Everyone has their horror stories about clients. I have one.
I was hired by a doctor to do a couple of trifold brochures and agreed to an hourly payment schedule thru the lead site I was working from. So at the end of each week the invoice is sent and paid. The first drafts were delivered and the client loved them. He paid the first invoice and then he disappeared. Almost a month later he resurfaced and was in a big hurry to get the brochures done. He gave changes, and despite my already full schedule (and despite his nasty, demanding, and condescending attitude – where did that come from? He liked the designs.), I turned them around quickly – the first of the brochures was completed in just days. He explicitly said he proofed the brochure, and approved the additional cost to buy imagery for it. Then he disappeared again without finishing the second brochure. When he resurfaces again it is to tell me there was an error in the brochure. It happened to be within a graphic, so spell check didn’t pick it up. And, although I do make every effort to proof my work, any artist will tell you, we’re too close to it. That is why we specifically ask the clients to look over everything carefully. What I did was fix the mistake for free and offer an additional discount on the next invoice. Seemingly satisfied, the client quickly returned to finish the second brochure and that week he had both finals and the final bill with the discounts applied.
What he did instead, is one of those things that really makes me hope that karma is a btch. He declined the invoice and said that because of the mistake he is owed a discount of the same amount as the invoice. So essentially, because of a spelling mistake made in one brochure which the client himself approved and which was fixed, he felt he was owed BOTH brochures AND $100 worth of imagery for free.
And, the SOB got away with it.
As it turns out, it doesn’t matter what he agreed to in writing regarding the project. Because I didn’t use a particular feature that tracks my every move during the project with regular screen shots, my payments were not guaranteed. (Let this be a warning to other hourly workers out there on the lead site) So all he had to do is decline the payment, doesn’t even need a reason, and he gets his project without paying. Obviously, this guy is a smart guy, and did this on purpose. Under the hourly agreement there is no arbitration or mediation available, and the policy is the policy. He found a loophole. The really disgusting part is that instead of letting me know there was still an issue and allowing me the opportunity to work it out with him he deliberately and deceivingly finished the projects knowing he would not pay. What a despicable, dishonest, and truly mean thing to do. And for that, I sincerely hope he gets his.
So, my options are to take him to small claims court, which is additional cost and travel – a huge inconvenience to me. Or forget it. Legal counsel basically advised me to learn from the mistake and move on. But before I do…
This snake of a client actually does not own the rights to the brochure. I do. And therefore I have the right to resell it. So, if any of you out there know someone who may be able to use the exact layout/imagery already produced. I will update it to include their copy for a very low price. If they happen to be in the same area as the client who didn’t pay I’d even consider reworking the brochure for free…lol.
A little evil? Maybe. I really try not to be. I was definitely affected by the deplorable way in which I was treated. I always try to uphold myself to a higher standard… treat others the way I’d want to be treated… guess it goes to show you that just because you are smart or rich like a doctor, it doesn’t mean to have scruples or class.