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legal advice on unpaid invoices

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legal advice on unpaid invoices

Postby Phil_B » Mon Aug 01, 2016 4:27 pm

Hi all,

In April 2016, I took on a large commission for a public house with an unusual contract agreement not often taken by artists. A paid by the hour contract, paid on a monthly basis. All materials were supplied by the client for this commission. All ideas were agreed and this commission was a series of wall murals, the first ones I would have ever done. The hourly rate was agreed and I had took the risk of quitting my full time job for this as I was not able to take an unpaid sabbatical as requested.

I was to send an invoice with the number of hours worked each month and the client would have to pay the amount on the invoice within 7 days of receiving the invoice.

I have had a lot of problems over this commission. Problems with the texture of the walls and the location of these murals being high up near the ceiling, in awkward positions and having to work around customers. As the client provided me with a scaffold that was mobile for me to do the job, i required several breaks due to stiff necks and sore feet. I reminded the client of these difficulties to which he said there was no rush in completing these murals. We had a few creative clashes during that month despite agreeing with the design concept and colour scheme. I had changed the work for him to which he was pleased.

Now I had taken a weeks break abroad and before this break I had sent him the invoice for the month a week before and it should have been paid whilst I was on this break. There was no payment. After hours and hours of chasing the client, I finally got through to him to which he said he would pay the invoice. 3 days later the payment went in, but only half the amount that was requested. I had contacted the client asking why only half was paid, he stated that it was to motivate me to get the painting finished and that his customers were losing interest and that also the "grass didn't look like grass"(it was actually just an base layer that i was going to build upon), he kept asking how long it would take, and reiterating the costs, despite saying there was no rush a few weeks ago.

So I told him how long it should take providing there are no changes to the agreed design. 2 weeks later I had completed the work, then he said one half of the painting was a mess and the other was great. I had tried to bring him round, explaining this was the agreed concept but he was telling me it was "****", that his brother was an artist, and that he could also paint better but just didn't have the time, and that the "sky just wasn't right". Now this was extremely insulting to me but I held back and said I would not do anymore until the rest of the invoice is paid. He stated that I had a choice, either it will be painted over or he would buy some "sky blue paint", block the areas he wanted changing by himself or his labourer, then I would finish it off and get the rest of the money when finished, to finish the work it would have taken me at least another 2 weeks. Now this is where my face went red and I left the building and through a lot of emotional anger I blocked his number on my phone and blacklisted him. I was told by a customer that he was to be painting over it all and cutting his losses at the amount he paid so far.

Up until recently, where a friend showed me a picture of the client painting the sky blue in himself and the painting looked ruined. Now I want to write a letter to this client requesting that the painting is to be removed within 7 days or I will send a 2nd invoice with the amount of hours I have worked in total. I have left this approximately 2 months and now have doubts as to whether I have left it too long to chase up a payment and also which law covers me and worried about the costs of legal aid for a small claims court. any ideas? would appreciate any help.

Posts: 53
Joined: Wed Feb 06, 2013 7:46 pm
Location: United Kingdom
Gallery: View Gallery

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