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Ask Slashdot: How To Collect Payments From a Multinational Company?

timothy posted about 2 years ago | from the greedy-europeans-all-they-want-is-money dept.

Businesses 341

An anonymous reader writes "I run a small dev shop focused on web development, based in Europe. For the past six years we've had lots of successful projects with clients from CEE, Western Europe and the U.S. One of our main clients was based in the U.S. We started working for them in 2008, while they were a 'promising start-up' and everything went smoothly until they were bought by a multinational corp. We couldn't be happier to work for such a big player in the market, andwe even managed to get by with huge payment delays (3-4 months on a monthly contract), but now, after more than two years working for them, I have the feeling we're getting left out. We have six-month-old unpaid invoices and we're getting bounced between the E.U. and U.S. departments every time we try to talk to them. What can a small company do to fight a big corporation that's NASDAQ listed and has an army of lawyers? They've been getting a lot of bad press lately so I don't think that will scare them either."

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Call out the Marines? (0, Redundant)

jfdavis668 (1414919) | about 2 years ago | (#42307741)

Seems to work in other situations.

Re:Call out the Mafia? (2)

Jetra (2622687) | about 2 years ago | (#42308113)

I hear chains and broken shins work wonders.

Name and Shame (4, Insightful)

Dartz-IRL (1640117) | about 2 years ago | (#42307749)

Name and shame.

And point out that they're costing jobs by not paying invoices.

Re:Name and Shame (1)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#42307869)

Name and shame.

And point out that they're costing jobs by not paying invoices.

Sure, because Name-And-Shame works sooooo well against patent trolls and other corporate scum, it'll certainly work against a giant multinational corporation not paying its debts to a company it can buy, sell, and extinguish with loose change it finds in its CEO's leather couch cushions.

Re:Name and Shame (1)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#42308053)

Can't be too many? Groupon?

Re:Name and Shame (5, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#42308087)

Name and Shame violates US consumer protection laws, so it's a bad approach if you plan legal action in the US, or fear the same.

It's multinational? A better idea might be to sue a local branch of the company in your local court.

Re:Name and Shame (5, Insightful)

Offenbach (1133493) | about 2 years ago | (#42308143)

Please do not do this! First off contracts can be more complicated than they seem and if you make a wrong statement it can leave your company open to libel/slander charge. Second, it will mean that company will never work with you again. It will also look bad, even if your in the right, with new clients down the road.

Go hire a lawyer for a few hours and get them to write a notice of payment. Likely you are getting transferred between low-level temps in the accounts payable department who don't know what they're doing. A good lawyer can usually get the attention of someone important. Even if you have to take them to court it won't necessarily ruin your business relationship with the company (this stuff happens all the time) - but calling them out in public will.

Nokia? (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#42307755)

I guess it's Nokia.

Re:Nokia? (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#42307813)

If it is then this is basically policy, but, unless this changed recently, the person buying services from you won't have a problem helping. The finance department and senior management do this a) because they are incompetent and b) to massage the numbers to they look better. The staff are normally embarrassed by that and can find a way to make sure it gets paid if you tell them what's happening.

Re:Nokia? (1)

CptPicard (680154) | about 2 years ago | (#42308067)

Last time I checked Nokia is based in Finland which is not in the US...

The typical answer (5, Insightful)

stonecypher (118140) | about 2 years ago | (#42307761)

Send them an invoice with the maximum late payment penalty that the law AT BOTH SIDES allows, with a giant red statement that they're half a year late, and send it it to the person responsible, with a clear explanation of how much each increased payment delay costs.

If they delay you even one month beyond that, send a new invoice with the expected increase, and cc: it with a copy of all the others you've sent to the person responsible, their manager, accounts receivable, and the office of the president.

Re:The typical answer (5, Insightful)

MickyTheIdiot (1032226) | about 2 years ago | (#42307791)

Yes this is the typical answer...

But something needs to be said: the law in the U.S. is AMAZINGLY forgiving for multinational companies not fullfilling contracts to individuals. We live in a society that is completely hypocritical when it comes to contracts. The masses seem fine when a company violates contracts to individuals but not vice versa.

I wish I could be positive, but with the laws and the courts so scewed towards the rights of corporations, what realistic chance does the submitter have to get his rightfully earned money?

Re:The typical answer (1)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#42307883)

I think this is very true and something I've often pondered. Nothing symmetrical about this. It's like we're all equal but some are just more equal than others...

Re:The typical answer (2, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#42307823)

I would recommend going about it this way.

This late payment is being caused by two things:
1. They don't know who the proper person to authorize payment is after the merger.
2. You don't rate high on the priority list as your invoice is below a certain threshold to constitue an emergency. In other words the penalty that you have built in is seen as a standard cost of doing business.

Most of the time large corporations are not evil just dumb due to corporate enforced amnesia generated by legal/risk calculus or staff turnover.

Re:The typical answer (4, Insightful)

Giant Electronic Bra (1229876) | about 2 years ago | (#42308061)

Ehhhhh, you can't generalize. I've done business with any number of Fortune 500's. Some are quite good, and they might get screwed up as you say, but they'll fix it if you can get to the right person. Others are actually actively evil and have a policy of just "fuck everyone". They will simply steal from you and flat out have no intention of ever paying.

1) Always have a signed written contract and PO whenever you deal with a large corp
2) Get paid up front before work is performed.
3) If you can't get these things then don't do business with them. Find some other sucker to do it and act as a sub.
4) Never do business with any bank of any sort whatsoever without cash up front. Don't even start until the check clears. All banks are scum, and the US banks are the worst (but not by much, UK banks are hot on their heels).

Re:The typical answer (2)

HornWumpus (783565) | about 2 years ago | (#42308093)

4a) Treat all consultancies like US banks.

Re:The typical answer (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#42307911)

Send it to the CEO, board of directors, etc, etc, etc. Send it via email and certified snail mail. And start adding every legal fee and surcharge for late payments, collections, etc. Clearly they no longer care about your relationship with them so you should take the hint and act in your own best interest.

If you're not going to burn the bridge, start charging your fees upfront.

If your product is mission critical to their operations, and you have some way of rescinding the licenses, do so.

Re:The typical answer (2)

peragrin (659227) | about 2 years ago | (#42307951)

no if they are one more month late send in your lawyer.

usually the threat of legal action is enough for some one to start double checking the peons work.

The fact is most big companies are hypocrites.

At my work We have exclusivity contracts for the region/ vendor. management is all for these contracts right up until they start getting screwed because of them and we get cut out of certian markets and then they are all against those contracts and deride them.

