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#1
ProMapper

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Hello All

I would like your views on a predicament that I have landed. Actually I had been working for a Mapping and Cartography company for the last six months on a freelance basis. I had done a few projects for them. I got paid for one of the projects but for the rest he has not paid and now not responding to my emails, skype or even phone calls for the last three weeks.

I do not intend to make his name public because there could be some genuine problem beyond his controls. And also he is quite a known person in the Mapping Community, and spoiling his image for a few hundred dollars does not seem to be in order.

My request to you all : Are there any documented procedures in US by which one can initiate legal action against such breach of trust in Freelance Business? Or what measures can be adopted to safeguard against such happenings.

I believe this is one of the most important issues in Freelance business and least addressed. Please express your views on th subject and also any agencies which can help in a legal manner.

Regards to all.

Anuradha

#2
natcase

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Hello All

I would like your views on a predicament that I have landed. Actually I had been working for a Mapping and Cartography company for the last six months on a freelance basis. I had done a few projects for them. I got paid for one of the projects but for the rest he has not paid and now not responding to my emails, skype or even phone calls for the last three weeks.

I do not intend to make his name public because there could be some genuine problem beyond his controls. And also he is quite a known person in the Mapping Community, and spoiling his image for a few hundred dollars does not seem to be in order.

My request to you all : Are there any documented procedures in US by which one can initiate legal action against such breach of trust in Freelance Business? Or what measures can be adopted to safeguard against such happenings.


A few clarifying questions:

- What was the nature of the contract or agreement to do work? Was it signed? Did it include a clause stating where arbitration over the contract would occur?

- What was the nature of communication with the client before he went silent? Had he made any response to your request for payment acknowledging that he owed you, or was he disputing the quality of delivered goods?

- Do you still hold out hope of working for the client (cash in advance :rolleyes: ) again? Burning bridges over flagrant non-payment won't make you a pariah in America (at least not to folks you actually want to do business with), but if you've written him off as a client, I wouldn't be so worried about using his name (be careful however that you do so in a non-libelous manner). You might also ask for private advice off-list from thoseof us who know some of the players domestically; some of us may have had direct experience with him before and have some ideas.

Nat Case
INCase, LLC

Minneapolis, Minnesota USA
maphead.blogspot.com



#3
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Hello All

I would like your views on a predicament that I have landed. Actually I had been working for a Mapping and Cartography company for the last six months on a freelance basis. I had done a few projects for them. I got paid for one of the projects but for the rest he has not paid and now not responding to my emails, skype or even phone calls for the last three weeks.

I do not intend to make his name public because there could be some genuine problem beyond his controls. And also he is quite a known person in the Mapping Community, and spoiling his image for a few hundred dollars does not seem to be in order.

My request to you all : Are there any documented procedures in US by which one can initiate legal action against such breach of trust in Freelance Business? Or what measures can be adopted to safeguard against such happenings.


A few clarifying questions:

- What was the nature of the contract or agreement to do work? Was it signed? Did it include a clause stating where arbitration over the contract would occur?

- What was the nature of communication with the client before he went silent? Had he made any response to your request for payment acknowledging that he owed you, or was he disputing the quality of delivered goods?

- Do you still hold out hope of working for the client (cash in advance :rolleyes: ) again? Burning bridges over flagrant non-payment won't make you a pariah in America (at least not to folks you actually want to do business with), but if you've written him off as a client, I wouldn't be so worried about using his name (be careful however that you do so in a non-libelous manner). You might also ask for private advice off-list from thoseof us who know some of the players domestically; some of us may have had direct experience with him before and have some ideas.


Well there was no contract as such but I have signed a NDA with him. There is no clause on arbitration etc.

Another issue, it was non-contractual work, means as and when the work comes up the client informs me and I give a quote for the work. The work is allotted, which I carry out and deliver to the specified FTP address or send as attachment to an email. The payment is done through Paypal, Moneybookers or direct wire transfer.

The last communication:- He allotted me a work and asked to deliver a sample for approval. After I delivered him the sample he is just silent and not replying to any of my mails or any other form of communication. I have all the email transactions with him in the server, would it not help as a proof?

I really do not want to burn bridges. I have a firm belief that it takes a lot of time in developing faith and relation; should we not allot the same amount in time in breaking it? Though you are correct that in US it is pure business and it would not affect anyone. Just a matter of time; it is also my duty that I must let everyone know about him, as it may help them in avoiding such a situation later.

Regards.

#4
CHART

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Although you do not have a contract in hand, I think you have all the elements to prove that the work was requested and delivered...

the client informs me and I give a quote for the work. The work is allotted, which I carry out and deliver to the specified FTP address or send as attachment to an email.


One note... and others might add (or correct me).

