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  1. #1
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    Advice on unpaid work

    I'm not sure if this is the right place for it but here goes:

    Recently did a short flash animation for a client. A price was agreed. He seemed to like it and said it would be fine provide a few small changes be made which I was happy to do.

    However now he's uploaded and using and animation on his site without paying me and is not responding to my emails. I just need a little advice on what I can/should do to resolve the issue.

    Thanks in advance.

  2. #2
    Galactic Overlord gold trophysilver trophybronze trophy
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    How rude!

    You'll probably get better responses in Business and Legal.

    I'll move it.

  3. #3
    I hate Spammers mobyme's Avatar
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    Send him an invoice by post asking for payment by return. If this gets no response send him a final demand by recorded delivery stating that unless you receive payment within seven days you will file a claim in the County Court and that he will be liable for additional costs. Do not be afraid to do this because you might lose him as a client; you don't need rubbish clients like this also don't be afraid to take it through the County Court, the procedure is very simple and you will get automatic judgment if he does not respond. If you have to go to court again it is very simple there will just be you, him and a judge. You will win because he is using your work and hasn't paid you. When you put your claim into the court attach a screenshot of his site with your work on and a copy of the emails you have sent him, also a copy of the two letters that you send him by post. Good luck and if you need help filling in the forms PM me.
    There are three kinds of men:
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  4. #4
    phpLD Fanatic bronze trophy dvduval's Avatar
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    Keep bugging him. Send him a message each week. Maybe let him know that you may need to try to reach him another way, such as through his colleagues, as it seems your emails are not getting through.

  5. #5
    SitePoint Wizard bronze trophy
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    Do you have a phone number for the guy? If not, try the whois for his domain. Give him a ring and try to sort it out - perhaps there's an innocent explanation (yeah, right...).

    Otherwise, you could file in the small claims court - I'd suggest you collect together all emails to prove what was agreed. Again. whois data should provide you with everything you need. I'd email the guy first to politely tel him you intend doing this unless he pays (attach the invoice) and give him 7 days to cough up.

    How much are we talking here? you could just chalk it up to experience. Next time, get at least 50% upfront and never, ever release files until you receive final payment. A contract would be handy also.

  6. #6
    Word Painter silver trophy Shyflower's Avatar
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    If he hasn't paid for it, it's still yours. File a DMCA complaint and notify his webhost that he is in violation of copyright. He may not pay for it, but at least he won't be able to use it anymore.
    Linda Jenkinson
    "Say what you mean. Mean what you say. But don't say it mean." ~Unknown

  7. #7
    SitePoint Enthusiast tiawood's Avatar
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    And in the future, never ever ever do work without some type of payment; either in full or half. And start using contracts or agreements. When I first started, I had a lawyer out of all people screw me out of $600 because there was no contract/no money upfront.

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    phpLD Fanatic bronze trophy dvduval's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by tiawood View Post
    And in the future, never ever ever do work without some type of payment; either in full or half. And start using contracts or agreements. When I first started, I had a lawyer out of all people screw me out of $600 because there was no contract/no money upfront.
    Yes, that's funny (in a bad sort of way). That is how my and I learned out lesson too. We lost a couple thousand on a law firm that just up and decided to use someone else and not pay us for our work.

  9. #9
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    Many thanks for the advice guys

    The work was for £100 (sterling) so its not the end of the world but at the same time I hate that I've been taking advantage of.
    The client hosted a competition on this site for a logo. I won and as such he asked me to do further work in creating a 'coming soon' flash animation using the previously designed logo. I receive payment for the logo and discussed the additional work via msn messenger. All I have is the saved transcript of the conversation that messenger creates automatically. Will this be enough to prove there was an agreement?

    Shyflower - how do I go about filling in a DMCA complaint?

    Thanks again all of you. I'll post updates on how I get on.

  10. #10
    Word Painter silver trophy Shyflower's Avatar
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    ICANN Uniform Domain Name Dispute Resolution Policy

    Along with the transcript of the conversation, you must have the raw files. Generally these files show a creation date. The web host can simply compare that to the date the files were uploaded on the server. Of course, the creation date will come first and the copyright infringer will be unable to provide proof of payment for those files.
    Linda Jenkinson
    "Say what you mean. Mean what you say. But don't say it mean." ~Unknown

  11. #11
    SitePoint Enthusiast tiawood's Avatar
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    I thought that was for disputing registered domains, not for work completed on websites?

  12. #12
    Word Painter silver trophy Shyflower's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by tiawood View Post
    I thought that was for disputing registered domains, not for work completed on websites?
    Oh gosh... sorry! Here's the right link. It isn't a form, but it's a good guideline and can be sent to webhosts as well as search engines.

    http://www.google.com/dmca.html#notification
    Linda Jenkinson
    "Say what you mean. Mean what you say. But don't say it mean." ~Unknown

  13. #13
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    No one should ever work without a written agreement. If you have a written agreement, don't hesitate to put a collections agent on them. Sure, you give up 20-30% of your money, but its better than nothing and at least someone is calling them ruthlessly.
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  14. #14
    Life is short. Be happy today! silver trophybronze trophy Sagewing's Avatar
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    Never say never

    I am in deep with a new project in NYC and we're still waiting for the attorneys to get the agreement together! If it falls apart, I'll get screwed for about $25k of actual expenses, but if it goes forward it will be a 2 or 3 year cash cow. We have an informal 'deal memo' which is the closest thing to a contract we have so far, but it's only 3 paragraphs and was sent via email so really we're exposed. For this kind of work (private companies providing services to gigantic organizations in the public sector) it's common to see projects start while the attorneys are still doing their thing, but it's always stressful.

    When I just starting out, I could have never taken such a chance. It's all about risk and reward, in the end.
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