I will lay out the scenario. You perform a function for a client to completion. They promise a certain amount + certain product to be delivered. The rep is fairly good during the process and does reply to emails. Time starts ticking away, you inquire about payment and product several times and are told that is it coming.

Fast forward about 1.5 months, still no payment. She is submitting the invoice to accounting again. And still no product. Oddly, in an email the rep states that the “product” has been ordered on Amazon and will sent out as soon as it is received. What is strange about this??? If she works for the company, why on earth the need to order it on Amazon? So, the rep reaches out one last time and says that the product was received and is being shipped out the next day, on Friday.

Fast forward about 1 week. I submit another status re: payment. She says that she is sending the invoice in again. I ask if the prizes were sent out. I get no reply and this is the last time that I ever hear from her. The job was done on Oct 22. It is now Jan 13th. Still no pay. Still no product. I have emailed. I have tweeted. I have Facebooked along with the upset folks that are waiting on product. I have called the one phone number that I could find. And I found out that I am not the only one. Another consultant did work for the same company. She was eventually paid, but her people never received product either. Why??

I just don’t get why eventually the rep COMPLETELY STOPPED responding. I would feel better if someone would just tell me that they are out of business. At least then I would know.

I have cut out some details for the sake of being politically correct. But I know at least some of you know exactly what I am talking about.

I have learned many lessons from this. #1 Have a contract. This is going to be a must from now on. Just having it in writing via email is no longer good enough. #2 Try to get a deposit up front. #3 Have a backup contact’s info.

What bothers me the most about this is not even that I did not get paid. It’s that it made me look bad as a rep for what I do. My people were relying on me to get them the product promised, but they never got it.

So, if something similar happened to you, what would you do?

UPDATE: I got my money! See my post Why Persistence Pays Off for the story.