If the work was performed in State X or Country Y, the laws of that state and country are to be followed. e.g. If I performed work for a US company and I send them a letter of intent (e.g. requesting a payment for x work perform within 20 days) for unpaid work and they refuse to pay, then I would bring the matter to MY Canadian province's legal services and they would establish if my claim is legally viable. If it is then my costumer will need to physically show up in my provincial court based on a court order.
... if you go that route I believe your client will most likely pay rather that showing up in your court room if he feels he has a small chance to win ...

Now that is 'heavy' stuff. But I would consider at least the following for the time being
1. Send him a registered letter asking explanation for non payment.
2 ... then if nothing happens send a registered letter of intent.
3. follow will the legal stuff.



Next time try to get a Purchase order number for your work... That is the best legal document in the case on non payment.



Regards,
Chart

#5
natcase

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Ditto what Jacques said.

Promapper, I wonder if you could help educate me/us about how business is done in India? Here, signed contracts and purchase orders are the baseline; that way in a dispute both parties are starting from the same point, and no-goodniks are easier to spot and may find it harder to weasel out.

We do a work agreement before every project, just so we're clear about payment terms, intellectual property issues, general scope of work, etc. My wife is a freelance writer, and she works from a contract as her work assignment, except from the really disorganized clients. It's a bad sign when there's no contract. Your radar should go up.

But my very superficial sense of the Indian market is that direct personal relationships are the gold standard. Not that they aren't inportant here, but I have the sense the signed paper is less important in India (in Asia in general?) than really knowing who you're working with. Which puts people in your position (no USA-style contract, no India-style contact) in a really bad position on both sides of the globe. And it can be awkward to small-time potential hirers (like myself) who can't really afford a round-trip to New Delhi for the small amount of outsource work we might be looking for.

Am I off base here, or does this ring true?

Nat Case
INCase, LLC

Minneapolis, Minnesota USA
maphead.blogspot.com



#6
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Ditto what Jacques said.

Promapper, I wonder if you could help educate me/us about how business is done in India? Here, signed contracts and purchase orders are the baseline; that way in a dispute both parties are starting from the same point, and no-goodniks are easier to spot and may find it harder to weasel out.

We do a work agreement before every project, just so we're clear about payment terms, intellectual property issues, general scope of work, etc. My wife is a freelance writer, and she works from a contract as her work assignment, except from the really disorganized clients. It's a bad sign when there's no contract. Your radar should go up.

But my very superficial sense of the Indian market is that direct personal relationships are the gold standard. Not that they aren't inportant here, but I have the sense the signed paper is less important in India (in Asia in general?) than really knowing who you're working with. Which puts people in your position (no USA-style contract, no India-style contact) in a really bad position on both sides of the globe. And it can be awkward to small-time potential hirers (like myself) who can't really afford a round-trip to New Delhi for the small amount of outsource work we might be looking for.

Am I off base here, or does this ring true?


I absolutely agree with both of you, the problem does exist in Freelance business when the business happens across the globe and that too not for very large amounts. Here trust and direct personal relationship counts more than the legal contracts. If I get a project worth $500 from some client and he does not pay then it will not be worthwhile going all the way to US or Canada to settle it in a court of law. So even if I have a written contract with the client, first I need to clear the hurdles of a visa and other formalities, then arrange for cash for foreign travel and then when I reach US, I am not sure that I would be the beneficiary at the end of all this rigmarole.

So the whole freeelance work across globe can probably happen more on trust and less on contracts.

Now coming to the Indian culture. We are a little less contract oriented. About a few years back when the Indian stock market was not in DEMAT form, the share trading would happen on trust and money worth Tens of thousands of dollars was traded without any formal contracts. It sure had its pitfalls. And today I am into the same situation.

However I am prepared to wait. And I must thankyou for your valuable suggestions and comments. Actually by sharing my misery with you all I am a little relieved also.

Thanks and regards

Anu

#7
Matthew Hampton

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In retrospect I think you SHOULD let us know who this company/individual is.

This is a community of cartographers and the better we protect ourselves from deadbeat companies/individuals the better we are as a collective. If they continue to give you the runaround I would ask that you tell us who they are so we can protect ourselves from them.

co-cartographic creator of boringmaps.com


#8
Derek Tonn

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In retrospect I think you SHOULD let us know who this company/individual is.

This is a community of cartographers and the better we protect ourselves from deadbeat companies/individuals the better we are as a collective. If they continue to give you the runaround I would ask that you tell us who they are so we can protect ourselves from them.


I'd like to know as well. However, the one thing Anu has to be careful of is to not make any slanderous or (especially!) erroneous claims if he chooses to share that type of information....as that could expose him (and even Nick, as the sponsor/owner of this site) to potential legal action. I got scared-SILLY about that stuff while I was working in higher ed and attended a conference dealing with liability exposure. An ivy league listserv had a discussion on it back in the 1990s where a vendor either did a lousy job and/or didn't get paid for services performed, and one of the institutions subsequently said something to the effect of "never, EVER hire these clowns!" Well, a handful of lawsuits and hundreds of thousands of dollars later, that particular institution (and the institution which owned/operated the listserv, I believe) learned an incredibly painful lesson.

