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I've been working with this person as an event photographer for quite some time. She was always very tight with her money and I often accepted to work for less with her because of the client-photographer relationship we developed.
2 months ago I worked for 4 consecutive days with no pay because she convinced me that because we've been working together for such a long time, we should trust each other. Well, I even delivered the DVD with all the pictures from those 4 days and I still haven't received any pay.
At first she would avoid me and send me a message every 2 weeks saying that she needs more time but nowadays she is just completely ignoring my calls. I talked to her friends and they told me she's still around, and that they text regularly so it's not like she's had an accident or she changed her phone number.
I am desperate now and I think that my only option left is to call the police, would they help me? We are from the same city in New York and I know her address, however, I would really like to avoid this as I know a lot of her friends and I work for them to...
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Check your contract and then contact a solictor. Don't know about over there but in the UK this would be a civil matter.
Hi, thanks for the response.
There is no contract, I am a freelance photographer. I gave her an invoice if that counts.
Remember their are no friends in business.
Quote: There is no contract
You can have a verbal contract - see here. But you would probbaly have to prove your case in court.
Quote: my only option left is to call the police, would they help me?
If they are anything like the UK police, they will not touch this type of thing with a bargepole. They will likely say this is a civil matter and suggest you contact an attorney.
You may, ultimately, have to treat this as a learning experience........ i.e. put everything in writing even if only by email.
Thank you for your responses.
We actually talked through e-mail so everything's written, I have the e-mail when she said she was gonna pay me 2 months ago.
Also, I noticed that I made a mistake on my original post, I say I agreed to work with no pay but that meant that I wasn't going to get paid at the day of the event but 2 weeks later.
I also have the text messages where she kept telling me that she was going to send the money but never did.
Suing her, while more reasonable, sounds expensive and I am just talking about a $600 pay here.
Quote: We actually talked through e-mail so everything's written
That sounds much better. Do you have our equivalent of what we call the "Small Claims Court" (nowadays known as the Small Claims Track of the County Court)?
If so it may not cost too much to sue - without involving lawyers.
But could it be she is up to her neck in debt and you are just one of many clamouring for their money? Could be worth finding out.
Thank you for the information, I found out that I can go with the small claims court. Thanks again!
Now I am thinking, should I go ahead with this process or should I sent her a final warning telling her about my plans to go to court?
Quote: Remember their are no friends in business
I wouldn't quite agree with that.
However I would say - you can be friends with the people you do business with but you can't do business with your friends.
You should write to her giving her notice that unless she pays in full within 7 days of her receiving your final demand you will be filling a claim against her in the small claims court. Send this by recorded delivery so that you can show that she is in receipt of your demand.
With a bit of luck the threat of getting a county court judgment against her will get her to cough up.
Before you take any legal action, you need to clearly understand the basis on which the photography was provided.
Under English law, there are tests that establish whether a contract exists. Was there an agreement, either verbal or written in emails, for supply of images and was a price agreed? Were both parties fully aware that they were entering into a contract? Did both parties enter the contract of their own free will? This all needs to be clarified before the OP even considers legal action.
In the OP, the "client" may be under the impression that the photography services were being supplied free of charge. She will have good reason to feel upset if a fee is now demanded.
If the OP has consistently worked for a less than a "normal fee" in the past, the "client" might believe she's dealing with a schlemiel and she can now do as she likes.
We need to charge full price if we want to be respected and the greater the fee, the greater the respect!
Many newbies have a similar problem. All work needs to be covered by standard business procedures. When a photographer comes across as totally professional, clients take fewer liberties!
Don't forget to sent the final notice letter tracked/ signature required. This will stop her saying she never received the letter!
You might want to watch this:
ps the title and opening contains a naughty word, the content is however sound advice and well worth listening to for someone who has found themselves in a situation like you have.
Pour concrete down her drains.
Judge Judy is usually quite entertaining!
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