So I've had about the worst client I've ever had. Politician doesn't understand how art or design works. Doesn't think she should have to pay artists but agreed to pay me for my work. Thinks all of her ideas are the best and is mad no one thinks on her level. That kind of thing.
This job started off as a quick favor to my friend who is the Campaign Manager she was having difficulties with the design. I made it and they liked it. From there they started critiquing like crazy and asking for a flyer and a mailer which is when I said I'd need to be paid for my work if this is turning into a job rather than a quick favor for a friend. They agreed and paid me for all three things for a flat rate. more requests came in and I filled them. It got to the point where no one was communicating directly to me and changes were being made in a sporadic amount of texts to me. I asked for email communications with the Politician since nothing I finished with her campaign manager seemed to please her fully.
She just wouldn't answer me. I felt disrespected. I had to practically beg her not to do certain things to hurt the designs. For another month this goes on and I've made almost double the amount of projects and triple the time spent since my first payment. One day I start getting all these texts at work (the first time she ever really spoke directly to me and not through someone else) asking me to design her a billboard within an hour or two. I then told her I'd be sending her another bill and that I'd like to start a better billing format. I wanted to secure my second payment before doing any further work especially because she wanted 2 double-sided new mailers that same day. She replied a short "fine" and didn't not reply again. I sent the invoice and said I would work on the billboard as it was a time issue. After seeing the price was double what she paid me before (because I'd done about 10 hours extra work) she started arguing. Now this was a measly 400$ bill where I even gave her the numbers I was sort of working with the hash that bill out. So she tells me to stop working on the billboard and that the company will finish it. Fine with me. She then asks me to take the billboard out of that price. I tell her no thats not in that price. That's for everything else I've done for you. The billboard would have been on the next bill same with the 2 new mailers. (Previously I had made her one of those mailers but she decided suddenly she didn't want it and was appalled that I would dare to still charger her for it if she wasn't going to use it) After some arguing I agreed to work on the two mailers with no additional pay. This was mostly for my friends sake who I just wanted to see end this campaign. However they still did not cut me my check. What gets worse is that the prompt for the mailer was not given to me until late that night and she needed both the next morning. I tried to work with her wordy scribbled drawing that I was sent to copy. I ended up taking out an incredibly blurry and yellow photo sending her copies of what it looked like and explaining why I re-worded or deleted some things. No response as usual. Until the next day when I had a prior engagement at 3pm. I sent her my final for only the first mailer (I never received anything for the second) As I'm in the car heading to my destination I get many messages saying how I deleted something crucial (weird seeing as it was scrawled hazardously under some other text) She was upset because of the mailing deadlines however she did not pay the printer and thus that gave us until the next day to complete the project. She started demanding my project files and I told her no that it would be completed that night and mailed out tomorrow. She then stole what I had of my design gave it to the printer who then copied it and made a second (mudslinging ad she was told not to do) mailer (which also had the wrong date on it) and had it sent out for the entirety of their budget. I'm not kidding. She argued with her Treasurer for every cent they had so she could rush order my stolen design and something with mistakes on it to print and mail. I still have not received my payment. She is refusing to let the Treasure send me my check. She says I should discount her on the mailers since they were never completed in time. I told her that that bill was for the rest of the work I've completed time after time. I have the hard copy of the stolen design since it was accidentally mailed to me. I refuse to lower the bill anymore than its lowered. What options do I have? Is small claims an option or even worth it?