Believe me, I want to create a big, mean page on my web site and post in every listserv/forum I participate in about the two dead-beat clients we've worked with over the past seven years who never paid their bills! However, I'll let the "karma rule" get 'em instead of exposing myself to any potential litigation. ;)
Derek Tonn
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#9
ELeFevre

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In retrospect I think you SHOULD let us know who this company/individual is.

This is a community of cartographers and the better we protect ourselves from deadbeat companies/individuals the better we are as a collective. If they continue to give you the runaround I would ask that you tell us who they are so we can protect ourselves from them.



Well, considering we are only hearing one side of the dispute, I'm not sure how fair or useful it is start posting names. Just because someone says so and so is a deadbeat company doesn't make it true....or false. Doing so sounds like slander to me. If a court finds such and such company/individual to be at fault, at that point it would be useful and totally appropriate to make the name of the company public. Beyond that we have to take it as a learning experience. Just my 2cents.



#10
Hans van der Maarel

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Can't speak for Nick of course, but I agree with Derek and Erin. I can totally agree to Matthew's point, but it's not up to us to play judge here.

Just my 2 cents
Hans van der Maarel - Cartotalk Editor
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#11
ProMapper

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Can't speak for Nick of course, but I agree with Derek and Erin. I can totally agree to Matthew's point, but it's not up to us to play judge here.

Just my 2 cents


STOP PRESS. The guy has got back to me, I recieved his email yesterday and he has apologised for not replying to the umpteen mails etc. He has given valid reasons for his absence. In retrospect I think he must have seen this post on cartotalk. So I must thank this forum, it has the power. Thanks Cartotalk and I thank all of you for your views.

Let the Karma rule, rightly and succintly said. The holy book of us Hindus, Gita also says that you must do your Karma, and leave the outcome or result to God. Some may say that this will be the beginning of the end of your business. Think again.

Thanks again to all of you.

Regards

Anu

#12
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Let the Karma rule,


I got a better idea.
Lets form a secret society of avenging assasins. Whenever a client offends any one of us, We leave a Black Map on his premises warning him that 'X' now marks his spot.
In brightest day and darkest night ,
No deadbeat shall escape our sight.
Let those who welch on the cartographer's right
beware the power of the Black Map's might
Jean-Louis Rheault
Montreal


#13
Hans van der Maarel

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I got a better idea.
Lets form a secret society of avenging assasins. Whenever a client offends any one of us, We leave a Black Map on his premises warning him that 'X' now marks his spot.
In brightest day and darkest night ,
No deadbeat shall escape our sight.
Let those who welch on the cartographer's right
beware the power of the Black Map's might


Do we get ninja outfits? 'Cause then I'm in...

Anu, glad to hear you got it sorted out.
Hans van der Maarel - Cartotalk Editor
Red Geographics
Email: hans@redgeographics.com / Twitter: @redgeographics

#14
ProMapper

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When I joined the college I was told that cartographers are both artists and scientists however Jean Louis has proved that one amongst us is an accomplished poet too. The rhyme is great.

Well this also gives an idea for a site for providing contractual agreement between two parties. There are number of Freelance sites but this will be a little different. Here the two parties are already known to each other unlike the Freelance sites and are making the site as a mediator for contractual obligations. Any takers.

And thanks Hans for the good wishes.

Best regards.

#15
Derek Tonn

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Let the Karma rule,


I got a better idea.
Lets form a secret society of avenging assasins. Whenever a client offends any one of us, We leave a Black Map on his premises warning him that 'X' now marks his spot.
In brightest day and darkest night ,
No deadbeat shall escape our sight.
Let those who welch on the cartographer's right
beware the power of the Black Map's might


[sarcasm] You DO know, Jean-Louis, that some of the other members of our design team at mapformation jokingly call me "The Godfather" or "Don," right?! Guys cross our firm's path and decide to make a little "unpleasantness" for us and they end up getting it back at them 5-10 fold. I do try and watch my back VERY carefully though when shopping in outdoor markets...ESPECIALLY around any vendors selling oranges! To date though, no contracts out on me have yet been cashed.[/sarcasm]

Seriously though, there is SUBSTANTIAL power in numbers. The more we all can unite and share resources, expertise, marketing campaigns, legal advice, etc, etc, the stronger ALL of us will be...both as individuals AND as an industry. CartoTalk has helped us move another several steps in the right direction, but I would love to see even MORE collaboration in the months and years to come. B)
Derek Tonn
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