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ZZP no contract, client refuses payment

With the plan to support a "friend" with a startup I started as a consultant which later turned into 3 months of 25+hr work weeks. 

The plan was to support the business side of this creative start up and if I was arranging projects I would get something like  ~10%, we were going to discuss the details depending on the project. A big project came in with a lot of pressure and of course we didn't take time to set up new agreements. It was an investment and so we "trusted each other" (yes, amateurs on both ends). At one point my former client/boss offered a symbolic amount for a project that would bring the funding needed and I accepted for it to cover part of the work I did. One week before the deadline of this project, they threatened to cut this deal or to kick me out if I didn't assure the project would be successful while also ending all collaboration needed to end the project. The next day I was fired after I had taken a day offline. I have sent an invoice based on the amount due which is of course refused to be paid by the other party. They are  now claiming different agreements were made. 

I have no means to afford a lawyer. 

We have no agreements in writing, only notes. 

The payment we agreed on is only briefly mentioned in an informal letter. 

Any advice?

Can I send reminders of the due invoice and eventually the incasso? Maybe they will eventually pay, maybe it will make everything worse? 


Thank you! Lesson learned!



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No hourly invoice. I knew they wouldn’t be able to pay an hourly invoice so I agreed to the suggested amount. 

In our last in person conversation they tried to convince me that I had no right to this. So yesterday I received an email that I can send another invoice for a quarter of the amount. They know that I‘m not okay with this. I don’t think a conversation is possible since we already realized we see everything completely opposite and they claim that even threatening me with consequences was a professional way of dealing with things. 

Don‘t I have any rights as zzp?
I know it’s not common to have contracts in creative work places. 

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8 uur geleden, xoxono zei:

Don‘t I have any rights as zzp?


Only the ones you  enforce yourself by making plausible (by any means possible, preferably documents, mails or anything else written) that there was an agreement. 

But for that, you definitely need a lawyer.  


I also see possibilities for that lawyer to investigate an other option:  make plausible that - if there was no agreement  but you have done labor - there must have been a labor contract. It's either one or the other.... 



I know it’s not common to have contracts in creative work places. 

not common but nevertheless sensible 


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Ik adviseer ondernemers over betrouwbare en betaalbare verzekeringen tegen arbeidsongeschiktheid en aansprakelijkheid.   Meer weten?  Contact


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6 uur geleden, xoxono zei:

I know it’s not common to have contracts in creative work places. 


That is why experienced creatives  make sure financial agreements are clear before the work starts. Otherwise conflicts are inevitable.


A payment mentioned in an informal letter can be (part of) an agreement too. But nobody will get your money if you don't do something yourself.


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Start building a file. Anything can be proof of an agreement: e-mails, whatsapps, sms-es, recorded conversations, scribbles on a napkin and so. Their counterproposal to pay you a quarter strongly suggests that there is a reason to pay you. Certainly discussions with clients on behalf of your boss suggest something.


Once you have proof about the existence and extent of the agreement, take it to a lawyer and ask for advice about the next step.


You could go to an incassobureau (collection agency) or deurwaarder (bailiff?) instead, but in this case an advocaat might be more useful because you also have to discuss strategy.

Branko Collin, front-end web developer / prototyper / Drupal-developer.

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