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Is this guy trying to rip me off?

June 9th, 2011 at 07:38 am

A while back, I found a web developer on Craig's List who was looking for a writer he could work with, on an ongoing, periodic basis, to write content for websites he was hired to build for different clients.

We discussed his current need, a website he was building for a small chemical distributorship. We went back and forth over my price, and eventually he said he wanted to work with me.

So on the Friday before Memorial Day weekend, I met "J" for the first time in the parking lot of the client's location. We went in together and I interviewed the client about his business for about an hour, using J's laptop to type my notes. He then emailed my notes to me, and I told him I'd start work that evening, a holiday weekend, and likely have it to him in a few days.

When we met, he gave me an advance deposit in the amount of $300, a check which hasn't bounced. The agreement was that I would bill him for the balance, which would probably be another $250 to $300, when the job was done. I presumed this to include any possible changes the client might want to make.

So I sent J. my copy 3 days later, on the following Monday (still during the holiday weekend!) and he said he would drop my copy into the site he had built and then said he'd send it to the client for review; this would take a day or two, he estimated.

I waited a week, then emailed him June 3, asking if he'd gotten any feedback from the client. To my surprise, he said he hadn't done the work yet or sent it to the client, but expected to do so in the next day or two.

This morning, 6 days later, I again checked in with J., asking if he'd gotten feedback/review from the client. He again said he was still working on it, but should be able to do finish in a day or two, without any further explanation.

I'm beginning to feel anxious that this guy could be using this as a tactic to brush me off and avoid paying me the balance of what he owes me. Or maybe I shouldn't assume that other people share my work ethic, but it's been not quite 2 full weeks since we met with the client. My feeling is that it's always best to do the work as quickly as possible in case the client changes their mind about something, and simply because the sooner you finish, the sooner you get paid.

I've saved most of the emails I've exchanged with J. which indicate we agreed to move forward and the estimated time I said it would take, so I think I'm covered if I had to pursue this guy in small claims court.

I just don't understand why this guy could be taking so long. A little hard to believe he's so busy with other projects that he hasn't had time to do what i would have to think is the easy part, after building a website from scratch, of just dropping in text and sending off to the client.

Since he again said he'd do the work in a day or two, I'm thinking I may wait until Wednesday of next week, and then send him my invoice for the balance of what he owes me, with a note saying that if the client subsequently has changes he wants to make to the copy, I will do that, but that I am sending him my bill for work completed.

Am I jumping the gun? Should I wait longer? I mean, I made an effort to do my part very quickly, on a holiday weekend, and here this guy has still failed to do his end of it after almost 2 weeks time.

8 Responses to “Is this guy trying to rip me off?”

  1. TarWalker Says:

    I'm finding it's not uncommon for the procrastinating the guy is doing. From first glance, I don't think he's ripping you off, but you never know these days.

    Go ahead and send the bill. The longer you wait, the worse it'll be regardless if hes procrastinating or ripping you off (Im learning this first hand, myself).

  2. LuckyRobin Says:

    I agree. Send him the bill. You've done your job. If he's too lazy or too busy to do his end of things, that is not your problem. You did the work and you deserve to get paid.

  3. Thrifty Ray Says:

    It is so hard to know these days whether or not someone will take advantage of you. It is a good sign if that first check hasnt come back that this guy could just be a procratinator...but your gut instinct is the best judge since you met/spoke with him.

    I dont see anything wrong for billing him at this point. Your original agreement was for a couple of day turnaround- which you fulfilled.

  4. snshijuptr Says:

    Sounds like he didn't have the website finished when you emailed him your text. Just bill him and let him know that you will complete minor revisions if necessary but that you expected to be finished with this project by now.

  5. North Georgia Gal Says:

    I agree with everyone else. Go ahead and bill him. You deserve to be paid for what you have done.

  6. Ima saver Says:

    I agree also, go ahead and bill him.

  7. baselle Says:

    Well, if the guy is trying to rip you off, you might just as well find out now. I'd bill him. Whatever he does will remove doubt.

  8. Jerry Says:

    Send the bill, he's completely out of line for waiting this long when the agreement was a couple of days, and this has to lead you to question whether or not he will be a resource in the future. Without any insurance of reliability, there's no reason to continue the relationship. Send it and find out now, before you commit to anything else!
    Jerry

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