What's funny is they don't even realize just what they are fighting for/against they don't understand it.

Re:The typical answer (4, Interesting)

bhlowe (1803290) | about 2 years ago | (#42307975)

I would try a carrot and stick approach.

Add in a ~10% overhead and markup to all invoices.. then offer 3% net 30 payment terms. Most big companies have an accounting policy that says they must take the 3% discount (because it is the equivalent of borrowing money at >36% interest, something accountants hate.) The late fee is a little trickier, but write on the invoice that late fees of 6% per month are added after 60 days. If they complain about a late fee when you submit the invoice, kindly remind them that it only applies if the payment is later than 60 days, a more than fair period of time.

Lastly, follow up a day or two after you email the invoice. "Hi, just wanted to make sure you got my invoice and check on the status of it.." Make sure you have a name and phone number of the A/P person who will be paying it. Call every day regarding late invoices...

Good Luck!

Re:The typical answer (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#42308071)

3% net 30 is illegal in many countries, being that it would be covered under usury law. For example, in Canada, ANY extra charge that would cause an increase in the debt of over 60% is illegal. Once you break usury law, all bets are off as to your success at collecting.

The 10% overhead would break many usury laws right there.

Re:The typical answer (1)

HornWumpus (783565) | about 2 years ago | (#42308119)

Discounts are not usury. Your not increasing debt, you are offering to discount it if paid early. You start with the big number.

It's not really applicable to OPs problem. High charge has to be negotiated up front. Discounts can be offered unilaterally.

Re:The typical answer (1)

andymadigan (792996) | about 2 years ago | (#42308139)

Simply increasing your prices by 10% does not constitute a loan or debt, it's not covered by usury laws. Nor is providing a discount for paying early, since that isn't interest, it isn't charged every month.

Now, 6% per month late fee, I guess that would depend on whether the jurisdiction's usury law covered an involuntary loan (you've forced your vendor to extend you credit without an agreement to do so).

Aren't there credit reporting agencies for corporations? Isn't there a way this guy could damage the credit of the deadbeats?

Re:The typical answer (2)

xelah (176252) | about 2 years ago | (#42308145)

If it's anything like the nonsense I've seen they'll make sure there's no-one so simple as 'the person responsible'. They'll make sure the invoice has to be approved by one and sent to another, then the payment has to be approved by a third. More if they can find a reason. And they'll all pretend they don't/can't communicate, or flat out lie. The first will demand a copy of the PO, and then be on holiday or not available, then if they finally approve it the second person will deny receiving the approval. Then they'll claim it's out by $0.40, invalidating the whole process and making you start again. Etc. I'm sure every purchasing department or manager has their own little toolbox of tricks, and it doesn't seem unusual for using them to be company policy.

You could try offering discounts for early payment (better than trying to get them to pay late payment charges, which will probably just prolong the process by requiring more argument and approval, and give them an excuse to start their internal process again). I suspect you'll find they pay the early payment rate, but late.

In the end, if a company really doesn't want to pay, or not for a very long time, they won't. Not unless you can make yourself important enough to them that they take notice when you cut off their service (and they'll still bitch like hell when you do.....I've known customers build up big debts and then essentially bargain along the lines of 'we know it's causing your business problems, so we'll pay without fuss if you'll accept 80%'). There's not a lot you can do, other then either put up with it or not deal with them. Suing is choosing the second.

Find other clients (4, Informative)

rueger (210566) | about 2 years ago | (#42307765)

The anti-union types will hate this idea, but STOP WORKING FOR THEM!

If you're essential they'll find a way to pay you.

Re:Find other clients (5, Insightful)

LordLimecat (1103839) | about 2 years ago | (#42308003)

Im not a huge supporter of unions, but Im not seeing why I would hate that idea. I think most people would agree that if a customer treats you like crap, dropping them is a really good way to solve the problem.

Maybe next time they send a work request to you just respond "would love to do the work, but my superiors say I cannot begin work until we get at least a partial payment for the past invoices". Thats how we handled it at my past job and it always worked pretty well, both at cutting off people who truly werent going to pay and at getting money from folks who were just a bit behind the curve.

Re:Find other clients (1)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#42308013)

anti-union types? Sorry, but I'm fairly anti-union and that would be my recommendation. They need a service, they won't pay you for it, you don't provide it. No union needed. That's how I handle things at work, they won't give me a raise, I'll find a company that will. It's sort of the basis of what the anti-union mentality is built on. Unions are only necessary if you provide a service that literally anyone can provide, because then you're threat of stopping working for them is meaningless.

Re:Find other clients (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#42308029)

Change the domain name password pull down site for non payment and replace that site with a page saying close due to non-payment and anyone taking over this account could get paided up front.

Step 1... (0)

ZeroPly (881915) | about 2 years ago | (#42307767)

... grow some cojones and when requesting help on Slashdot, name the freaking company. The odds are that some of the people reading this thread either work for them or know someone who does. If you're not willing to stand up, we can't show you how to box.

Re:Step 1... (4, Informative)

LordLimecat (1103839) | about 2 years ago | (#42308011)

The odds are that if OP didnt give us the name, its because he/she was not authorized to do so by superiors / legal department. Publicly calling someone out like that without being cleared first is a bad idea: for the poster, it could potentially cost their job, and for the company it could start a defamation lawsuit.

Lawyer up (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#42307769)

Your contract should have stipulated payment terms and periods. If they are defunct on a payment, it is within your rights to garnish that amount from their accounts (you will need a court order to do so). Once you've issued the invoice, they must pay you.

But what it comes down to is that the next step is to talk with a lawyer, which you should do today or tomorrow. Delaying any longer will only hurt your case.

tl;dr lawyer up

get an attorney (5, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#42307771)

have an attorney in the usa draft them a letter asking for a simple explanation along with a detailed sequence of events.

this will mean they will ask their own attorney to give a response.

their own attorney will tell them they better avoid legal issues over a startup purchase. how would google look if it didnt pay off youtube debt holders when buying the site?

Re:get an attorney (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#42307959)

I agree with this; I think the most important part of what you're getting here is the attorney's letterhead. A letter from you says, to a giant corporation, "some jerk wants something." A letter from an attorney says "someone who has paid real money to retain and brief an attorney wants something." Was that attorney paid a couple grand just to write a letter? Maybe, but that money can double as a downpayment on a lawsuit, and the Accounts Payable person at your client has to weigh that against just paying you.

Find an effective collection agent. (1)

Andy Prough (2730467) | about 2 years ago | (#42308049)

A well-established collection group will have their own attorneys, and should only charge you a percentage of the recovery rather than a hefty up-front fee.

