Lack of Payment

Last week I’d had enough of not being paid by Sean (for those who know my friends, I’m not talking about Sean Baumann, but rather another Sean from a company that begins with S)

If you want some background, here it is: Sean who I’d done work for last year, still has not paid an invoice I sent him in November. (4 months ago!) He keeps coming up with the lamest of excuses.  I’ve probably called him a few hundred times over this period, and he’s probably called me about 10 times.

He seems to be unable to ever call back.  Even when he promises for the 5th time that he’ll call, somehow it never happens. Anway, at the start of January I got hold of him and he said he’d pay me at the end of the 1st week, then suddenly I could not longer get hold of him. 

Eventually I found out that he’d been having difficulty paying his salary bills on time too.  So when I finally got hold of him he claimed that his PC had died and he’d lost my invoice.  So he didn’t know how to pay me, or what to pay me.  So I sent him an e-mail again (and faxed it to him so he couldn’t claim he didn’t get the e-mail, and confirmed with his receptionist that the fax had gone through)

After many more calls he eventually claimed to have paid me at the start of February.  But the money never arrived in my account.  He stopped responding to my calls (for about the 4th time he just disappeared for a week or so)  Finally I could contact him and he said he’d e-mail me proof of payment.

I checked that I’d given him the correct details, and he claimed he’d put it in the account I gave him.  but his “proof of payment” just never arrived, there were “continual” e-mail problems, or he was out of the office and couldn’t e-mail them to me, or he’d just ingnore my calls.  Finally last Thursday I semi-lost it with him on the phone (actually I was very civil, but I was very abrupt and direct which is not my usual style), and he said he’d immediately e-mail me the proof again.

About an hour after he said he’d e-mail me, I still hadn’t recieved his mail, so I mailed him to check that he had the right e-mail address.  He mailed back to say he hadn’t mailed it yet, but he’d do so immediately. So 2 hours later when I’d not recieved it, I wrote him a fairly blunt e-mail saying that since he’s not producing any proof of payment, and has come up with no valid reasons for him not to pay me I would be seeking legal recourse (based on advice I’d recieved), so it was up to him to respond with proof of payment by the friday or I’d begin following the advice. For some odd reason my e-mail to him from my personal address bounced saying that it couldn’t find the mail server.  This had happened before, and if I read the headers of the e-mail I could see that actually the mail had got to his general mail server, and was being passed on to one of their internal servers when it suddenly “couldn’t find the mail server”. (very odd)  So I sent him the mail from my work address, and it went through immediately. This happened once before when Sean was expecting me to be e-mailing him documents demanding payment.  So I’m guessing he just chose to “reject” mail from my private address (not realising that I actually have more than one address from which to send him mail) After that I found out that the credit bureau/ITC would blacklist his company and take over the collection of the funds for only R20 and about 10% of the invoice amount.  Which would be a great relief.

Anyway, on Friday he promised to call back but didn’t.  (as usual)

On monday I called him and told him I’d be at his office to collect the print out, so eventually I met him there.  Suddenly he’d realised that he’d actually paid someone also called Paul (another freelance developer they’d used before, who I’d dealt with last year) and now Paul was going to put the cash back in his account and he’d have the check for me on Tuesday.  Tuesday passed, wednesday passed, and thursday passed.  Each day, I called him.  Sometimes he ignored my calls, sometimes he ignored the messages I’d left on his cellphone and with his receptionist, and once or twice he answered my calls, promised to call back and didn’t.  Its now Friday. I’ve spoken to him today and aparently the cheque should be ready today (aparently the other Paul hadn’t put the money into Sean’s account yet).  He was going to check that it had been deposited and call me back. That was over 2 hours ago!

I think I’m going to call him just now, and tell him about the nice people at our credit bureau.

[Update: Someone commented today that I should not have mentioned the other Paul’s full name in the entry because it could be misinterpreted as if he was in the wrong and didn’t pay Sean back.  So I decided to remove his name and add the following:  After further dealings with Sean and a very frustrated e-mail by the other Paul, I can only assume that Sean was lying to me when he claimed that he had mistakenly paid “my” money into the other Paul’s account.  Where I said “aparently the other Paul hadn’t put the money into Sean’s account yet”, I simply meant that from what Sean had told me this was the case… I did not mean to imply that the other Paul had not in fact done so.  All dealings I’d had with Paul had been most positive, and to be honest I found it rather strange that Sean claimed he had not paid the money back into his account.  I guess my frustration at Sean may spilled over into Paul’s life, and I certainly hope he was not caused any hassles.]

[Update 2: After being threatened with legal action by the other Paul for mentioning his full name in the blog entry, I’ve removed the comment by his “friend” (not sure about that fact, but I’m guessing that the “friend“ found the blog and passed it on to him) anyway, I decided that I should probably remove the name of the other Sean and the name of the other Sean’s company. I’m still of 1/2 a mind to actually visit the other Sean at his offices and confront him about the lack of payment… But since he claims never to have approved the costs, and I have no e-mails or faxes to support my claims.  Well, I do have e-mails regarding the sites while I was working on them, and copies of the sites and their databases on my PC, and a friend who works (worked?) there who can vouch for me that I was doing the work for Sean … but none of that is the same as a piece of paper with his signature on it, so I aparently don’t stand much chance in court of proving that I did the work.]

One thought on “Lack of Payment

  1. Hi,

    Yeah… I see the potential problem… All I said was "aparently the other Paul hadn’t put the money into Sean’s account yet"… I didn’t state that the other Paul didn’t put the money in the account. I just said that Sean didn’t bother to resolve the issue. I have no issues with Paul, and judging by Sean’s reactions to the entire situation I doubt he even made the mistake he claimed (i.e. I doubt he ever paid the money into the other Paul’s account – but that’s just speculation)

    As it turns out, Sean started to deny that I’d ever worked for him (odd since I happen to have it confirmed by one of his current employees, and I somehow have the source code and databases for all the sites I claim to have worked on)

    Anyway… Thanks for the advice… I’ll update the page to remove the other Paul’s surname so that people don’t get the wrong idea about him…



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