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Unpaid Overdue Invoice - What to Do Under Contract Law?

Discussion in 'Commercial Law Forum' started by ActorSOS, 22 April 2014.

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  1. ActorSOS

    ActorSOS Member

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    Hi there.
    I’m a freelance actor, and I completed acting work for a particular client in mid-December 2013 (just before Christmas). I issued the filmmaker/producer who engaged me for the work (him) with an invoice in mid-December after shooting had completed and I have a 14 day payment terms in my invoice.

    I followed up in mid January as the money had not been paid (I gave some extra time as it had been Christmas and New Years). He said the money would be paid shortly.

    To cut a long story short, I’ve followed him up by phone and email every week since and he still has not paid. He’s now telling me that he has no money to pay me, and it might be some time before he has money as he's 'broke'. However, I called up the actual client who the filming was for and they said that they were shocked he hadn’t paid as they had paid him at the time of the shoot. They said they would talk to him to get him to pay me but he still hasn’t done so.

    So this guy has been paid for the work I did, but hasn’t paid the money to me. This guy is really dodgy. I just want him to pay my invoice which is just under $400 (I was giving them a great rate for my time as I was told there would be regular work with the client and wanted to get my foot in the door!). Turns out the company loves me and wants to do more videos with me, but I never want to work with the dodgy filmmaker/producer again. It might not seem like a lot of money, but I worked hard for it and I've got bills to pay.

    What else can I do to get him to pay under contract law?
     
  2. John R

    John R Well-Known Member

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    rebeccag and ActorSOS like this.
  3. ActorSOS

    ActorSOS Member

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    Thanks John - I'll give this a go.
     
  4. Sophea

    Sophea Well-Known Member

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    Unfortunately, your options are limited for small amounts of money as recovery proceedings even for small claims can be labour intensive.

    As you have clearly already verbally requested the money on several occasions, I would give a formal letter of demand, threatening further legal action if the debt is not paid within a specific period of time (14-28 days is usually pretty standard.) Then if he hasn't paid after that time has elapsed, send another letter saying you will be commencing proceedings and that he can expect to receive legal papers shortly. The next step is legal proceedings (unfortunately).

    The best option for small claims (<$25,000) is filing a claim with QCAT (the Queensland Civil and Administrative Tribunal) formerly the small claims court. However there is a filing fee for making a claim, and for $400 it may not be worth it. Also there is a chance your matter may be considered a claim for unpaid wages which according to the recent case of: Ervin v Smipat Pty Ltd t/as LJ Hooker Burleigh Heads [2013] QCATA 153 - may not be within the jurisdiction of QCAT.

    I reckon just see if you can bluff through it - threatening with legal proceedings and hoping he pays. Only other advice, hassle him like mad. Make his life hell until he pays.
     
  5. ActorSOS

    ActorSOS Member

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    Just wanted to say thank you John R! I think the letter really helped - I finally received payment!
    Much appreciated.
     

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