File a lien against them (5, Insightful)

Roogna (9643) | about 2 years ago | (#42307775)

File a lien against them, and make sure you inform Dun and Bradstreet of the lien.

Um, Litigate? (4, Insightful)

naturaverl (628952) | about 2 years ago | (#42307777)

They do business in EU, as do you. The solution should be obvious. Drag them into court.

Final shutoff notice (1)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#42307779)

Shut down the service, revoke the licenses and stop supporting them. Give them a final warning to be fair and send it to every contact you have with the company.

Hope you have friends inside (5, Insightful)

sporkboy (22212) | about 2 years ago | (#42307781)

I've been in IT at a major corp and had a supplier that I worked with personally come to me due to non-payment. I had to go pretty far up my chain of command before I found someone who would apply pressure to finance to pay up on the contract that they signed and approved. Had I not been there to facilitate it would have taken even longer, if they got paid at all. The supplier was international so they got a runaround. Wish I had a better answer, but finance depts sometimes like to collect interest on their bank accounts even at the expense of the company's reputation.

Re:Hope you have friends inside (2)

Kergan (780543) | about 2 years ago | (#42307829)

+1 this. Fighting a bureaucracy that drags its feet with payments is worse than fighting a trench war, unless you have direct access to a helpful person who can sign the checks.

Also, FWIW, getting paid by a public administration that drags its feet is even harder. Just pass on the RFQs, unless you've a legal department that can strongarm them into paying through court action in the event things do go as planned.

Re:Hope you have friends inside (3, Insightful)

Daniel Dvorkin (106857) | about 2 years ago | (#42307897)

Fighting a bureaucracy that drags its feet with payments is worse than fighting a trench war

So, how were things at Passchendaele?

Not disagreeing with your point, just noting that this is a really ... over-the-top ... analogy, just about as dumb as calling the recalcritant company "a bunch of Nazis" would be, for much the same reason. The Western Front in WW1 is a pretty good candidate for the worst place in the entire history of the world.

Stop doing anything (1)

headqtrs (467875) | about 2 years ago | (#42307783)

for them until you've been paid in full and then say good bye. Such "customers" are of no use. They drain attention away from your business that can be (and should be) going into something more productive than chasing old bills...

Rewrite the terms of your contract. (2)

HornWumpus (783565) | about 2 years ago | (#42307789)

They're done with you. Might as well sue them now, start to document everything assuming this will end in court. Sue their local operations, often those are cash poor but I'm assuming you invoice is a rounding error to them.

You should have put teeth into your terms as soon as the big corporation got involved. 1%/day late payment. Back then they might have needed you badly enough to agree.

Now you are at mercy of the courts.

What ever you do, don't take their web sites down. Then they will own you.

The multinationals internal IT is bad mouthing you. They will almost certainly screw up replacing whatever you are doing. That won't help you at all, but might make you feel better.

Be prepared to liquidated/sue (4, Interesting)

DamonHD (794830) | about 2 years ago | (#42307795)

Find a tentacle close to you and say that you have to pay rent so sadly you're going to have to sue said tentacle. Take an an onion and maybe a friendly, competent, but not-massively-expensive lawyer.

In the UK, any invoice not paid for 21 days beyond the agreed date renders the non-payer liable to liquidation. Liquidating clients is not great (though you should have acted on your credit control rather sooner) but I once had to threaten a major banking client with it and at the end of a memorable Friday I got my very very overdue money and my client got itself a new head of accounts, and I found that I had a few powerful friends inside the company amongst those pleased with my work for them.

6 months is technically known as "taking the piss".

Stop doing any further work until you get some sort of staged payment started, or start legal action. If you're entitled to the money and you take it slowly and gently and without grandstanding, you may well get it, and may even keep the client.

Start credit control earlier in future: that's your responsibility to limit damage.

Rgds

Damon

Step 0 (1)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#42307797)

STOP WORKING FOR PEOPLE WHO DON'T PAY YOU!

i know.. it should be obvious. but it's clearly not to you guys.

Bitcoin (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#42307799)

Really? This is /. I would hope that you already knew this was coming.
Plus, then you wouldn't have to worry about payment processing fee, at least not for a decade or so.

Old Invoices (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#42307801)

What can a small company do to fight a big corp that's NASDAQ listed and has an army of lawyers?

Irrelevant.

...after more than 2 years working for them I have the feeling we're getting left out,...

"Left out"? As in never getting paid?

....we got 6 months old unpaid invoices and we're getting bounced between the EU and US departments every time we try to talk to them.

If you are concerned that you will never get paid and they're having business issues, then you must do whatever you can to collect on old invoices, cease doing any further work for them until they are caught up and then cash only after that. If they don't like it; fuck'em. Let them bleed someone else - like your competitors.

Customers like these will ruin your business and you're better off without them.

File a Lien (3, Insightful)

PPH (736903) | about 2 years ago | (#42307803)

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Lien [wikipedia.org]

It might be too late and you'll need the assistance of an attorney familiar with international contracts. But the next time the board of directors flies that company jet into St. Moritz, its yours.

Get a lawyer (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#42307805)

I am not a lawyer. You need a lawyer.

You need to talk to a local lawyer that understands your local claim which hopefully you can file locally and then who can get advice from counsel in the US about local enforcement.

Add in the cost for the hassle factor (1)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#42307811)

You have to decide whether doing business with them is worth it. If sales to this company is necessary, start raising your price to factor in the cost of the hassle factor. After you have done so you can then offer then a %deduction in price for 'early' payment. Early payment being standard Net 30 or whatever. So raise the price 20%, then offer them a 10% discount for early payment at Net 30.

Re:Add in the cost for the hassle factor (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#42307857)

When I was at Honeywell, I sat across from a very loud talker in finance. When she wasn't talking shit about her deadbeat (ex)-husband to friends/lawyers, she was explaining to suppliers that Honeywell paid on Net 60 terms and they could take it or leave it. It wouldn't surprise me to find that large companies are pushing to Net 90 if they can get away with it.

Re:Add in the cost for the hassle factor (1)

ocdscouter (1922930) | about 2 years ago | (#42308129)

When I was at Honeywell, I sat across from a very loud talker in finance. When she wasn't talking shit about her deadbeat (ex)-husband to friends/lawyers, she was explaining to suppliers that Honeywell paid on Net 60 terms and they could take it or leave it. It wouldn't surprise me to find that large companies are pushing to Net 90 if they can get away with it.

