What I Learned from Being Ripped Off
If you are in business, evitably there will come a time when you are cheated by someone, whether it’s someone who you provided services to or someone you are seeking services from. At the end of the day, you want to learn from each situation so that you do not repeat what you did wrong and make sure it does not happen again.
As a small business especially, you don’t have money to just throw around and services to give away. While you have policies and procedures in place, you may find yourself, like me, relaxing those rules for long-term clients. I learned the hard way that being a long-term client does in no way indicate that there will not be any hiccups in the future. I should have kept the same rules because they had no regard for my business or my bills as they were willing to burn the bridge versus honor their agreement.
In my case, this went on for months before I had to wise up and realize I was not going to be paid.
Here were some red flags I overlooked along the way:
-The person who referred the business to me, coming back a few weeks later and asking “if they were working out ok”. While this did not initially give me pause when I look back I almost see it as an indicator of something they were worried about and did not want to be labeled the “bad referrer”. Hmmm…
-They wanted to take on more services after a month or so in. Now they could not pay for what they had and thank goodness I didn’t take on any more because they would have had months of a service that I would also not have gotten paid for.
-They would only make payments on payment plan when they needed new services. They were a promotions “company” in NC so when a new event flyer was needed that money would materialize and perhaps a small (less than due) payment but in between there was nothing. They continued to run their “business” (for lack of a better word) and finance endeavors and events etc. but yet could not pay me.
-They would continue to set new deadlines and miss them all.
-They never responded to invoices or notices for payment in between services.
-They had small payments over a long period of time. This is simply the biggest flag because you have stretched it so that it is easy and if they won’t even pay that then clearly they are not trying to.
-When they were so far behind, continued services were cut off and they quickly found another vendor for services in order to continue to avoid payment of any kind.
And then there are the things that just take disrespect to a new level.
-Then there is the the fake sympathy, empathy, they hire themselves to be your new Bookkeeper and say “Oh by the way I am sending you referrals to make up for my tomfoolery but I know you don’t need the money (aka my money)because you have plenty of clients” .o_O
-Social Media Showout- You know the saying about seeing people spending money who owe you money. Well let’s just say they made things a priority to pay that they wanted to and all I got was excuses. Your kids can’t get new shoes because you didn’t get paid but they have the latest Jordans. You can’t take that trip over the holidays to see family, but they are on a cruise. Yeah, all of that can happen right before your eyes…
One Bad Apple Ruins It for Everybody.
Now depending on what your service was may affect how you handle things from that point. Obviously stopping the services, small claims or civil court and in some cases maybe even criminal court and trust me they ALL work to resolve the issue but then you have to resolve the issue above which is DON’T LET IT HAPPEN AGAIN. Be firm in your processes and procedures. Don’t give people a pass no matter the time you have been working with them. If they respect your business and want to continue to do business they will respect your rules because if you extend your services to them and do more then you will have no one to blame but yourself for trusting they would continue to do so. Just know that everyone is not what they present to you or the public. Trust your gut and keep your business and your pockets safe.
It took me 9 months to come to my senses and let’s just say now “No you can not have a payment plan with AM” anymore. That one bad apple finally fell from the tree and knocked some sense into me. Now I have only been ripped off once. And yes I still give some people some allowances but never this big again. Everyone won’t be worried about your lights being out so you have to be.
Under ALEGNAMEDIA – design + eSHOP where the mission is to bring your vision to life. We would love to work with you on your next project and develop long-term relationships with our clients who respect our business model as well as our work. Creativity can take your vision anywhere so let’s grow together.
AM offers graphic design services as well as an eSHOP filled with amazing graphic apparel and accessories and décor and more.
Visit online at www.alegnamediasuite.com.