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Thread: Help needed - Clients refused to pay for service rendered

  1. #1
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    Angry Help needed - Clients refused to pay for service rendered

    Hi guys

    we shot the Actual Day Wedding for this Chinese couple on 9 Sept 09. After the wedding, we designed a coffee table album, downsized it and sent it over to them as PDF file for endorsement and minor changes within 2 weeks as written in the agreement. We start to find something amiss soon after the wedding. They were practically uncontactable and did not reply our sms/voicemails. When we finally got them, they would repeatedly changed apppointments to meet up to collect the DVD so that they can delay paying us the balance payment of $1800.

    As freelancers in this trade, can someone offer us some helpful advice how to proceed so that we can get our payment back? We've rendered the service, edited all photos, designed the coffee table album (yet to send for print as they refuse to give go-ahead). What should we do? It's most frustrating when you get such "chao-kuan" clients. During their wedding banquet at The Regent, there was free flow of wine and booze and so many of the guests drank till they were drunk! Yet when we called them to meet up so that we can pass them the DVD and collect bal payment, they can even suggest can they pay 1k first (that was in Nov). Now it's approaching end Dec, and they still keep giving excuses to meet up.

    What's the next best course of action to take? Do any of you encounter similar experience

    Thanks in advance for your help.

  2. #2
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    Unhappy How to get back payment?

    Hi guys

    we shot the Actual Day Wedding for this Chinese couple on 9 Sept 09. After the wedding, we post processed the photos, designed their coffee table album, downsized it and sent it over to them as PDF file for endorsement and minor changes within 2 weeks as stated in the agreement. As of today, we've only collected $500 deposit

    We start to find something amiss soon after the wedding. They were practically uncontactable and did not reply our sms/voicemails. When we finally got them, they would repeatedly give excuse (even up till 1 hour to appt time) to change apppointments that they can delay paying us the balance payment of $1800.

    As freelancers in this trade, can someone offer us some helpful advice how to proceed so that we can get our payment back? We've rendered good service, edited all photos, designed the coffee table album (yet to send for print as they refuse to give go-ahead).

    What should we do? It's most frustrating when you get such "chao-kuan" clients who don't honour their word. During their wedding banquet at a 5-star hotel, there was free flow of wine and booze till so many of the guests were drunk! Yet when we called them to ask for payment, they can even suggest can they pay 1k first (that was in Nov). Now it's approaching end Dec, and they still keep giving excuses to meet up.

    We've been most patient and tactful in our dealings with this couple, What's the next best course of action to take? Can anyone who encounter similar experience pls advise?

    Thanks in advance for your help.

  3. #3

    Default Re: How to get back payment?

    Quote Originally Posted by pixie_genie View Post
    Hi guys

    we shot the Actual Day Wedding for this Chinese couple on 9 Sept 09. After the wedding, we post processed the photos, designed their coffee table album, downsized it and sent it over to them as PDF file for endorsement and minor changes within 2 weeks as stated in the agreement. As of today, we've only collected $500 deposit

    We start to find something amiss soon after the wedding. They were practically uncontactable and did not reply our sms/voicemails. When we finally got them, they would repeatedly give excuse (even up till 1 hour to appt time) to change apppointments that they can delay paying us the balance payment of $1800.

    As freelancers in this trade, can someone offer us some helpful advice how to proceed so that we can get our payment back? We've rendered good service, edited all photos, designed the coffee table album (yet to send for print as they refuse to give go-ahead).

    What should we do? It's most frustrating when you get such "chao-kuan" clients who don't honour their word. During their wedding banquet at a 5-star hotel, there was free flow of wine and booze till so many of the guests were drunk! Yet when we called them to ask for payment, they can even suggest can they pay 1k first (that was in Nov). Now it's approaching end Dec, and they still keep giving excuses to meet up.

    We've been most patient and tactful in our dealings with this couple, What's the next best course of action to take? Can anyone who encounter similar experience pls advise?

