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  • Client not paying, ignoring phone calls, what to do?

    Hello, I'm new around here so I hope this is an appropriate topic to post.

    I did some design work for a client way back in November 2016, I invoiced them at the end of the month for the total of the work which we had agreed prior via email. I have various emails and texts from the client saying the cost issued would be no problem. I've been chasing them ever since and have yet to receive any kind of payment. The total cost is £1400.

    April this year they told me via text that they have had a bad Winter financially but have not forgotten about the invoice.

    After more chasing they have now started to ignore my calls so I'm at a bit of a loose end as to what to do.

    I've recently sent them an email saying I will be taken action further if payment is not received soon. And I have been looking into sending letters as a more serious take on the matter.

    What are my options here? I've been looking into maybe getting a company like a collection agency involved but I don't want to have to pay out more money in order to get this issue resolved. If the debt collection company can retrieve the amount due + pay for their services then great - is this usually how it works?

    I've also read that I can add some kind of late payment costs to the bill - is this correct and if so, how is this calculated?

    Any help would be appreciated!
    Matt

  • #2
    Hi Matthew and welcome to GDF.

    Did your contract outline terms of payment, late fees and action that would be taken if no payment was made?

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    • #3
      Here in the U.S., we have small claims courts that take on these kinds of cases. You don't really even need an attorney for them. Do you have something like that in the U.K.?

      Comment


      • #4
        If you accept credit cards then you get paid and they can spread out their payments as long as they need with their credit card company. Alternate choice, offer to accept payment in monthly installments. If they can't pay the full amount, ask how much they could pay each month until paid in full.

        Always get a downpayment, and always have a contract that spells out terms, deliverables, deadlines, which rights you are transferring, and that those rights are contingent on full payment for your services.

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        • #5
          Thanks for the welcome and replies. Unfortunately we didn't have an Ďofficialí contract, only what was agreed in our emails - Iíve read that although this is by no means ideal, it can still hold up? Terms of payment was on the invoice, but this would have defaulted anyways to 30days by law if nothing was agreed. In addition, according to 'the Late Payment of Commercial Debt (Regulations 2013) I can add interest for late payment.

          I think my first step would be sending the client a series of formal letters expressing that payment is long overdue and getting more stern by each letter with the final one demanding payment within 3 days or we will get a debt collector involved. If this does not work then small claims court might be the next step, but I hope it does not come to that.

          Iíve tried to contact the client to arrange monthly payments, but if they do not respond there is little I can offer them.

          Does anyone have any experience with any of this?

          Comment


          • #6
            If your invoice states payment is due in 30 days, and they haven't paid you for over six months, I don't think you need "a series" of letters. Send one letter. "Payment is X days/months overdue. Payment in full is due by {date). If payment in full is not received by [date], this matter will be sent to a collection agency/you will be hearing from my lawyer/whatever threat." Then be fully prepared to follow through on whatever action you threaten them with.

            I've not dealt with this personally, and I'm not a lawyer. Call a debt collection agency and ask them how their fee system works. That won't obligate you to use them.

            Send the letter with a signature required, so you can prove in court (if necessary) that your letter was received.
            Shop smart. Shop S-Mart.

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            • #7
              Originally posted by KitchWitch View Post
              If your invoice states payment is due in 30 days, and they haven't paid you for over six months, I don't think you need "a series" of letters. Send one letter. "Payment is X days/months overdue. Payment in full is due by {date). If payment in full is not received by [date], this matter will be sent to a collection agency/you will be hearing from my lawyer/whatever threat." Then be fully prepared to follow through on whatever action you threaten them with.

              I've not dealt with this personally, and I'm not a lawyer. Call a debt collection agency and ask them how their fee system works. That won't obligate you to use them.

              Send the letter with a signature required, so you can prove in court (if necessary) that your letter was received.
              Thank you Kitch, makes sense. I will contact the debt collector so I know where i stand before issuing the letter to the client. Thanks again! I'll post updates in due course.

              Comment


              • #8
                For the Future. 3 things. Always create a small contract, nothing crazy - Just something in writing stating commitment to the job.
                Always take a deposit for the job. Requesting some funds upfront will often weed out clients who aren't serious about the work.
                Lastly, send secured, password protected proofs. Otherwise clients will run off with your art, and your payment in tow.

                Comment


                • PrintDriver
                  PrintDriver commented
                  Editing a comment
                  You can password protect and secure your proofs but that won't stop someone from either copying or taking the work to another designer to recreate cheaper.

                  If I password protected or made the PDFs I send out unprintable, my clients would be all kinds of insulted.

                  If the item being sent is hush-hush enough to require a passworded PDF, it shouldn't be shared outside of a secure transfer portal to begin with. Sometimes that can't be helped so the thing might be passworded as a precaution. But very rare indeed.

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