Learning about payment practices of larger (and sometimes smaller) companines has been one of the most... heartwarming aspects of working for a small business. Perfectly illustrated by the Obligatory Dilbert [dilbert.com] .

replace there web page with one saying web site (0, Flamebait)

Joe_Dragon (2206452) | about 2 years ago | (#42307815)

replace there web page with one saying web site down due to nonpayment.

Re:replace there web page with one saying web site (1)

Grand Facade (35180) | about 2 years ago | (#42307929)

I would not do this except as a last resort. You will be labeled as an international hacker.

Unless you hold the domain registration, then you have them by the balls. (for that domain at least)

Re:replace there web page with one saying web site (1)

AwesomeMcgee (2437070) | about 2 years ago | (#42308105)

Actually what will happen is the aforementioned army of lawyers will have an injunction against you so fast for contract breach the repo men will be knocking on your door before you get served papers. Their lawyers will conveniently forget to mention their breach and possibly interpret the contract before the judge to say it affords them far greater punitive rights than it does. The law is in the hands of the lawyers, and thus the corporations, not the judiciary or the citizenry.

Re:replace there web page with one saying web site (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#42308017)

There? Where? ohhhh, you meant THEIR.

Bad sign (4, Insightful)

EmperorOfCanada (1332175) | about 2 years ago | (#42307833)

Keep in mind that this is a huge bad sign. Either they don't have the money, they are too disorganized to pay some small fry, or they are just bad people. Any which way that is not how to run a business.

A potentially similar sign came shortly before the big sub prime disaster. A guy had money in a Big Euro Bank money market fund which, in theory, will return your money in about 24 hours. So a really good deal came up on a house (house prices were about to crash but hadn't yet) and he needed a big down payment of a million dollars. So he goes to his guy and says, "Withdraw a million." the guy invokes some obscure clause and says NO. He freaks out and then demands all his money. They say they can delay something like 30 or 90 days and they do. So it turns out to be fortunate and he misses out on the house and eventually gets his money. But when I told this to a person I know who is a huge trader he just told me I was wrong wrong wrong, the Big Euro Bank was probably the most sound bank in the world and that they were old and had a huge reputation and wouldn't screw someone like that in a million years. He went on to say my money market friend was probably lying to cover up the fact that he was out of money, not the bank. Needless to say that bank went right to the brink and without government intervention would have died.

The take-away is that either the people who are handling your account are incompetent, are mean, or that you now have a valuable insight into a company on the brink.

Re:Bad sign (2)

AwesomeMcgee (2437070) | about 2 years ago | (#42308147)

Nice anecdote but that is very rarely the cause. Truth is megacorps CONSTANTLY delay payment of their bills, the smaller the vendor the longer they'll drag their feet, this is deliberate and standard procedure by the financial side of the business which looks at every invoice as getting 8%/yr cheaper every second it's not paid as they're collecting interest while that money's in the bank.

Limited Options (3, Interesting)

cob666 (656740) | about 2 years ago | (#42307835)

If you are providing ongoing work, use that as leverage. Inform the client that work will cease until they are current, this is VERY effective if there are open issues that the client wants fixed.

You could also send them an invoice along with a letter stating that the invoice is overdue and will go into collections if not paid within 30 days. You should be able to find a collection agency pretty easily, many of them work by buying the debt from you at ~25 cents on the dollar. Many companies will try to avoid collection as it will impact their D&B rating.

Been there... (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#42307847)

Do everything by snail mail.
If you talk to people over the phone/casually about it, confirm it with snail mail.
Clearly mark your time to payment terms on your first bill.
Send your recall bills by registered mail, if they are late, send in the monkeys (lawyers/debt collectors).
You will find they will react quick if you do it by mail, they do not want to be seen to have black marks for credit reasons.
However it is normal for corporates to take longer to pay up. (Though funnily they want you to pay their bills within 14 days)
Bills can go through various dept. as each dept. needs to mark it against their internal budget before they get checked off by an accounts dept.
I call it the corporate washing machine. wash, rinse, spin dry.. . 30 days to 6 weeks is reasonable though for extremely large corporates.

Pieces of dead tree still hold a lot of power.

What can a small company do (4, Informative)

Neil_Brown (1568845) | about 2 years ago | (#42307849)

Are you still working with them / do you want to continue working with them? If so, the approaches you might take may well be different to those if you were "just" after your money.

I've not idea where you live, but it's worth being careful that breaching a contract yourself (such as failing to provide services which you are obliged to provide) is not excused on the basis that the other party is not complying with its obligations — unless your contract says that you can stop providing services if you have not been paid, simply ceasing to do so might put yourself in breach. But consider what the risk is to you, if the company really is that far behind in payments to you.

Depending on where you are, how about a letter before action — that, unless you are paid, you will take legal action? Depending on the sum you are owed, you might have a route through a local small claims procedure, even a money claim online — if it's a case of a project manager causing delays to try and stretch their budget, this approach might just get it before the company's legal team. If you've got as strong a case as your summary suggests (that might be a big "if," of course), it may be in the company's interests just to settle, to avoid litigation; you may just be looking for their legal department to put a boot up the backside of the relevant business unit to stop messing about and get it paid. If no response, go to court seeking default judgment, or perhaps see if local laws support you applying for the company to be wound up on the grounds that it is not able to meet its liabilities as they are due — even if you do not want to wind the company up (you want your money), it can take something as drastic as this to get someone to sit up and take notice.

Some companies publicise their CEO's details — try looking for those, and writing directly. Else, write a snail mail letter to the CEO's office, or the head of legal, explaining the problem succinctly, and asking that they personally attend to getting the matter fixed.

If you have no other way in, contacting them via Twitter might work, even if they are already receiving bad press — as long as you are polite and accurate, could it do anything but help at the cost of a few (more minutes) of your time?

Many lawyers will offer a free / fixed fee initial consultation — if nothing else, find out how much they would charge to take your case. Push for a fixed fee; you'll pay more for the certainty, but you will have certainty rather than billable hours which are harder to control. If the cost of getting a lawyer involved increases the likelihood of recovery sufficiently, you'll get less overall than you were hoping for, but that might be better than nothing.

Re:What can a small company do (2, Interesting)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#42307991)

OP here. The contract was terminated with all the proper notices and acceptances, yet the payments were never settled. I've talked as far up as SVP of software dev and SVP of finance... They always seem to have an excuse, it's always "next month" or "corporate freeze on payments this mont" bs...

Re:What can a small company do (1)

Neil_Brown (1568845) | about 2 years ago | (#42308047)

The contract was terminated with all the proper notices and acceptances

You may have terminated the agreement, but this does not (necessarily) mean that you do not have a right to be paid, which is probably good news for you. However, it does mean that threats based on withholding performance will have no power, and, conversely, that you could not be in a position of breach yourself for withholding payment.

