Help Needed - Invoice Non Payment Help Needed - Invoice Non Payment
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  1. #1

    Default Help Needed - Invoice Non Payment

    Hi All,

    Been reading the forums with interest and would appraise some input to see what others think.

    Have a situation with non-payment of invoice. Also trying to recover my significant expenses, incurred to complete this specific contract.

    Summary
    I did a contract for a consultancy with their client. The work according to the clients IT manager has not been fully completed. The consultancy have withheld payment from the agency. The agency are now withholding payment from myself.

    If it were this simple, I would agree with the basic facts above and done the same, however there are many strong mitigating factors to understand.

    Background
    I’m very IT experienced and professionally qualified so was contracted for 4 days to do some engineering remediation work for an small IT consultancy on thier clients site. I had not worked for either before. This was a short term and last minute contract where I was on the end client's site the next day. There was no interview or chat before from the consultancy. I was given the contract and told to do the job. I personally had to pay all expenses to get the job done (£1000+) and claim these back on my invoice.
    There were 4 parties involved -The End Client; The IT Consultancy; The Agency and me (Ltd compancy).

    I was given a document by the consultancy which had a number of tasks to complete for the end client. I was set to do this, but when onsite however, the end clients technical staff decided there was too much risk to the clients business and whey would not allow me to make the changes to remediate the tasks. We discussed each task, and between us decided I would document all changes which I would have made and then the clients technical staff would resolve them later in a controlled manner. I presumed all this was being communicated within the client between the clients technical staff and the clients IT manager.

    Right at the end of the contract, in a client minuted meeting, the clients IT manager was told of the approach and blew their top at both the clients own technical staff and myself. Their reason which they stated was “they wanted all the changed implemented there and then", “as that’s what they were paying for”. Two client technical staff and myself explained some of the possible risks and impact of the changes and why the controlled approach would provide less impact to the clients business but the clients manage was not intrested in our argument.

    In this meeting a consultancy manager was witness to the clients IT manager, complaining to two clients technical staff of this approach, and only then was it communicated to the technical staff the manager “just wanted it done now”. Afterward the meeting I spoke to the consultancies manager in depth and nothing detrimental was said to me.

    Timesheet and Expenses Authorised
    The next day after the contract ended, I submitted timesheets and expense claims to the consultancy. After a delay of around 2 days, these were both authorised in writing by the consultancy (via an email) directly to the agency.

    I submitted my invoice to the agency with this email approval and waited for payment.

    2 days before payment was due, the agency said there had been a complaint about my work and they were withholding full payment (Rate + Expenses).

    That’s where it is at the moment.

    Next Step
    I’m wondering what to do next, been playing the softly, softly approach with the agency at the moment but what do people think my next step?
    - I have explained in writing (email) about the situation and that communication at the end client was non-existent.
    - I’ve asked for the complaint in writing (as I have nothing, just verbally) and no evidence that I’m at fault.

    If I have to take a loss on the days, I put I will put it down to experience, it’s the expenses of £1,000 which I can’t afford to lose.

    Conclusion
    The way I see it is the client technical staff directly prevented me from doing the work, but the clients IT manager did not want it done this way, and is now withholding payment from the consultancy. The client’s IT manager directly neglected to tell their own staff what they wanted. This has now passed down the chain what I see as unjustly to myself. I belive the problem arose as there was no communication within the between the clients IT manager and the clients technical staff. But what is this to do with me? I did everything as directed by the client’s technical staff.

    I have been contracting 5 years and in the industry for 20+ and never come across this or any issue before.

    Appreciate everyone who reads this taking the time, everyone’s feedback is welcomed.

  2. #2

    My post count is Majestic

    northernladuk's Avatar
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    Did you opt in or opt out?

    There is a thread here to read up on it if you are not sure..

    http://forums.contractoruk.com/busin...-2003-act.html
    'CUK forum personality of 2011 - Winner - Yes really!!!!

  3. #3

    Fingers like lightning


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    Quote Originally Posted by ITSecurityContractor View Post
    Hi All,

    Been reading the forums with interest and would appraise some input to see what others think.

    Have a situation with non-payment of invoice. Also trying to recover my significant expenses, incurred to complete this specific contract.

    Summary
    I did a contract for a consultancy with their client. The work according to the clients IT manager has not been fully completed. The consultancy have withheld payment from the agency. The agency are now withholding payment from myself.

    If it were this simple, I would agree with the basic facts above and done the same, however there are many strong mitigating factors to understand.

