Home – New Forums Money matters Ex Publicist taking me for Minor Debt Claim in QLD..READ MORE…

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  • #973053
    showie
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    Dear Forum

    I would love to get your opinion / advice etc on this matter.

    Current Situation:
    My Ex Publicist has lodged a minor debt claim against an invoice that I am refusing to pay for quite a few reasons….details below!

    The Story:
    After spending a lot of time and nearly all my money on building a website the next step was to get exposure on morning tv shows like Sunrise.
    Despite having the ability to write a press release and get media as I have in the past this time I wanted to do it using professionals.

    I called the most prominent media company in Brisbane and after telling him all about my company I asked the senior publicist on the phone could he get me on morning tv across the tv stations. He confidently told me that he was very connected and this would not be a problem. I told him I had a budget of $2k and he thought it was easily achieveable.

    Based on that phone call alone I asked him to have a meeting with me.

    He came out and saw me on time looking and sounding very professional and he was very likeable.

    The basic conversation was that he really liked the site and thought it had great potential.
    He suggested that he get some local media about me then build on it with a story about the website etc.
    He told me he was going to look after me and see what he could do to help me out. (It was offered not asked for)
    I once again said I had $2k and I offered to pay it into their bank account right away.
    He told me to hold onto my money and that he would do up a formal agreement and that I would need to sign it so they could get to work. I was told I would have it the next day Friday or Monday….that was in June 2010 and to this day I never got one.

    Yes he started work writing up some press releases etc but every time I mentioned money and what it was all costing me he kept saying dont worry about the money im looking after you.
    He turned out to be very unreliable by missing planned meetings without even letting me know that he wasnt going to be there at least 3 times. His excuses were for things like my cat was sick.

    He sent out a press release to his biggest 80 contacts that failed to even mention my web address which was the whole point. (You only get 1 chance with the media)

    I continued to support him with thankful emails etc for several reasons:
    I thought I was not being charged.
    He was a really nice guy and I felt bad complaining plus he was trying to help me out so I thought.

    However in text messages I was constantly asking when he was going to send me the agreement and was I even being charged for the service…he would always say dont worry about the money im looking after you.

    Instead of getting me tv in the 1st month like we planned or even any print media this 10 year professional eventually landed about 20 words in some crappy article after 110 days of nothing… To make things worse I had to ring him and tell him when the story ran as he was not sure. Waiting on his promises nearly cost me everything and my current financial situation reflects this.

    I eventually landed a good story in smart company website after sending only 2 emails. But apparently they were working very hard to get me media.

    Then as I start sending very demanding emails for results I get hit with a $2800 bill that was later dropped to $2K after a lot of complaining.

    I told them that im not paying for the service because there was none and they cost me money….but if they wait till im making a living off the site I will pay the invoice just for the sake of keeping the peace.

    Instead of touching base with me again in Febuary to see how im going as arranged they lodged a minor debt claim.

    I have been so busy trying to make ends meet that I missed the 28 day appeal period and so nowthey will most likely win by default. Nor do I have the money to get to QLD from Newcastle to rock up for the case.

    In all my years of business if I did not deliver even close to what I promised I never billed my client and I certainly did not sue them.

    What is your opinion? What would you do?

    Thanks Mick

    #1059469
    Kennethti
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    Hello Mick,

    I think that your case requires professional assistance and I think that if you do dispute the matter and the services rendered, you should discuss the matter with a solicitor.

    This in mind however you should consider that any litigation both involves financial and emotional capital – if you simply do not have the time or money to manage this process, especially since you have a small business to run, perhaps it is best to just write it off, pay the amount sought, and move on.

    Again, it is best to discuss your options with a solicitor.

    #1059470
    RapidEntryBiz
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    Again, it is best to discuss your options with a solicitor.

    Yes, to put the legal issues into perspective.

    Cheers

    #1059471
    Neddy
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    showie, post: 73311 wrote:
    Instead of touching base with me again in Febuary to see how im going as arranged they lodged a minor debt claim.

    I have been so busy trying to make ends meet that I missed the 28 day appeal period and so nowthey will most likely win by default. Nor do I have the money to get to QLD from Newcastle to rock up for the case.

    Hi Mick – sorry to hear of your plight. When you say they lodged a Minor Debt claim – and it was done in QLD, was this done through QCAT? (QLD Civil & Administrative Tribunal)?

    If so, go onto their website. They are very lenient about giving you a re-hearing if you have good reasons. They can also organise a video hookup.

    You should also question them if they issued the proceedings in the correct jurisdiction – i.e. QLD instead of NSW.

    They don’t allow lawyers (generally), so this is in your favour.

    All is perhaps not lost. :)

    Cheers, Ned

    #1059472
    jasonm
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    If you’re prepared to lower yourself, you could take this to ACA/TT…at least you’d get some publicity, and as they say any publicity is good publicity.

    Seriously though, if you haven’t actually given them anything in writing to the effect of “we wish to engage you for X services for $Y dollars” ie an authority to commence work of some sort then I would approach it from a ‘we never approved any spending’ tact. Following this argue that on the basis that they are seeking to charge a fee-for-service, that you have never received the service and therefore should not pay any fees. If you have a history of emails where you are hassling them for action/results then furnish them to the tribunal.

    Be prepared to answer this question though: What do you feel is a fair and reasonable amount for the services that were provided. This is a powerful argument in any mediation and having been on the debtor end of a few of these sort of discussions it can expose the customer as completely pig-headed and stubborn. You may not feel that the services provided are worth $Y, but surely you cant expect to pay nothing. So take a little time to determine what you did receive, the amount you could expect that service to cost. Be reasonable, and be prepared to show how you came to that figure.

    I think you’ll do a lot better in the end if you go into the negotiation saying I’m prepared to pay $Z for what we received but after the way they carried on there is no way I’m paying $Y, rather than going in saying I’m not paying at all.

    Best of luck, Jason

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