The exact position would depend on the contract you have and, whilst I am a lawyer, I am not your lawyer, so can't offer specific legal advice. However, what does the contact say in terms of taking action? For example, is there a pre-agreed escalation protocol, or does it set out a dispute resolution procedure?

If you are in the UK, take a look at money claim online, and see whether that would suit your needs. If you'd like a recommendation for a lawyer, feel free to drop me a line; having someone local can be helpful, so the odds of me knowing someone I'd be willing to recommend in your area are probably slim, but, potentially worth a try.

Best of luck.

Insist on prepayments (1)

Zorpheus (857617) | about 2 years ago | (#42307851)

There are fixed procedures for collecting payments, and they differ from country to country. Just follow that, and they normally pay just before it goes to court. If you have doubt if they can go bancrupt before they pay you, insist on prepayments for all further work.

Re:Insist on prepayments (1)

Zorpheus (857617) | about 2 years ago | (#42307907)

What I am not sure about is if you can just follow the procedure of your own country, and bring them to court at home, or if you have to do that in the US. I would think that you can do it at home if they have a EU department, but someone else probably knows for sure.

Depends on the Contract (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#42307861)

It depends mostly on what's in your contract. Not just one clause, but many different things. Read and understand the contract before you do anything else, including stopping work.

Suing a multinational is not hard, but you really have to understand your position first. And if you did a poor job negotiating the contract then you have no one but yourself to blame.

contract law (2)

sir_eccles (1235902) | about 2 years ago | (#42307865)

You had strict payment terms in your contract like net30 right?

Just cut your losses and run. (2, Informative)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#42307871)

You need to understand that vendor abuse is the modus operandi of large multinational corporations.

I used to work for a 30B DJIA company, and during my tenure there, during the 2000's first recession, they started pushing back terms on all of their vendors. First it went from 30 to 45, and when the vendors didn't complain much, they took it to 60... still no major complaints, as the larger vendors were happy to take the business from smaller vendors who couldn't afford to loan us millions for months at a time.

Then it went to 75.

Then to 90...

Then to 115...

When I left the company in 2010, they had pushed standard vendor terms out to 120 days, with plans to go to 180 by the end of 2015. This is how some VP was making his bonuses - by constantly pushing out due terms and increasing "cash flow."

The moral of this story is, this big multinational doesn't give a shit about ever paying you. They know there will be zero consequences if they don't. If you sue them, they'd rather pay their lawyers to tie you up in court forever than to pay you what they owe. Their credit rating will not be affected by your lawsuit, or your report to D&B, because as a smaller company, D&B doesn't give a shit about you, either.

You'd be best to just cease working for them and write off the balance owed as uncollectible debt. You will never see a dime of it once you stop delivering. They will be happy to string you along and dangle carrots on sticks in front of you to keep you working, but seriously, just do yourself a favor and stop it.

Ask Slashdot! (2, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#42307875)

What you need to do is to go onto Slashdot and ask for legal strategy advice.

Keep on working for free (2)

alen (225700) | about 2 years ago | (#42307891)

Seriously, they are 6 months behind and you keep sending them completed work?

Stop sending them code until they pay up. If they drop you then sue

I dealt with this (5, Informative)

DogDude (805747) | about 2 years ago | (#42307893)

I dealt with this, myself. I worked as a hired gun for a very large TV marketing company in the US that decided they didn't want to pay me for my work as a developer. I regular ol' lawyer got me paid in a matter of hours (minus his cut, of course) by contacting their legal department. They were clearly wrong, and didn't want to spend more than a few minutes' of their legal time looking into it, so I was paid the same day my attorney first contacted them. It was for an amount in the low 5-figures.

Of course, I didn't want to have to pay an attorney every time I wanted to get paid for a job, so I quit working with those kinds of companies.

Re:I dealt with this (1)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#42308095)

Of course, I didn't want to have to pay an attorney every time I wanted to get paid for a job, so I quit working with those kinds of companies.

And this is the thing to take from this story. If you are a small company, don't work for a huge company.
When the size of the companies involved differs too much there is always a different expectation of project time-frames and costs. Try to do business with companies of your own size for best result. Up to ten times your size or one tenth of your size is generally not a problem but when the other company is 100 times larger than yours there will be some issues. (The other way around is not likely to cause much problems for you.)

Talk to a lawyer. (1)

www.sorehands.com (142825) | about 2 years ago | (#42307899)

This is not legal advice until: I go to law school, graduate law school, become licensed in your jurisdiction, and confirm your retainer check had cleared.

Talk to a lawyer to determine where they can be sued. If you provided code to them, revoke the license to use/distribute that code and inform them of that. File a copyright on that code. Then sue them for piracy, breach of contract, fraud, promissory estoppel, unjust enrichment, etc. Once you get a judgement, seize assets, have the court find the corporation in contempt, lock up the officers. Have a blue police box wait for a few people who can help. Essentially, go to war.

Been there... (5, Insightful)

bradley13 (1118935) | about 2 years ago | (#42307905)

For several years, I also ran a software business in Europe. When we started, our attorney had one bit of advice: never take a customer in the USA. We made exactly one exception, out of good will, and - sure enough, we regretted it.

If you are not based in the USA, it simply isn't worth the hassle and the risk. If they don't sue you (screw your contract, they'll sue you in a US court, which will claim jurisdiction using the long-arm doctrine), they'll screw you (as you are experiencing).

It doesn't help you in your situation, you're already there. However, for anyone else who may not yet have taken the plunge, don't. Ethics and law in the US reminds me of adventures in third world countries - it's just as dishonest and corrupt, only with prettier window dressing.

Blackmail / Ultimatum (3, Interesting)

AndyD568 (2796177) | about 2 years ago | (#42307917)

I feel your pain. Solution: Pretend to be on good terms with them. Get yourself involved in a critical new project, then halt abruptly right when they need your work the most. Offer them an ultimatum - either pay up all the outstanding money or you are walking. After a brief round of bluffing, you will be surprised at how fast your bill gets paid.

if they don't pay... (1)

stenvar (2789879) | about 2 years ago | (#42307921)

then you stop providing services to them. It's as simple as that.

Terrorists. (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#42307923)

They're probably terrorists. You should report them to the FBI, and let them sort it out.

Seriously, multi-national? That's code for evil terrorism. You'll be doing a duty to America.

