in fairness she should have paid me way before this would have happened.

I'd appreciate any input you guys have.

Michael Folorunsho
Clicktone Media
http://www.youtube.com/clicktonemedia



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Gunnar Refardt
Re: Non-paying client
on Jul 9, 2009 at 8:22:33 am

After all that happened, or better did not happen, it's more likely she lied to you.
Depending on what you consider a small amount of money and putting that into relation to paying a lawyer and/or law suit… Maybe just write it off as an educational fee?


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Franklin McMahon
Re: Non-paying client
on Jul 9, 2009 at 2:13:38 pm


Sounds like she has no intention of paying you. Lesson learned. Do you use contracts at all or agreements? Might be good to, even for "small" stuff.

Next step after several attempts is to let her know you are turning over her account to a collection agency. If you google there are many companies that do it for free and just take a percentage. You do nothing except provide details, they collect (provide all her numbers and details to them) and then they typically split the money with you. Companies like this are aggressive since they are paid on commission so usually the money arrives.

Frank

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grinner hester
Re: Non-paying client
on Jul 9, 2009 at 5:33:13 pm

Go collect in person. Had she paid one of the times she said she was going to, she would not have lost your money in her purse.

Sick your bad cop on her if you must. For me, it's my daughter. She takes no bull. She corned a coke head boss I had when she was just four and told him everything I was I had told him. I knew then she'd be my pitbull later on. Now at 13, she negotiates my bigger deals and acts as bad cop collector when I need her to.



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Franklin McMahon
Re: Non-paying client
on Jul 9, 2009 at 6:34:41 pm


Good to know...I may need to hire her when I need to drop the hammer on a client in the future...

Franklin

___________________________
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frank@fmstudio.com
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Studio Page



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Bill Davis
Re: Non-paying client
on Jul 9, 2009 at 8:49:34 pm

Michael,

The sad truth is that this story isn't about her.

It's about you.

If it makes you feel better, I'd bet that nearly all of us working in the business today have something like this in the past.

It's kinda a right of passage. It teaches you things. The difficulty of working for "friends." The need to have things in writing. The need to get sensible deposits UP FRONT to protect yourself.

The bad news is that it's gonna put some toxic spill in your relationship with your friend. He may understand that his sister acts like this - but it's his sister.

Personally, I'd show up on the girls doorstep and after reminding her that by planing this game she's DAMAGED her reputation and that has real consequences in life, I'd tell her that I'm FORGIVING the debt and walking away.

That's because I've learned that solid human relationships are central to a decent life and I understand that I can make more money easier than I can make more friends.

You may or may not salvage your relationship with the brother. That's really secondary. What you WILL do is start your career on a foundation that values PEOPLE more than COIN, and I suspect that very attitude might turn out to be something that helps you a LOT more in the long run.

My 2 cents... YMMV.



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Marcel Valcarce
Re: Non-paying client
on Jul 9, 2009 at 8:26:51 pm

Getting stiffed by clients seems to be a real hazard these days. I have been stiffed more than once in the past, for large sums and small. If you consider it a large amount you could contact a collection agency as suggested, but what about your friend? Is he/she making excuses too, or just trying to stay out of it? Maybe you can enlist them to help in a more pro-active way.

These days many people face financial challenges they didn't expect, maybe she intended to pay you, but has found she cannot. Is there another way you can work out payment with her? Setup a schedule of small payments over time, or maybe some sort of barter (if she does something useful to you)?

I will close by passing along my lawyers advice which is "Never let anyone get in debt to you." That's not always easy, but some things you can do are 1) get a portion of the payment upfront (33% is pretty standard). 2) let the client know that you will not deliver the final product until the final payment is made (they get to approve a compressed version online, and once you get the check they get the master).

Good luck to you!!



************************
MARCEL VALCARCE
CREATIVE DIRECTOR
inMotion Studios Inc.
http://www.inmotionstudios.com
************************



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Michael Folorunsho
Re: Non-paying client
on Jul 9, 2009 at 11:26:39 pm

Thanks for all your input.

I agree with those of you that said she had no intention of paying from the start. I've learnt from this mistake and based on what you guys have said, I will now insist on getting at least 33% fee upfront for future projects and only letting the client have the finished version until full payment has been received, no matter how small the job is.

It's not that much money so I won't be getting any a collection agency involved. However I may just have to turn up at her house randomly of hassle her enough into paying me, perhaps in installments as suggested.

As for my relationship with my friend, it will remain unchanged. He was actually very helpful in trying to get in touch with her and apologized many times on her behalf.

Thanks again guys, i really appreciate it. I'll keep you posted on how events unfold.

Mike

Michael Folorunsho
Clicktone Media
http://www.youtube.com/clicktonemedia



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