    Background
    I’m very IT experienced and professionally qualified so was contracted for 4 days to do some engineering remediation work for an small IT consultancy on thier clients site. I had not worked for either before. This was a short term and last minute contract where I was on the end client's site the next day. There was no interview or chat before from the consultancy. I was given the contract and told to do the job. I personally had to pay all expenses to get the job done (£1000+) and claim these back on my invoice.
    There were 4 parties involved -The End Client; The IT Consultancy; The Agency and me (Ltd compancy).

    I was given a document by the consultancy which had a number of tasks to complete for the end client. I was set to do this, but when onsite however, the end clients technical staff decided there was too much risk to the clients business and whey would not allow me to make the changes to remediate the tasks. We discussed each task, and between us decided I would document all changes which I would have made and then the clients technical staff would resolve them later in a controlled manner. I presumed all this was being communicated within the client between the clients technical staff and the clients IT manager.

    Right at the end of the contract, in a client minuted meeting, the clients IT manager was told of the approach and blew their top at both the clients own technical staff and myself. Their reason which they stated was “they wanted all the changed implemented there and then", “as that’s what they were paying for”. Two client technical staff and myself explained some of the possible risks and impact of the changes and why the controlled approach would provide less impact to the clients business but the clients manage was not intrested in our argument.

    In this meeting a consultancy manager was witness to the clients IT manager, complaining to two clients technical staff of this approach, and only then was it communicated to the technical staff the manager “just wanted it done now”. Afterward the meeting I spoke to the consultancies manager in depth and nothing detrimental was said to me.

    Timesheet and Expenses Authorised
    The next day after the contract ended, I submitted timesheets and expense claims to the consultancy. After a delay of around 2 days, these were both authorised in writing by the consultancy (via an email) directly to the agency.

    I submitted my invoice to the agency with this email approval and waited for payment.

    2 days before payment was due, the agency said there had been a complaint about my work and they were withholding full payment (Rate + Expenses).

    That’s where it is at the moment.

    Next Step
    I’m wondering what to do next, been playing the softly, softly approach with the agency at the moment but what do people think my next step?
    - I have explained in writing (email) about the situation and that communication at the end client was non-existent.
    - I’ve asked for the complaint in writing (as I have nothing, just verbally) and no evidence that I’m at fault.

    If I have to take a loss on the days, I put I will put it down to experience, it’s the expenses of £1,000 which I can’t afford to lose.

    Conclusion
    The way I see it is the client technical staff directly prevented me from doing the work, but the clients IT manager did not want it done this way, and is now withholding payment from the consultancy. The client’s IT manager directly neglected to tell their own staff what they wanted. This has now passed down the chain what I see as unjustly to myself. I belive the problem arose as there was no communication within the between the clients IT manager and the clients technical staff. But what is this to do with me? I did everything as directed by the client’s technical staff.

    I have been contracting 5 years and in the industry for 20+ and never come across this or any issue before.

    Appreciate everyone who reads this taking the time, everyone’s feedback is welcomed.
    There are lots of threads with people who haven't been paid with advice on them. Have a search and you'll find them.

    I believe you have an email from the consultancy authorising the time and expenses. I think you should point this out to the agency and send them your invoice again. Follow advice on www.payontime.co.uk with regard to chasing the debt and applying statuatory interest. Look at thomas higgins (search on google) for cheap "letter before action" solicitors letters (£2+VAT). Check if you are opted in to the agency regulations. If you are then you are in an even stronger position.

    I wouldn't get too much into the detail of what the client IT Manager wanted and what the staff asked for. You were on their site doing what you were asked to. I think once you start the dunning process you may get paid. Keep invoicing and following the advice and timelines on www.payontime.co.uk.

    If you don't get anywhere with this in a reasonable timeframe then start small claims court action against the agency. You can do this on-line very easily.

  4. #4

    Default

    Thanks for you info, its great help.

    I didn't have a choice of opting in or out by the agency. It was either opt out or not get the contract.

  5. #5

    Super poster


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    You've got the signed timesheets so the opt out isn't too much of an issue (though you are in a stronger position if you didn't opt out).

    Top advice from Hex.

    I presume this was a daily or hourly rate? If it hey signed your timesheets then they have accepted that you can bill the agency for the days/hours worked. The fact that you were frustrated in your attempts to deliver the result they wanted is not your problem. If they wanted to dispute it then they shouldn't have signed the timesheets. I would state the facts and try not to get drawn into a debate about it.

    Remember that your contract is with the AGENCY, not the client. All threats are directed to the agency.

    1. Invoice and follow up with reminders
    2. Invoice for penalties and interest if it's unpaid, as per Payontime
    3. A solicitors "letter before action" sent "signed for" to the director of the agency (as hex says, solicitors will do these for a few quid, don't go letting them charge you hundreds for advice)
    4. Legal action in the small claims court via Moneyclaim online

    Let us know how you get on!