Stop working! (4, Insightful)

Mr. Freeman (933986) | about 2 years ago | (#42307937)

STOP GIVING THEM UNPAID WORK! One of two things has happened here:

1. They can't or won't pay you. By refusing to work anymore you're effectively cutting your losses by not giving them more work that won't be compensated.
2. They have their heads up their ass. They want to pay you, but they can't figure it out. In this case, not working will light a fire under their ass and they'll pay you.

Moving forward, make sure that your contract contains a late payment fee. Also, make sure it specifies who is responsible for paying you and who will be held responsible for non-payment. GET A LAWYER INVOLVED TO DRAFT THIS NEW CONTRACT. Don't try to do it yourself, it won't work.

In any case, if they don't pay you within the month then you need to talk to a lawyer about suing them.

International collection agencies (1)

Animats (122034) | about 2 years ago | (#42307939)

There are international collection agencies for this sort of thing. It costs about 20% of the amount collected, but it may be worth it. Check out the collection agency thoroughly; there are outfits on the web that claim to be international collection agencies but really just broker bad debt. Find a company that actually has their own staff in the target countries.

Irish law on debt is particularly severe. If you can go after them in Ireland, that's a good option.

Friends in Useful Places (3)

CaptainOfSpray (1229754) | about 2 years ago | (#42307941)

Best advice my old boss gave me just before I left Big Corp to be a freelancer:
"Find the person (individual) in Accounts Payable who will actually process your invoice, and make friends. Show the person a sample of your invoices and ask if it is in the format they prefer. If not, alter the invoice till it is easiest possible to process (if necessary, split it in two to get amounts below the authorisation limits for the person you are doing work for so that it doesn't have to be escalated unnecessarily). Then when you have done work, and have prepared the invoice, get it signed off, and take it to your friend in Accounts Payable and hand it to them, or at least put it on their desk. Buy flowers or chocolates for this person on their birthday and Christmas, and whenever they have helped you, if they can accept such. At the very least be friendly, polite, and respectful. This approach not only sharply increases your chances of getting paid on time, it also means that when you don't get paid, you have an insider that you can ask what went wrong, so you can put it right."

I have used this approach at many clients, and it really helps.

Personal contact (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#42307955)

On the few occasions bills have not been paid on time I've emailed my contact at their company to ask them why the invoice has not been paid. I outline clearly which invoice it is, what goods the invoice is for, how many months overdue it is.

This is always done politely. No threats, No bad language.

Always get a good response and often an apology. The bill is typically paid or the personal responsible for paying it is chased by my contact and then the bill is paid.

Sounds like you need to work out which part of the main company your customer's company was purchased by. That part is the part that is legally liable for the invoices. Start there. If email doesn't work, get on the phone. At all times, be polite. Do not raise your voice. Do not make threats. Do not use bad language. Just make it clear you're not happy and you would like the problem resolved as soon as possible.

If you must resort to making threats, make sure you can keep them and that you intend to follow through with such actions.

If they are based in the UK you can ultimately approach Companies House to have the company wound up for non-payment of it's debts. This gets the attention of the company officers - they will respond to such action. This should be your last resort.

Our approach (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#42307965)

Several basic principles here, do what we do:

First: No payment == no work Pick one of their major projects that you are working on. Let their management know that work on this is coming to a halt until payment arrives, in full, as you need to pursue other work to pay your bills. Make sure you say it politely, with statements, frequent calls, etc.

Second: Credit impact You are extending them credit, e.g. loaning them your money when you agree to be paid later. Stop doing this. Let them know that late payment will result in an inability to work for anything but prepayment going forward. That you value their business, when they pay.

Third: Prepayment For us, all invoices projected to be above a set amount are subject to a structured payment term. You can't imagine the howls of protest we get for this, but we stand firm, and point out that if the entity in question is at or near bankruptcy, this is the only way you can even consider providing them with product, as you have to bear the risk that they will never pay, and you cannot easily charge them for that risk. They all, and I mean every one of our customers, eventually concedes this point. We set a limit of $50k USD for this, above which we require partial prepayment. Moreover, we offer a discount for pre-payment.

Fourth: Quote language and pricing Make sure you have pricing for prepayment, rapid payment, ontime payment, late payment, and very late payment on your quote. In doing so, you take away any excuse that they didn't know it will cost them more to pay late. Note that these are finance and late penalty charges for lateness, and discounts for early payment.

What you do is to set up a case where it becomes in the customers own best self interest to pay you early and in full, with a full understanding that they will pay you more if they pay late. You cannot let these principles go, cannot let them get negotiated out. They are non-negotiable.

Further, when negotiating contracts, never under any circumstances, blindly accept onerous terms and conditions. Note in your quote that you will simply reject all such terms and conditions on any PO out of hand. Further, on your quote, indicate that a PO not honoring your terms and conditions will be rejected without any further consideration. Otherwise you get POs from purchasing groups which substitute their T&C for yours, and do so with their payment terms. This is non-negotiable. You can negotiate over T&C contents, but it helps to have a simple non-onerous example ready. Start from yours and work with them if they need to modify. If they demand arbitrary and capricious terms, deny them that. If they refuse, this is bad business, and walk away.

Seriously, it is very hard for smaller companies to walk away from crappy business. But you have to if you wish to survive.

I've seen it from the other side, and have an idea (2)

forkazoo (138186) | about 2 years ago | (#42307969)

I work at a big multinational, and sometimes getting our people to pay bills on time can be a major pain. The company is like a cat playing with its food when it deals with smaller companies. It always prefers to leave money sitting in a bank account collecting interest for as long as possible if it can avoid paying bills on time. I think on big contracts, the delay tactics may actually earn enough people to fully pay for the people doing the delay tactics. So, what works? The company won't easily agree to contracts with useful penalty terms for late payments if it can avoid it. Their legal department is large, and yours is less so. So, they can give you all sorts of reasons to leave that sort of thing out. Apparently, you don't have solid penalty terms in your current contracts either, so you may be facing a similar issue. first, always make sure you contracts have clear due dates and penalty terms, to the extent that you can still get the work. If your terms are that one second late means the price goes up from $1000 to $10 billion, nobody will sighn your contracts, but you do have a lot of room to add teeth. When the big company pushes back in negotiation, you may need to add some flexibility, or reduce the penalties. Try to keep them in some form if you cans till get the work.

But, what happens when you desperately need the work, and they have convinced you that penalty terms in the contract are simply unacceptable? When you send the invoice, add the magic terms "X% discount if paid by date Y." Negotiate all your contracts high enough that you can afford a discount later on. Don't negotiate the discount. Leave it out of the contract. Just add it when you send the invoice. That discount is the fiscal flanking maneuver. It's their opportunity to get free money if they follow your rules, and it throws the delaying strategies out the window. The freelancers who use this strategy with the big company I work for apparently have their invoices rise to the top of thepile, and consistently get paid more quickly.