    Thanks in advance for your help.
    any BnW?
    Dreams at Photoaid! Contact me, pls!

  4. #4

  5. #5
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    Default Re: How to get back payment?

    We drafted a quotation which states the price of the AD pkg and all inclusions (e.g. coffee table album) but he didn't sign cos he transferred the $500 deposit by internet transfer. Would that help?

  6. #6

    Thumbs up Re: How to get back payment?

    if there is a concluded contract, proceed to small claims tribunal, bro.

  7. #7

    Default Re: How to get back payment?

    Quote Originally Posted by pixie_genie View Post
    We drafted a quotation which states the price of the AD pkg and all inclusions (e.g. coffee table album) but he didn't sign cos he transferred the $500 deposit by internet transfer. Would that help?
    I am not sure about internet transfer. No contract abit hard to fight as they can say they have paid you the full amount of 500 etc...

    I am a freelancer too, but i always make sure the contract is sign by both party so it can cover both back sides too and also fair to both.

    Hope you will practice to have the contract signed too in the future.
    Dreams at Photoaid! Contact me, pls!

  8. #8
    Senior Member limwhow's Avatar
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    Default Re: How to get back payment?

    Hmmm... difficult customer. Difficult case because there is no signed contract.
    Otherwise it would have been much easier.

  9. #9

    Default Re: How to get back payment?

    Quote Originally Posted by pixie_genie View Post
    We drafted a quotation which states the price of the AD pkg and all inclusions (e.g. coffee table album) but he didn't sign cos he transferred the $500 deposit by internet transfer. Would that help?
    Transfering $ to you by internet is one thing, signing the contract is another... why should that affect their ability to sign a contract?

  10. #10
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    Default Re: How to get back payment?

    Nothing signed (I know....I took it for granted) but deposit amount via IB transfer but I've kept a series of SMSes and Emails about the transaction and the event.

  11. #11
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    Default Re: How to get back payment?

    from the little information here

    the contract is not signed
    they (the client) did not receive the final product
    the client did not pay the balance

    hard to fight

  12. #12

    Smile Re: How to get back payment?

    you are still entitled to claim for the balance amount, in contract, bro.

    cheers.

  13. #13
    Moderator catchlights's Avatar
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    Default Re: How to get back payment?

    any emails or sms, payment record?

    go and consult the small claim court see if the case stands.

    than send them a final email tell them you demand the final payment by when and when, no meeting no further discussion till you see the money. else will just bring them to small claim court.
    Shoot to Live, Live to Shoot
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  14. #14

    Cool Re: How to get back payment?

    as our Senior Member advised, that is a win-win alternative.

    press on bro.

  15. #15
    Member iMac08's Avatar
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    Default Re: How to get back payment?

    SCT first meet up will tell u: u need to go for hearing maybe. in this situation you need lawyers if i am not wrong...i'm not sure will the legal fees be hmm compensated. i know because i try SCT against my reno contractor. at SCT with the mediator, he says he and us cannot be the pro to assess situation and need third party. he also has no authority to say who is right or wrong and need hearing. after that i told the guy straight i will go for hearing and i told my contractor pls engage a lawyer as i will be getting my friend to defend my case. on sensing the lost due to legal fees even if he wins(cause my legal fee is free), the contractor gave in to my request.(i will have to win even if pursue on because i have enough evidence of failed promises and failure to deliver)

    So even if you know is a win win, you need to work out the legal fees...u need to draft letter...need hearing...the person who win at the end is the lawyer.

    u are on a 50-50 because there is no contract...email and sms..hard...they can say u edit it...if they want to play punk...if your client is those not so smart type..i will go ahead
    Last edited by iMac08; 10th December 2009 at 11:47 AM.

  16. #16

    Default Re: Help needed - Clients refused to pay for service rendered

    You've run into one of the classic problems facing freelancers -- getting paid!

