Late fees

I read a really good article the other day from a writer who was having issues with their clients and trying to collect on invoices that were overdue.

Now, I haven’t had to do this sort of thing in a very long time, but it seemed to me that I have run into the same sort of pushback this author got about charging lates fees.

While they had contracts in hand that said the client would pay within a certain time frame and the client missed those contractual obligations to pay on time the client was still objecting to paying a late fee (despite it apparently even being a legal obligation to do so under NY or NYC law)

I’ve run into that as well way back when I contracted to a number of large corporations. Each had stated terms in the contract to pay net 30 (ie I received the payment by 30 days) but each and every one of them simply ignored the signed contractual terms and in some cases only cut a cheque on the 30th day. Unless they physically handed it to me that day, which they usually didn’t, there was no way the mail got it to me that day. To top it off they claimed that the postmark meant that it was “paid” that day. Which was all well and good but the postmarks were always 1 to 2 days later – so the invoice was still paid late in any event. One went so far as to ignore the contractual terms and simply say “Out terms are always net 90” and with held paying me for 90 days. And then they did much the same and cut the cheque on day 90 and put it in the mail. So I’d get paid 92 days after the invoice was sent, which was 62 days after the contractual terms.

When I first sent in an invoice with “Late fees” for the previous invoice they refused to pay the late fee – again despite the contract actually having terms & conditions explicitly stated for this exact eventuality and a stated late fee. Fortunately for me the group I was working for had a manager that pushed the issue and forced the company to pay the late fee AND revise their cheque processing for a lot of contracted individuals so they were paid on time.

Anyone else have a horror story about not getting paid on time and them getting pushback on charging late fees ?

One thought on “Late fees”

  1. In regards to LATE FEES…. I had a situation while not involving late fees, it did involve the original contract payment. Now this happened eons ago (1975ish) when personal computers were just coming on scene, and if you wanted software you contracted to have it written for you. In this situation, a friend and I contracted with a local real estate agent to not only write a specific package of software for him, but to also BUILD the computer … I don’t remember the exact amount, or terms. But it was 3 equal payments at specific milestones (not including the cost of the hardware). Long story short… We went to collect the 2nd installment, which involved delivering a fully operational computer and operating system (DEBBI, not even CP/M). We did so, and the client informed us at that time that the total of the contract was “too much” and he wasn’t going to pay anymore, yet we still had “a contract” to complete the software. Huh? I looked him in the eye and asked “So you are telling me that you are reniging on the terms of the written contract we have? Yes or No?” He said “Yes, and there is not a thing you can do about it”… To which I responded, “Yes, Yes there is, You violated the contract, it is hereby null and void…. We have no obligation to complete the software phase ….. Have fun with your $15,000.00 paper weight” and we walked away, and have never seen or heard from him since

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