Apr 3, 2008


Last year I picked up some freelance work with a Brisbane-based glossy magazine. I was getting semi-regular work, which was lovely, but I was - well, concerned - about their pay arrangements.

Sadly, it turns out I wasn't the only one.

It's disappointing for me, and not just because they owe me close to $1500. There's also the fact that the March issue, which features an article I'm quite proud of, may not be distributed (although you can still see my article, if not actually read it, on their website); and the potential for future earnings and portfolio-building has been drastically reduced.

OK, so it's mostly about the cash.

I've got some reason to rejoice though. After hearing John Birmingham's tales of trying to get money out of reluctant magazines at the MEAA dinner a few weeks back, I got the feeling that you're not truly a freelancer until you've been stuffed around by a publication's accounts department. I feel like I may have joined that club now.

But it does make me think about debt. There's plenty of people (well, banks & utilities mostly) that I owe money to, but there's not many people who owe me cash. In fact, there never really has been.

So how does one go about getting the money one's owed? Pester power? Donning boxing gloves and storming their offices? What's the biggest amount someone's ever owed you, and how did you get it back?


  1. I'm really sorry to hear you have been caught by this.

    My techniques for seeing my money in my pockets rather than other's varies depending on the circumstances. Sometimes cutting one's losses and resolving to not let it happen again (good for lending money to family members - don't do that any more), to dogged persistence (making people go away is a valid reason for most people to part with money), and making it very clear how important it is that I have the money owed to me.

    I'd try to get your name on the list of people who want money from them. Even if it takes a while, you're unlikely to see anything if you rely on their disclosure of what they owe, and as long as the powers at be know you have a claim against the company, you have a better chance of seeing *something* maybe.

  2. I've contacted the union and sent them my invoices - I've been placed on the (already long!) list of people waiting to be paid. Fingers crossed this might lead to something, but I'm not getting my hopes too high!

  3. I'm owed about $2,500 from various jobs (mostly film work) and have yet to be paid, nor do I expect to be. Woe is me.


  4. Wow. That is so dodgy and must be so disappointing.

    I used to be a partner in a clubbing clothing shop and our dimwit business partner double deposited $1,000 into a supplier's account. The supplier ignored our requests to return the money and in the end, because he was interstate, I just wrote it off. The supplier was a known arsehole and I really didn't think it was ever going to appear.

    However my girlfriend is like a terrier with things like this. She took the guy to court and flew to Melbourne and he ended up giving the money back without showing up to court. It took about 12 months but we got the money back.

    And she had a lovely weekend shopping in Melbourne.