Archive for May, 2011

When publications won’t pay what’s due

Wednesday, May 11th, 2011


In my three years of freelancing, I’m lucky that I’ve had very little experience with publications that don’t pay. However, I was recently owed £250 by a magazine that published my article then didn’t pay within 30 days of my invoice.

After a couple months of chasing (through email and telephone) I got serious and sent them a “statutory demand”, a formal written request to the debtor for the payment. The publication paid up within a day.

For folks in the UK, a statutory demand is a REALLY handy thing to know about, and you can read all about them and get a template for one at

Use a statutory demand to recover a debt

Another handy guide is from the National Union of Journalists London Branch:

Late payment – How freelances can chase up late payers

I only just found the NUJ’s resource while writing this post and I wish I had it sooner – apparently I was entitled to £40 compensation on each late invoice. (Good incentive for invoicing publishers separately for each piece of work.) Well, it’s probably too late now, but good to know for next time, though let’s hope this doesn’t happen for a very very long time.

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