You can't unilaterally add penalties. You can't be sure that legal action will work in your favor, or that t will happen quickly enough. But you can always unilaterally add the discount for speed.

You need a lawyer (1)

nbauman (624611) | about 2 years ago | (#42307981)

It's not clear how much they owe you, but if they're 6 months behind on all their payments, that's a substantial amount.

It's also not clear what your company does for legal advice -- whether you have a lawyer in-house (apparently not), or a lawyer that you regularly use, or hire a new lawyer whenever you need one. You must have signed a contract with this company. Did you have a lawyer to review the contract before you signed? A good contract should anticipate every likely problem, including this. Are there any provisions for delayed payments?

But you need to get a lawyer's advice. It might be easy and cheap to collect your debt, it might not be. (In the US, lawyers sometimes charge 30% of the amount to collect it.) You don't know until you've talked to a lawyer.

If the company is judgment-proof, that is, if they're running at a deficit and don't have the money to pay it, you might not be able to collect at all. Or you might be able to get your bills paid before somebody else's. Or before they go bankrupt.

Actually, posting on Slashdot is useful. Regardless of the law, what you ultimately want to know is what happened to other people in your situation. But a lawyer can look at the specific facts and give you your options.

Here's a tip on how to save money on legal fees: Write a detailed, well-organized memo describing the situation for the lawyer. (Organization is more important than detail.) Collect the major documents, contracts, etc. and add them to the memo. Normally, a lawyer will interview you, write a detailed memo for his file -- and bill you for his time. Anything you can do to save the lawyer time will also save you a lot of money.

In my experience, when your clients fall way behind on their bills, it's for one of 2 reasons:

(1) The company is successful but having cash flow problems, they can't get enough capital for everything, they're paying the most important bills first, and yours is on the end of the list. But you'll get paid eventually. You should be able to negotiate with them to get something now even if you can't get the whole amount. Get them to agree on how they pay you from now on.

(2) The company is failing, they're not making enough to pay their bills, and they'll soon be out of business. You may never get paid. But you might get something if you take aggressive measures now (maybe suing them). Or it might be hopeless.

So these are 2 different strategies. The commercial credit rating agencies may help you there. But if they're a large international corporation, their annual and quarterly reports should tell you what their financial situation is.

In the UK, debt collection is pretty easy (3, Informative)

mattbee (17533) | about 2 years ago | (#42307983)

Step 1, send an invoice with clear payment terms.

Step 2, send one polite reminder maybe 7 days after the due date.

Step 3, send a Letter Before Action, with a further 7 day deadline (use a firm like thomashiggins.com to turn the legal wheels very cheaply)

Step 4, file a claim in the small claims court (again, thomashiggins.com are very good for this). It may take weeks but you can add interest and all the costs you've incurred.

The few times I've done this (as a consumer) the company has coughed up at some point just before or just after the court papers have gone in. For a truly hopelessly disorganised company this is the only escalation method that works.

The furthest it ever got was with Enterprise car rentals - I had a bailiff threaten to tow one of their vehicles before they would write a cheque.

This is all advice for uncontested debts - obviously if the company has a problem with the debt they may choose to represent themselves and argue the point, but if they were going to do that, they'd probably have engaged you first!

corporate efficiency at work (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#42307995)

Behold the private sector operating smoothly, efficiently and fairly. Remember this occasion if you ever suspect a "government efficiency" joke might be somewhat unfair.

Crawl Up the Corporate Ladder (1)

trydk (930014) | about 2 years ago | (#42308001)

When I was working (in the EU) for a huge international company based in the US, I had a similar experience and when I realised that my normal contact person could do absolutely nothing, I slowly crawled up the corporate ladder by asking my contact for the details of his manager, whom I contacted. Nothing happened and I asked for the next higher level ... no result. At the third level up, though, it started to happen and after several phone calls, E-mails and a couple of nicely phrased letters, I got my money ... after three more months, making it almost nine months in all until payment.

I never got any of the late payment penalty invoices paid though - they never pay late payment fees as a corporate policy, I was told.

Thank you so much!

2 ideas (1)

petes_PoV (912422) | about 2 years ago | (#42308019)

Some large companies have a liason department who's job is to help small contractors to "deal" with the larger organisation. Check if there's any such thing with your problem company.

Second idea is to simply sell the debt to a factoring outfit. You'll only get a percentage of the headline figure, but the loss should be written off for tax purposes (small comfort).

Send Norbert (3, Interesting)

Coeurderoy (717228) | about 2 years ago | (#42308023)

In a similar situation a friend of mine sent his "CFO", a very persistant slightly weird looking math professor, who happened not to believe in shoes....
He went to the company very politely presenting his set of invoices, and various "excuses" sent out in form of emails, and requesting to see his "equivalent" (their CFO), he spent two days comming at soon as they openned the office and leaving when they closed....

They could have called the cops, and threatened too, he explained that they could, his lawyer was waiting in front of the relevant police station just in case...
They could refuse to let him see their CFO, he didn't mind the lobby was warm and they had a coffee machine, and he brought newspapers and food.
They could throw him out, he had friends at various newspapers.

So he saw the CFO, who tried to explain that there was some reasons not to pay, so he called the office on his mobile phone putting it on speaker...
And for everything the CFO said the company had three people calling at once, on all numbers they had of anybody, and norbert made if very clear that he would not leave without closing all the loops and the cash...

Epilog, the company finally nervous accountant sent a payment order to their bank, and a copy to the company (on the insistance of norbert) the company sent a copy to the clients bank and to their bank to make sure that there was no error...
So they ended up being paid twice....

The client to "save face" and stop thinking about sent an "avoir" wich means the the company should provide an equivalent discount on future work...

Of course they never planned to bid on any new projects with this client....

Norbert got a large box of havanas...
 

Get to know their bureauracy (1)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#42308025)

I've worked for a very small company that used to deal with big customers, and now I work for a big company. The biggest problem that I find with smaller companies getting paid is that they don't fully understand the payment procedure.

Big companies have major bureaucracy to hamper payments, just to prevent and reduce fraud. They're all different, and they'll all complex.

My advice:

1. Go and sit down with someone in Accounts Payable. Find out exactly how their payment system works.

2. Find out exactly how they like their invoices structured (I've had many invoices rejected because they weren't written out precisely how their accounts department liked it.)

