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My Dealings with a Dishonest Freelance Writing Client

Although most of my freelance writing clients are as honest as they come, I have had some run-ins in the past. Unfortunately, this is part of the business. If there were not dishonest clients in every industry, it would be much easier for companies to succeed. But as you can imagine, this is never going to change.

Just recently, I rehashed a dishonest freelance writing client from the past. For me, this was a very unique situation, and one that is quite perplexing to say the least.

Back in mid-2006, I contacted a client that I regularly worked with at my past job. They are a web design and hosting company, so I figured they may have some freelance writing work available. Since I had always worked with them in the past, and they seemed to be honest, no bad vibes ever crossed my mind.

After working on my first project for them, the project manager got back to me and said that their client had put the job on hold for the time being. While this can be frustrating, it had nothing to do with me. Nothing until they told me that I would not be paid because their client disappeared. Since we agreed on a price of $450 for the entire project, I was angry and disappointed at the same time. After all, this is a decent chunk of change for any freelancer.

For a couple of weeks I kept in touch with the client, but eventually gave up. Not because I didn’t want the money, but because they simply did not want to pay. At the time, I chalked it up as a mistake, and figured that I had learnt my lesson.

Fast forward to last month. On a whim, I checked the website that I wrote the copy for a year and a half prior. And guess what? My copy was being used on almost every page of the site. As you can imagine, this infuriated me to no end. Not only did they refuse to pay me upon completion as discussed, but when they decided to use my content, they did not have the decency to get in touch and offer payment.

After calming down, I sent a quick email to my contact at the company. Luckily, he still works there. A couple days later he responded stating that he would look into my claim. Since they did not use all of my content, I received an email this morning asking, “What is your rate per word?” While I understand that they do not want to pay for the entire job, this time I am not going to let things go quite as easy as the first time. It was one thing when they duped me out of payment, but to use my words for who knows how long without paying is unacceptable.

As you can see, there are dishonest clients out there. While it is impossible to avoid them all, try to learn from my story. Even if you think that you know somebody, you can never assume that they will treat you right.

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3 Comments »Freelance WritingJanuary 17th, 2008

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