Friday, November 5, 2010

Orgnot is Definitely Not! They Don't Pay

As a freelancer, I run across some pretty hairy messes when it comes to collecting money from the people that I write for. I'm not saying that this happens all of the time, however, it happens enough to hurt the finances...and, I'm tired, as a mother of 6 children, of fighting these people for the money that is rightly owed to me. I put time and energy into the work that I do - and what I send to clients is only top notch work.

For the clients that I work with: thank you for being honest people and paying. For those that have stiffed a freelancer out there in this world: you should be ashamed of yourself - as well as exposed!

I thought long and hard about whether or not it would be professional to post this, and I'm doing it. I can't let this company continue without saying a word, knowing that they can (and most likely will) do the same thing to someone else. I'm speaking out for the work that I did, the money that I am owed, and all of the freelancers in the world who have been stiffed by so-called clients.

This time, it is a company named Orgnot, over in the UK. The link will take you to their site. Here is another link: ConsultantCampus (I expect this site to disappear once this is posted, so the company can say - What site???). That is the work that I have done for them, with posts scheduled to post out until March of 2011. The debt now beyond the range of $225.

This amount does not include late fees (the work should have been paid for around September 25th) or any administrative fees for the collection activity that I have had to make (which, at this point, makes no difference, considering that they are pulling a shyster move). In addition, I not only lost the pay, but also the rest of the work that was promised to me over the next few months. It takes time to replace all of that work with other contracts and requests...and I have turned down other work with this contract in mind. The fact that I was not paid a little $225 chunk of money is not the main issue...

The following is the contract that was signed by both me and Mr. Robert Graves (digitally): I was originally going to post the whole contract, however I am going to cover my behind and simply copy and paste the beginning and the end.

Independent Contractor Agreement For Creative Contractor
This Agreement is made between OrgNot Business Services ("Client"), with a principal
place of business at Mayfair House, London, and Bethany Cousins ("Contractor"), with a
principal place of business at Buffalo, NY.

Digital Signatures
Client: Robert Graves

By:  ____________________________________________
Title: Content and Marketing Manager, OrgNot
Date: ________________

Contractor: Bethany Cousins

By:  ____________________________________________
Title: _________________________
Taxpayer ID Number: _________________
Date: ________________

What I Did

I did the work on the blog, marked each blog post to hit the web each Saturday, and the guy that I was dealing with went MIA. When I emailed him to request payment, he never emailed back. So, after two weeks, I contacted the company.

I was discussing the issue with a Mr. John Fairbanks (through email), who acted like he had no knowledge of the work that I was doing and told me that Mr. Graves was on leave until the week prior to Halloween. I forwarded a ton of emails and correspondence to Mr Fairbanks, and he then requested a copy of the contract. I sent that, too. He said he had to go through a "procedure", but, to me that sounded like another put-off. And, it was.

That's Not Our Contract!

This Mr. Fairbanks is now claiming that the contract was not between me and OrgNot. It was between me and Mr. Graves. Are you kidding me? Do I look like an idiot??? Go back to "This Agreement is made between OrgNot Business Services ("Client"), with a principal place of business at Mayfair House, London, and Bethany Cousins ("Contractor"), with a principal place of business at Buffalo, NY." Sounds like there was an agreement between OrgNot and myself to me, Mr Fairbanks! He says that the contract was not on company letterhead. Give me a break, John! Contracts are not normally on company letterhead. I was a business manager for many many years, mind you.

Excuses Excuses

Of course, the Mr. Graves may have been operating under false pretenses. But, if that were the case, then why would Mr Fairbanks tell me that Robert Graves was on leave? He stated this several times in emails. Now, he wants to tell me that the project that I was working on is a "dead" project...meaning you've chosen not to pursue it and now I take the loss? And, Robert Graves has yet to come back from this supposed "leave". He probably left them due to their unfair practices...

Don't Pay Me and Then Waste My Time

I did send Mr. Fairbanks several emails that let him know exactly how unfair and unprofessional this whole situation is. Each email that he sent to me was a stall tactic, with his "There is a procedure that I must stick to." Why waste my time? If you're not going to pay, don't you think that you've wasted enough of my time? Don't put me through the ringer anymore than you already have!

