If you’re working in the BPO sector like I and a vast majority of my friends do, then you will often have to deal with clients who don’t pay.
The excuse usually ranges from the awfully simple (“This is not what I asked for, therefore I do not wish to pay”), to the equally awful—with a bizarre twist (I sent the payment to xxxx address. Was that not yours?” Trust me: this has happened to me).
The easiest way of dealing with the former is to return the work to your workers, and help them find a way to use it for themselves. Or you could publish them on shared earnings websites, and inform your writers of the situation. These problems are usually easy to deal with, if you’re working with manpower.
The bigger question is what you do about the client. The fact is that the jerkface just cost you money, and more importantly, time. But ironically, the improvement digital communication hasn’t done anything to help small individuals from third-world countries sue potentially bigger entities in first world communities. One problem lies in the anonymity of the Internet. If you rely on the ‘net for your work, then there’s a good chance that your money’s gone into the ether, never to be seen again.
I’ve seen a lot of folks have this exact problem before, and these people usually just let the money go. That’s one attitude to take, and I don’t disapprove of it. There’s nothing to be gained from holding a grudge and seeking revenge for a measly $500 payment. The stress and emotional turmoil this can cause isn’t worth it, and can even prevent you from moving on with your business. You don’t want that to happen, especially if this is your bread and butter. Do what you need to get over your emotions, and decide what your next move is going to be with a clear head.
However, there are times when you’d like to report them to the proper authorities. Sure, if you have the resources, you can chase after them through the proper channels. The US provides a lot of avenues for offshore service providers to complain about this or that service. You just need to be patient, since the wheels of justice turn slowly for somebody who isn’t even an American. There’s a good chance, even, that the US government will take the side of the guilty party. So it’s really a pretty hit-or-miss thing.
Whatever the case, just remember one thing: keep your cool. You won’t be able to do anything if you blow your top over something like this. Remember, you’re just one guy fishing in a sea of infinite possibilities. If you start going berserk, there’s a good chance that you will capsize your boat, and that’s the last thing you want to do.