    First of all, don't take it personally. You're may be offended by whatever excuses your 'client' throws at you, their lack of integrity etc, but be level-headed and think about what you're trying to achieve i.e. get paid.

    Secondly, do you have proper documentation -- endorsed quotations, agreements etc. If you do, then your course is clearer. If not, do at least keep a record of all communications (emails, SMSes etc).

    Third, try to get clarification -- ask if there's a problem? If you get an answer, you have an opportunity. If not... (Do note that their financial issues, if any, are not really relevant -- don't be duped by rich folks pretending they have no money. It happens a lot)

    Politely, but firmly, communicate that you have done the job, you're running a business and need to be paid. That if you don't receive any reply within ??, you will have to bill them for the work already done (this excludes the printing, which has not been done because they have not given the go-ahead). They can come back to you for the printing when they are ready -- you might want to ask for cash upfront for that!
    Asking for part payment is not unreasonable -- I do it for reasonable, friendly clients when a job goes into limbo. In my ex-agency, we had a clause in our quotes about such situations.

    Then bill them as promised. You can't take any legal action for non-payment if you don't bill them, which is sadly the next step, though hopefully unnecessary.

    Here's my disclaimer These are all my opinions, based on my own experiences, and should not be taken as legal advice. Use any part of it, or none, as you wish.

    Don't take crap from anyone, but know when to walk away, and good luck

  17. #17
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    Default Re: Help needed - Clients refused to pay for service rendered

    I Think you need a lawyer to send them a reminder letter. The charges for the lawyer will be incurred to the couple. Since you have everything in Black & White. I really hate people who Rip other people Off.

    For my case i normally ask a 100% payment if the charges is low after the agreement. No 100% payment No Agreement. If the Charges is higher in packages term I will ask for 50% the other 50% on later part is for printing services. If no payment after the shoot no print out and no photos.

    Through experience I have been rip off too. Every time I take it as a lesson.

  18. #18
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    Default Re: Help needed - Clients refused to pay for service rendered

    Quote Originally Posted by xMetalx View Post
    For my case i normally ask a 100% payment if the charges is low after the agreement. No 100% payment No Agreement. If the Charges is higher in packages term I will ask for 50% the other 50% on later part is for printing services. If no payment after the shoot no print out and no photos.
    Excellent advise.

    At least get paid for shooting first, do the post processing and wait for them to pay up the balance.

    The 3rd thing that I would suggest is that when they sign the agreement include a clause that states that they are also agreeing to give all rights to you as the photographer to their wedding. This means that even if they have not paid up the balance for the job, you have the right to use them in your portfolio and are free to use the images for any kind of promotion that you want to do in the future.... this includes selling their images for stock photography and whatever else that will get you other revenues of income.

  19. #19
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    Default Re: Help needed - Clients refused to pay for service rendered

    Technically, they haven't taken anything from you except your coverage services. I assume that your initial deposit doesn't even cover your service fees, hence the reason why you're feeling so frustrated. The agreement was drafted by you, so you have no choice but to live with this.

    My recommendation:

    Payments up to the wedding day should cover your service fees AT THE BARE MINIMUM. I personally collect 100% by the wedding day, since like yourself, I have encountered bad clients early on.

    Want to take things one step further? Album design will be done without the consultation of the client. If you feel that you want to consult your client, be prepared for delays - people are busy (I hope).

    Want to take things even further? Alternatively, if you decide to take payments for everything except the album, and want to consult your client on the album, then you have to set a deadline. Beyond the deadline, you can state that you are no longer responsible for designing the album. A little extreme, but hey, there are people out there who don't care how you feel.

    Simply put, you are in control of how your clients behave. Educate them.

  20. #20
    Moderator catchlights's Avatar
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    Default Re: Help needed - Clients refused to pay for service rendered

    cross posting

    How to get back payment?
    Shoot to Live, Live to Shoot
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