I sued them.
Long story long...
My friend Brian got a new job last November. We'll call the company, Stupid Cheaters Corp. (SCC). This corporation needed some copywriting for a small project. Brian contacted me, I submitted my resume, I got the freelance job. The project went off without a hitch and SCC paid me for my work.
As soon as that assignment ended, another project was offered to me. Same company, bigger spectrum. This one was for a full website rewrite. I submitted my estimate and they gave me the green light to go ahead on copy. Not only did I meet their tight deadlines, but I also discovered (and reported) major plagiarism issues plastered all over their website. Copy that had been lifted straight from competitors' websites.
We went through a few rounds of revisions, with several employees, and copy was finalized. During this last phase, SCC sent me sitemaps, content, and websites for my third project.
Knowing they were on another tight deadline, I started copy for this new project right away.
I only completed two pages before I heard back from their Director of Marketing: He was calling to say they were "going in a different direction" and wouldn't be needing the copy I had already finalized and sent to them. Lie #1.
I told them I would still be expecting my money.
The Director of Marketing stated that he would pass my concerns along to the CEO, the "real" decision-maker behind this moronic company.
A week later, the Director of Marketing was fired.
. . . . .
It wasn't long before I'd had enough of these fools and decided to file a claim in small claims court.
About a week after SCC was served with their court notice, I received a call from a mysterious new "Office Manager." This clown tried to offer me a settlement of less than I was owed. I basically told him to kiss my butt and that I'd be seeing him in court.
By this point, Brian had gotten laid-off from SCC. Which meant he was able to speak as my witness to the general assholery that was going on behind closed doors.
The big day arrived and we went to court. Eric, Brian, and I.
You should have seen Office Manager's face when he saw Brian sitting beside me. It was precious.
Again, Office Manager offered a lesser amount than what was owed. Again, I told him no.
At the hearing, the judge read over my evidence. He asked the defendant about SCC's reasons for not paying my invoice. Officer Manager stated that their former Director of Marketing was a loose cannon who must have overlooked paying me. Lie #2. He then changed his argument, saying the copy I provided didn't meet FAA regulations (the project was based on aircraft), and therefore, was useless. Lie #3. He was pulling out excuses like a clown pulling out scarves. It was just embarrassing.
The judge saw through this bullshit and moded him so hard.
He told the defendant that I was hired to write copy, which is marketing. FAA regulations are a legal matter and should have been addressed by a lawyer.
In the middle of his dumbed-down scolding of the defendant, he stopped, looked at me, and said "I'm siding in your favor by the way-" and then continued to explain to that fool why I was owed the full amount.
Oh man. It was great.
I'll write another post about the hearing process itself. For now, this is all that really matters.
Thank you Judge Judy and Judge Milian. You've trained me well.