Archive for November, 2015
by Gwyn Headley
fotoLibra promises to pay our contributors within 30 days of receipt of payment. But there’s a big difference between selling a picture and getting paid for it.
On June 17 last year a London council got in touch to say that they were looking to purchase an image from us. They asked us to please fill in an attached Supplier Form so they could set us up on their finance system.
We filled in the form and sent it back to them the same day.
On April 24 this year the council got back in touch, saying “We are finally ready to purchase an image for our new museum. As soon as we have your quote I will raise the purchase order.”
We confirmed the price quote the same day.
On April 29 the council wrote “We’re having a few finance issues but hopefully we’ll get them sorted soon and send you a purchase order.”
The purchase order arrived on May 8 and the image was immediately supplied to them.
We invoiced the council on May 18. They got in touch to say the invoice had been forwarded to the accounts department “who can take up to 30 days to make payment.”
On July 21 — 57 days later — we chased them for payment. “Sorry for the delay, I’ve chased it up for you,” was the reply.
On August 27 we chased them again.
There was no reply till September 2, when we were told “Finance are claiming it is not their fault, but a problem with the finance software. So I am chasing the people who run the software. Sorry for the late payment.”
The same day our purchaser got in touch again to say “Apparently I need to raise a new purchase order as the last one was incorrect. There’s no need for you to create a new invoice.”
Again on September 5 she wrote “The new purchase order should be approved on Monday. No need to invoice again.”
On September 22 we sent a copy of our statement to the payments address.
On September 30 we wrote to them saying: “We still haven’t seen any payment. Please give us a contact in your finance department.”
Immediate auto response: “I no longer work for ***** Council. Please resend email to blah blah blah.” The email was resent.
5 October: We sent a statement of overdue account.
On October 20 a physical letter was posted to the Finance Department quoting both purchase orders, the invoice number, a copy invoice and description of the work.
On November 3 at 13:20 we contacted the Finance Department and the Purchasing Department to ask why we had received no reply to our emails or letter. “Unless we receive payment of £*** within 15 days we will initiate court proceedings against you,” we suggested.
A reply came from the purchasing department at 15:43. ” Very sorry, please accept our apologies. We are unable to forward your invoice to our Finance Department as they can only process invoices they receive from you directly. Please forward your invoice to the Finance Department at this address” [giving us an address we’d never seen before].
So we sent the invoice to the new address quoting both purchase orders, the original and the new one.
On November 5 we had an email printed in red. “Invoice rejected for payment due to insufficient information. Purchase Order Number not present, not clear or invalid.”
We immediately sent a revised invoice quoting only the second Purchase Order Number.
They responded on November 16. “Due to the time relapse [sic] could I re-audit your bank account details. Can you provide details on letterhead signed by person in authority in PDF format. [no question marks]
This was sent 3 minutes later.
On November 17 they replied “I have audited your account and removed the payment hold. Your invoice should be selected in the next payment run. This should be tomorrow, so the payment should be with you by next Monday.”
That’s Monday November 23rd.
Our breath is bated.