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Difficult client not paying - best thing to do?

(12 Posts)
Flippityjig Tue 25-Sep-12 10:11:57

I've been doing some website work for a difficult client. The job was badly paid and the work increased on a weekly basis, so as I was paid a set amount per week the pay was getting worse. Last week I told her I was unable to continue to these problems and also the fact that my other work load had increased.

I offered to continue working until she found someone to take over, and I also offered to try and find someone to take over. I have had no replies from her, no acknowledgements of my emails and no pay for the past two weeks' work (pay is due - by agreement with her - on the Friday, however I have always had to chase on the Tuesday and she then usually paid on the Wednesday. I asked a few times if this still suited her and she either said yes or didn't reply at all!).

I am not prepared to continue at all under these circumstances. What should I do about chasing payment? I've never been in this situation before (well, once but after a reminder payment was made last time and it was a different client) and am unsure how to chase without being on bad terms.

I have two acquaintances who would like to take over the job and I have told her that but still no reply.

Thanks for any suggestions.

SlightlySuperiorPeasant Tue 25-Sep-12 12:28:17

Stop working on it, send her the invoice for the amount outstanding by recorded delivery with a deadline for payment and if she doesn't pay up, take her to the small claims court (if it's not a huge amount).

That might screw things up for passing it over to a friend but who really wants to work for a difficult person for free?

littlebluechair Tue 25-Sep-12 12:30:40

I was going to advise basically the same as SSP has, stop trying to be nice and just be businesslike. You can not chase payment from a non-payer without being on bad terms, because it is their non-payment which has put you on bad terms isn't it? So stop feeling bad, take a deep breath, write up an invoice and send it as detailed above.

feetheart Tue 25-Sep-12 12:37:06

I agree with SlightlySuperiorPeasant though would probably send a statement or two, each with a slightly more strongly worded letter, in between the invoice and the small claims court.
I do the admin for DH's business and , surprise, surprise, its always the difficult clients who I have to chase. Usually when you get to the 'if you don't pay by xxx date I will refer the matter to the Small Claims Court" letter they pay up. If not follow it through. Its quite simple, can be done online and costs about £60 which you can claim back from the client.
Keep things clear, keep copies and be the cool calm professional.
VERY annoying but goes with the self-employed territory I think.

Good luck

Flippityjig Tue 25-Sep-12 12:47:30

Thanks for the advice. Unfortunately I do not have an address, just email address.

I will certainly be telling my acquaintances of her tendency to pay late if I do pass them to her, no worries!

I thought I would send a reminder after two weeks and then after a further two weeks sending a threatening letter about referring to the Small Claims Court if she still hasn't paid. Does that sort of timing sound okay?

SlightlySuperiorPeasant Tue 25-Sep-12 12:50:42

You really need an address for her - bit late now but do evetything you can to find one and it's something to make sure you have before beginning work for any new clients.

Timings are fine I think. Do you have a contract with times to refer to?

TalkinPeace2 Tue 25-Sep-12 13:11:25

If you are writing a website for somebody, and you do not have their address there are several issues
for a start the Distance Selling Regulations - if they plan to sell ANYTHING from the site, it is illegal to NOT have their true contact details on the site.

How did you start working for them without a written quote and acceptance?

How will you do small claims court without an address?

Time to start looking them up through google / duedil / facebook / linkedin - and get paid then walk away

littlebluechair Tue 25-Sep-12 13:27:58

Don't pass this work on to your friends, I would be hacked off if you did that to me!

Flippityjig Tue 25-Sep-12 13:36:11

I took over the job from someone else when they needed a replacement urgently. It's not writing a website, it's updating an info website on a daily basis (no sales involved). No address details on the website and I have no contract, that was to follow, but of course hasn't. I do have an email with details of pay. I guess I'll learn from this and no I won't be passing the job to someone else tbh. When I took it on I was given no info about the situation being like this

I have found them on LinkedIn and will be walking away as soon as I (hopefully) get my pay. I have in the last twenty mins received an email saying she will pay my invoice asap. That's a start!

TalkinPeace2 Tue 25-Sep-12 13:41:54

Lesson learned.
There is ALWAYS a reason why somebody does not finish a job - and unless you can immediately see that your predecessors work was dire, its usually to do with the client !

littlebluechair Tue 25-Sep-12 13:48:14

Contracts/addresses etc first next time - if anyone wants you to work in a dodgy way then they are not to be trusted. Hope it works out and you can put this down to experience soon.

Flippityjig Tue 25-Sep-12 13:57:23

Thanks everyone. Lesson learned.

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