Client: I would like to hire you to write content for me. I run a graphic design website and I need a content contributor for my clients. I will pay you $0.05 per word.
Me: Sounds good. When would you like me to get started and what topics would you like me to write?
Client: I would like you to start right away. The first client is an automotive dealership in need of (x amount of articles). How long can it take you to get them finished?
Me: I’ll submit 5 a day Monday through Friday until they are completed. How does that sound?
Client: That sounds great. I will pay you every 15th and 30th/31st for all work submitted through PayPal.
Me: Sounds great.
After an entire week’s worth of work submitted:
Client: Everything looks wonderful. Absolutely wonderful. I love it. The client loves it.
I proceed with another week worth of work.
Client: The articles still look great but now I need to know if you will format them in HTML for me.
Me: Sure. I charge a small fee per article for additional formatting (client had initially asked for articles in .doc format)
Client: Oh. Well, why is that? It’s not hard to do. It only takes a few minutes.
Me: That’s just the way I operate. Do you agree to the small rate or would you prefer to format them yourself?
Client: (frustrated) Just do it. I’ll pay your fee.
Me: (15th rolls around) Hello, I went ahead and submitted my invoice to you for work submitted thus far as agreed. Please let me know if all looks good from your end. Thanks!
Client: What’s this? Why did you send me this?
Me: It’s the 15th.
Client: Yes, I know, but why are you seeking payment?
Me: Because we agreed that you would pay on the 15th and the 30th/31st for all work submitted up to this point.
Client: Oh, no. There must be a misunderstanding. You get the rest of the articles for this project done first and then I will pay you.
Me: I’m sorry, but that’s not how this works. Time is money and you already agreed on a set payday for work submitted up to this point. Please remit payment and I will continue working on the rest of the articles.
Client: I paid your invoice.
Me: (checks invoice and see that it is well under what I am owed) Can you explain to me why you have paid me nearly $200 under what you owed me?
Client: Well that first week you submitted articles, you did not format them.
Me: You did not ask me to format them until after you accepted them, said they looked great and told me the client loved them, too.
Client: Yes, I know, but I had to have my assistant format them for me and it took several hours. In fact, it took a few days to format all of them. It’s a very difficult and time-consuming job.
Me: Is that so? Please remind me why you were so adverse to the extra fee I was wanting to charge, then, if you told me – and I quote – “It’s not hard to do. It only takes a few minutes.”
Client: (exasperated) Well, yes, for someone like you, but not my assistant. I have to make that money back somehow.
Me: Perhaps, then, you should have asked me to do the formatting from the beginning or informed me that you were going to cut my rate for formatting yourself. I ask that you remit the rest of what you owe me and I will either continue or we will part ways at this point.
Client: I do not owe you anything. You owe me. I formatted all of those articles the first week. You’re lucky you’re getting paid anything at all. (Proceeds to request a refund on the payment he sent me.)
Me: You have now pulled all the funds you just sent me via a refund.
Client: (cursing and yelling) Yes, of course! You owe me! If HTML formatted your articles you stupid b*tch!
Me: Sir, I will ask again that you remit payment or I will be forced to sell my articles elsewhere since I retain the right to my work.
Client: I have already submitted them to the auto dealer. That is my work. It is no longer yours.
Me: That’s fine, but it is still my work. Either provide the payment that you owe, in full, or I will be forced to contact your auto dealer and let them know that the articles they have belong to me.
Client: (Yells into the phone and starts cursing me out even more – yelling is so loud and garbled that I do not understand a word)
Me: (in a calm voice) I will expect to see the payment within 24-hours before I am forced to contact your client and ask them to remove my property from their website.
Client: (via email, later) If you dare contact my client I will be forced to sue you!(I ignore email and send out a reminder for payment)
Twenty-four hours pass and I contact the auto dealer. Client proceeds with more threats, still has not paid, and my articles have not yet been pulled from the auto dealer’s website. I spoke with a lawyer and am pursuing my legal rights as of this day.