  6. #6

    Default Update

    Again thanks for everyone for replying, everything is a great help
    Its developed a little now. Asked them to supply evidence and details of the allegation.

    The Agency, just sent me this

    "As per our conversations we have received a complaint from our client that the work that was delivered by the contractor did not meet their requirements. The main issue being that the contractor did not make the technical changes that they required and instead planned out what work needed to be carried out. The client completely refutes your claim that they prevented him from making these changes.

    As a result of this the client are not going to be paying for the work until we fix the issue which is going to incur additional expense from “client”. We are therefore not happy to pay for all of contractors time. I do, however, recognise that the output from the contractor will be useful for the individual who we use to carry out the actual changes and will make this activity more straight forward. I would therefore propose that we pay for half of the contractors time on this exercise."

    So they haven’t provided any evidence which backs up this claim. The consultancy are trying to make me a scapegoat. Luckily I still have further direct evidence which will show the client is not telling the whole truth. The saga continues.

    Very familiar with MCOL but its a last resort.

  7. #7

    Still gathering requirements...


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    Do you have what you agreed to deliver, in writing- as a schedule or in an email? If that says you were expected to make changes to the environment, then it makes your position weaker.

    Or was it a case of you being introduced to the client techie, and working with him towards the deliverable? Do you have any email exchange with the client techie to show that the he wants or expects only recommendations and not changes. if you have any like that, you are in a strong position.



    Quote Originally Posted by ITSecurityContractor View Post
    Again thanks for everyone for replying, everything is a great help
    Its developed a little now. Asked them to supply evidence and details of the allegation.

    The Agency, just sent me this

    "As per our conversations we have received a complaint from our client that the work that was delivered by the contractor did not meet their requirements. The main issue being that the contractor did not make the technical changes that they required and instead planned out what work needed to be carried out. The client completely refutes your claim that they prevented him from making these changes.

    As a result of this the client are not going to be paying for the work until we fix the issue which is going to incur additional expense from “client”. We are therefore not happy to pay for all of contractors time. I do, however, recognise that the output from the contractor will be useful for the individual who we use to carry out the actual changes and will make this activity more straight forward. I would therefore propose that we pay for half of the contractors time on this exercise."

    So they haven’t provided any evidence which backs up this claim. The consultancy are trying to make me a scapegoat. Luckily I still have further direct evidence which will show the client is not telling the whole truth. The saga continues.

    Very familiar with MCOL but its a last resort.

  8. #8

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    ItSecurityContractor being cynical in this it looks like the consultancy were using you and the agency because they knew their client was very difficult i.e. you were set up to fail.

    The only way you will get your money out of the agency is by taking them to court.

    If you have evidence, particularly in document form including emails, of the client being difficult so preventing you doing the work then don't hesitate to take the steps Wanderer suggested.

    It probably won't go to court when the agency directors realise they are going to lose. As if they do lose there is nothing stopping you reporting the full story to everyone.
    "You’re just a bad memory who doesn’t know when to go away" JR

  9. #9

    Default

    Thanks @SueEllen I'm beginning to think you are correct but little I can do about it. Thanks also to everyone for providing advice. They have offered me half, so looking to taking it. Its my word against there’s so unless any new evidence comes up, I don't think I have anything else to use.

    I would have thought authorised timesheets would have been enough but there is a clause in the agencies contract, if they don't get paid, I don’t.

    Less than happy with the outcome but will put it down as experience and learn from it and anyone else would be good to also, make sure you get everything in writing and don't just trust want the client says verbally.


  10. #10

    Some things in Moderation

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    Sadly, people already know.

    http://forums.contractoruk.com/busin...ml#post1506420

    i just read another article about a designer because he only had a purchase order and no contract, client offered 50% of original and that was it, he seemed to have no legal standpoint
    But I wouldn't just accept this without legal advice. Are you a member of the PCG? If you are call their tax and legal adviceline.

    I wouldn't just give £k's because they're being stroppy without asking someone who's seen your situation in detail - they need to learn a lesson on this as well.
    This is the most valuable lesson you can learn though

    Quote Originally Posted by ITSecurityContractor View Post
    Less than happy with the outcome but will put it down as experience and learn from it and anyone else would be good to also, make sure you get everything in writing and don't just trust want the client says verbally.

    In the end business is business, not a time for being nice and hoping people will like you if you accept their flannel.
    "I can put any old tat in my sig, put quotes around it and attribute to someone of whom I've heard, to make it sound true."
    - Voltaire/Benjamin Franklin/Anne Frank...

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