More Crap

Let's go even further...he had the nerve to get upset with me and tell me that I would have to pursue Robert Graves for the money, considering the contract was not between OrgNot and myself - and if I wanted to pursue Robert Graves, I would have to go through the proper legal channels in order to get his contact information from OrgNot. Ummmm...see contract, again. Even better? The first two weeks of writing that I did for them WAS PAID FOR through PayPal...who paid it? OrgNot Services!!! That's the name that is on my PayPal statement.

Now, he's taking the standpoint that "if you are going to pursue legal action, I'm not going to pay" stance. Funny, he was the one talking about how his "legal guys" were going to look over the contract (which I had to send him, even though he SAYS that he has access to Robert's email - the contract is right in the email!). I was going to pursue collection, however I think there is a time and place for everything, and the truth is: I am going to make sure that they don't do this to any other poor writer.

So, basically, just do anything and say anything that you can to screw me out of the money that you owe me, and then get upset with me because I tell you the truth - do you know how unprofessional and disgraceful you are acting? You're going to spend 20-40 hours in manpower time to fight against me in order to save the $225 that you owe me? Wouldn't it have just been more honest and HONORABLE to pay me?

If This Has Happened to You

For any other WAHMs or WAHDs (and any other freelancer who is trying to pay their bills) that have been through this type of crap, I hate to hear it (and for those of you that aren't freelancers, I want you to know that this is not out of the norm - it happens all the time to a lot of freelancers). You perform work that is great, do everything that you are told, and then wonder how you are going to pay the electric bill or have to cut down the grocery bill because the idiot doesn't pay. (Thank God my income is not the one that we lean on to pay the bills!)

Have you had to ask family for help with your rent or mortgage because various individuals and companies have requested work from you and had no intentions of paying for it? That's unbelievably wrong!

Worse than not paying me is the stress that I incur because I could have worked for someone else that would have paid me immediately. Whether or not you requested the work to be done or Robert Graves, on behalf of OrgNot, requested it, is not my problem.

My problem is the fact that I have emails that are proof of the work that was requested by OrgNot, a contract, proven work on your blog (regardless of whether it's a "dead" project or not), payments from you and there is still a bill owed to me. My problem is that I wasted time writing for you when I could have spent my time writing for a company or individual with morals and values.

Speak Out, Too!

And, so to all of you freelancers that have been screwed over by clients, this is for you - I'm speaking out! And, for those clients who are even thinking of stiffing me in the future, I will do the same thing. I'm thinking about press releases: OrgNot Knowingly Rips Off Mom Freelancer. OrgNot the Ripper. LOL...That's kind of funny.

How can you help? "Speak out" if this happens to you. Don't just let these jerks off the hook. If you're a writer, blog about it, send out Press Releases (my next step), and let people know so that it does not happen to them!

But first and foremost:

Facebook "like" this post and Tweet it...spread it around. Get it right up there, under the OrgNot website when searched in Google. As far as I'm concerned, this is just the beginning for the bad PR.

If they decide to do the RIGHT thing, I will definitely update this post, but I highly doubt it...and, in this case, a press release or blog post per week will be allocated to the "OrgNot Doesn't Pay" cause...because I don't want them doing this to another parent (or any freelancer, for that matter).

1 comment:

  1. Hi Bethany

    You are right about posting the details. When the company has wronged you, there is no need of thinking about what's right or wrong!

    In fact, it does not matter how much they owe you. They should clear whatever they owe, even if its a penny.

    All the people involved from OrgNot are fraudsters. Apart from blogging about them and writing PRs, you should actually use the content you wrote for them. Are they already published? If not, publish them NOW. If they are, publish them still, with a note in the end about OrgNot. That way whoever reads your articles will know about the company.

    If they want legal action, go for it! They want to save $225, you can get more out of them in compensation. And IT WILL BE CORRECT TO DO SO!


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