06-26-2012, 08:27 AM
The 'you'll get paid when we get paid' BS was unfortunately fairly common when I was freelancing in London.
In the UK, there are quite a few different pieces of legislation you can use - for a start, you are allowed to add a late payment fee to the late invoice, and claim interest. Clients REALLY don't like paying the late fee, and will try to pay the original amount only, but I did manage it. You also have the option of taking a late payment to the small claims court, which would result in a county court judgement (CCJ) against the company.
Other countries may have similar rules - where it could get complicated is if your client is in one country, and you are in another, or if you never actually signed a mutual contract.
One approach that worked for me in serious situations was to fill in the paperwork for the small claims court (it doesn't take very long), and send a copy to the client with a note that it will go in the post in 7 days unless they pay. You need to be prepared to actually go through with it, but I never had to - this did the trick.
Any of this will probably burn your bridges, and you won't work for this client again. But if they waste your time, and don't pay, then you don't want to, right?
Hope you get this sorted soon. Would be great to have a 'black-list' of clients who habitually don't pay freelancers, but there isn't a non-libelous or non-dubious way of doing it, so no-one has. How would you police it, and what would happen if someone blacklisted a company they didn't like for other reasons?
Disclaimer: I am not a lawyer, just someone who hates being paid late.