All Art No Pay: Portrait of a Delinquent Client
Towards the end of last summer I was commissioned to create a series of concept sketches and photoshopped mock ups of posters for a signage company. The job was relatively simple and the person I was dealing with was satisfied with the job when it was completed on time. I sent an invoice on September 5 with explicit language that states payment is due within 30 days of acceptance of the invoice.
Two weeks went by and I had not received payment. No big deal. These things can take some time to process. Then, on September 20, the company contacted me about doing another freelance job and asked me if I ever sent an invoice for the last job. I responded by telling them I was available for this “Quick Morning Assignment” (although they did not follow up with that assignment) and I sent the invoice for the second time. The company employee I had been corresponding with this whole time, Patrick, promised me that I would receive payment by the following Monday (September 23)
Two more weeks went by with no payment. Because I knew this person to be a little absent minded, I decided to call during the first week of October to make sure he had processed the invoice the second time I sent it. I spoke with him on the phone, at which point he told me the company had been “very busy with ComicCon” and that he had just sent the invoice to be processed the previous week. Patrick assured me the payment would arrive within the next week. Once again, I was very courteous and trusted his word that the check would arrive soon.
Several more weeks passed with no payment. I began calling the office a few times a week in November. Most of the time no one answered the phone. Finally, on November 19, I managed to speak with someone on the phone who sounded like Patrick, but told me they knew nothing about the invoice. I explained the situation to this person who claimed he would speak to the appropriate parties and that someone would call me back shortly. No such call was ever made.
After a few more futile attempts at calling, I finally decided to send a strongly worded email to Patrick, the person who commissioned this work in the first place and had promised me twice that the “check was in the mail”. I was done being nice.
This was his response:
Not content with the continued blowing of smoke up my ass, I wanted to speak with someone who might be able to actually help me.
Now comes the petulant bastard approach to a perfectly reasonable request:
Patrick did not respond or forward me any contact information for the person responsible for processing my payment. Honestly, I really hope they do pay me this week so I don’t have to go through the trouble of actually taking time off work to drag their sorry asses into court. It should never have to come to this, but unfortunately some people are assholes. As a freelance professional, this is the first time I have had the misfortune of dealing with a delinquent client. Who knows how many other artists this company has screwed over. These things happen far too often in the freelance community. If attempting to bring down the hammer of the law on delinquent clients will keep them from continuing their shady business practices in the future, then it will be worth the trouble.