3. Find out who is personally responsible for approving payment on your invoice (most likely the person who commissioned the work, and / or their boss, and call and chase them up regularly.)

4. Find out the size and frequency of invoices they prefer (Generally people have different levels of authorisation. If the person that you deal with one a day-to-day basis only has a small authorisation limit, then send in an invoice every (say) two weeks, that falls inside that limit.) Stops the approval having to go up the bureaucratic chain and disappearing.

Don't do any of the vindictive tactics listed by other posters until you're certain that your being maliciously screwed, and not just being trashed by the bureaucracy.

It's a game with companies like this (1)

Grayhand (2610049) | about 2 years ago | (#42308031)

I used to know 20 years ago a lot of people contracting with Disney. Most were prop builders and designers but one handled their aquariums. Even the aquarium guy had trouble getting paid. Their 90 day payment scam was so you couldn't bother them for 90 days. It didn't mean you'd get paid in 90 days. They took pride in the fact they had drove so many companies into bankruptcy because of all the non payments. The problem is there was always another company out there hungry for the contract. How bad can it get get? I know the aquarium guy was 18 months behind at one point. A lot of these companies will keep delaying payments until they get you six to twelve months behind then they find some one else and hand it off to their lawyers. They know the worst that will happen if you sue them is they will have to pay what they owe. The catch-22 is if you sue them in the corporate world you get known as some one that will sue so you become a risk. I found out the hard way arbitration is a waste of time because the arbiters effectively work for the corporations no matter what anyone tells you. It's like the old Wargames line, the only way to win is not play the game.

Re:It's a game with companies like this (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#42308073)

The line from WarGames is actually "The only winning move is not to play." But in the case of the OP, there is no mutually assured destruction.

Don't work with americans (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#42308057)

US based company goes multinational starts screwing little guy who'd have guessed

Small Claims Court (2)

gavron (1300111) | about 2 years ago | (#42308069)

1. Nice letter saying "Pay by the end of the month or I'll be forced to file in court."
2. Wait for end of month.
3. File in small claims court the sum of a)what they owe, b)maximum statutory interest, c)filing fees, d)an extra amount that if they will show up (they won't) you'll have to forego
4. Get default judgment when they don't show up
5. Get an order from the court allowing you to garnish their bank account for this amount
6. Provide said order to their bank

That will get you paid. You may even get their attention somewhere between steps 3 and 5.

E

Six helpful options (0, Funny)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#42308099)

I want to make it clear that I am not a lawyer, so please don't construe this advice as creating an attorney-client relationship. That said, this situation is common and easy to solve if you follow these steps:

1) Go to their offices and beat the shit out the receptionist. Nothing says Serious Business like a bookish-looking receptionist with a busted jaw!

2) A week later return to their offices and get beaten up by their receptionist. Nothing says Serious Business like a willingness to get your jaw broken by a bookish-looking receptionist. Bonus points if at some point during the fight your penis should accidentally slip out.

3) At the next meeting, leap on their back of the most senior person and yell "Giddyap, chubby horsie man!" Under law that person is then required to grant you three wishes.

4) Offer to turn them on to some free porn sites if the payments are settled. Make a wanking gesture, and wink, while doing this.

5) Visit forums of the Sovereign Citizen community. Ask for legal advice, and do everything they say - even if it appears nonsensical. If Sovereign Citizens won't help, claim you were touched by their mailroom guy.

6) Locate a lawyer familiar with local law and your contractual situation. Punch them in their stupid face. Pow! Did you see that mother go down?

Never, ever (1)

SpaghettiPattern (609814) | about 2 years ago | (#42308107)

Firstly: Never, ever depend one one client for all your income. Ever! I speak from experience. No matter how good relationships are, there will come a time when relations cool down.
Secondly: Never ,ever trust a big company will continue to want you. Either your part of their strategy in which case your services will be in sourced, or you're not part of their strategy and you will be very replaceable.

whatever you do... (1)

RedHackTea (2779623) | about 2 years ago | (#42308115)

DO IT NOW! the Death Star will be built soon, and then all hope is lost (unless the Death Star needs the development you provide).

Supply Chain / Vendor Management (1)

gellenburg (61212) | about 2 years ago | (#42308117)

Every medium & above -sized Corporation has at least two departments, possibly three.

1 - Vendor Management
2 - Supply Chain
3 - Accounts Payable

Find out who the Vendor Relations Manager. Ask your customer at the Company.

Engage them. They should be able to guide you through the abyss that is Supply Chain and Accounting.

Most large Companies have specific guidelines for Emailing or Faxing invoices. Purchase Order numbers typically have to be referenced on all invoices.

Do you have a Master Agreement? Refer to that for remittance instructions.

You don't have a Master Agreement? Don't do any more work until you obtain one.

If this Company doesn't have a Vendor Relations department, ask your contact for a contact in Supply Chain.

Supply Chain would be the one's to work up any Master Agreements between you and them anyway. They'll also be able to provide remittance guidelines and instructions.

Last, ask your Contact at the Company for a name and telephone number of somebody in Accounts Payable. Reach out to them.

It's not that difficult.

But your first stop is with your contact inside the Company, not here on Slashdot.

If they didn't pay, can they use your work? (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#42308121)

E.g. If your work is in their website, and your contract is a work-for-hire, it is possible that they don't own the copyright to the pages they are serving.
Maybe this is infringement ...?
Maybe a DMCA takedown notice for their website would be enough to get their attention...?

Protest with "deadbeat" sign (0)

Tablizer (95088) | about 2 years ago | (#42308135)

Protest with a sign in front of one of their main offices. They don't want the bad P/R. Stay on the side-walk though, otherwise they'll arrest you for trespassing.

Put a lien on.. (1)

bmo (77928) | about 2 years ago | (#42308137)

... go to court, get a quick judgment, and get the Sheriff or whoever it is that has jurisdiction to enforce you going an emptying a local branch office of whatever you can carry out.

Get paid.

This has actually happened in real life.

http://www.digtriad.com/news/watercooler/article/178031/176/Florida-Homeowner-Forecloses-On-Bank-Of-America [digtriad.com]

--
BMO

Killswitch (1)

slashmydots (2189826) | about 2 years ago | (#42308149)

This is why I keep a killswitch type plan in place for web design work. If someone doesn't pay, it says in the contract, I will take down the content I made. It makes perfect sense, is reasonable, and gets bills paid. If they have some sort of notification that they'll change all FTP passwords etc the second your work is done, don't touch the project in the first place. You can also though host a couple individual libraries or graphics offsite and they won't notice. Just pull it or replace it with "this client has not paid their bills - image removed."
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