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Late and non-payers provide some entertainment to freelancers

Jo Smith

The last couple of years have seen a huge push on the part of industry bodies representing freelancers and other self employed individuals to tackle the problem of late and non-payment.Late and non-payers provide some entertainment to freelancers

Many independent professionals have had their businesses threatened by cash-flow problems caused by clients failing to pay invoices in a timely manner, or some refusing to pay at all. This has led organisations such as the Association of Independent Professionals and the Self Employed have been putting pressure on the government to give freelancers more options for pursuing their creditors.

However, while there have been some inroads made into the processes needed to eliminate the problem once and for all, there are still some businesses that have left invoices to go overdue or failed to pay them have responded.

Amongst those are a number which, instead of simply failing to pay, have provided excuses to their creditors which range from the unfathomable to the downright laughable, many of which have been collated by a software company to offer some light relief to those awaiting payment.

Some demonstrated a substantial failure to understand IP law, including a photographer who was told that as the photograph they took was of the client, they didn't need to pay them, whereas others cited sailing holidays, ill pets and dubious ailments as reasons for failing to pay out.

One firm went for the unusual approach of claiming that they had complete the work themselves and therefore did not owe the freelancer anything, and another attempted to write a non-payment clause into a new contract to get out of forking over the funds owed.

Non-payers also came up with such original excuses as 'the dog ate your invoice' and the unfathomable 'my cat is ill', whereas the creditor who said that they had had their tonsils out did at least attempt a smidgen of legitimacy.

Analysis of the report has revealed that businesses will often resort to outright lies to avoid paying invoices that they owed, and the chief executive of the company that conducted the research recommended a few simple techniques to improve their chances of being paid.

These include sending frequent reminder emails, calling regularly to chase payment and keeping track of late payment legislation to stay on top of what option are available in terms of debt recovery options should informal routes fail to have the desired effect.

Some of the excuses given were utterly ridiculous, including offers to provide a pint instead of paying up; a claim that the creditor had no money left but would be able to pay the freelancer if they worked on a new project involving moving to Qatar; a claim that the freelancer didn't chase the client enough and one client who claimed that not using the work provided meant that they didn't need to pay.

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